Being a working mother means you are never off duty. When you leave work, you go home to begin your second (and usually more fulfilling job.) However, sometimes when you are trying to juggle both some events at work may invade your consciousness, stowaway in your brain and travel home with you.
When this happens how do you leave work at work? Do you find yourself doing or thinking about events, situations and duties at work while you are making dinner? Are these things in the back of your mind as you spend time with your children? Is the crazy, mean, dysfunctional co-worker becoming a dominating part of your conversation with your husband?
We spend 40 hours or more at our jobs and when we punch that clock our time given to our employer should end for the day. But does it? Is worry, fear and anxiety producing work duties invading your non-work hours? Are the scales of the work life balance completely out of whack? Here are six ways to gain perspective and establish property work life boundaries.
Take some alone time before heading home
If you find that after leaving work you are still thinking about the fight with a co-worker, the demands of your ruthless boss, and the relentless office emails. Give yourself a moment to decompress and process these feelings before jumping right into needs, wants and desires of family life.
You are working to provide a life for these people that you love. They are who matter. Your family deserve your time and attention not the latest office politics.
Exercise your work demons
Go to the gym after work. Go for a run. Write a letter about all the things you wish you could say to that annoying officemate that is driving you nutz. Get your feelings out in whatever method works for you. Sometimes this can be through physical exercise. Sometimes it comes in the form of an emotional brain dump. Either way letting your feelings out will go a long way to preventing these emotions from spilling over at home.
Learn to use environmental cues to set up boundaries
Make a deal with yourself that you will stop obsessive work thoughts once you turn down your street on your way home. Give yourself permission to stop thinking about work when you step over the threshold of your doorway.
Left the act of putting away your coat reinforce the feeling of putting away your work emotions for the evening. This will not be easy the first few times but like a muscle the more mental training you do with this concept. The easier and more intuitive it will become.
Sometimes you just can’t fix stupid
If you are plagued by feelings of inadequacy and blame from a dysfunctional boss? Do you feel like you are under attack all day from co-workers who need medication for mental illness? Recognize that no matter what your Human Resource department might say out of fear. Some of your co-workers are dealing with things far beyond your control. They may have undiagnosed mental illness, or substance abuse they have been hidden for years. They may just really be stupid and lazy but skate by with no repercussions.
Know that this is nothing that you can fix, change and did not create. Don’t try to control the situations these people generate. Try your best to distance yourself as they will eventually implode to prevent you from bringing these frustrations home. Most importantly, no matter what they say know their issues are not a reflection on the person you are.
Know that however you feel right now will be different tomorrow
By the end of the day we are more tired and worn out. If you are someone who struggles with keeping obsessive thoughts at bay. Your ability to resist this way of thinking might become weaker at the end of a long work day. Work thoughts might be running wild with possible scenarios of what might happen.
The rational mind might be tired and might not be as in charge as it is when you are fresh and well rested. Acknowledge your weakness, and make a deal with yourself to reassess these feelings in the morning. In other words, sleep on it.
Use whatever mechanism will help put what really matters in life into perspective. Your work situation is temporary. Unless you are building a legacy business, when you leave this job maybe they will talk about the impact you made. But more than likely life will go on. The cog will continue to turn the wheel without you.
By recognizing this, you know whatever mistakes or tragedies befall you at work they really don’t have any lasting impact on you or anyone else after you leave. However, the mistakes made and missed memories you could be making with your family is something that you will regret for a lifetime.