How to Not Bring Your Job Home
Apr. 28, 2017
Each and every one of us has, at some point in his or her working life, come home following a difficult day and taken out stress on family members. It’s true whether you’re a current Concorde student engrossed in a difficult program like Physical Therapist Assistant or Medical Laboratory Technician, or an alum in a health care profession. If we’re not careful, we allow work stress to become home stress. That’s not good for anyone, be it your family, friends … or yourself.
Harvard Business Review recently published an article on the subject of taking work stress home and cited a United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive study that found that 43 percent of days lost to illness were stress related. Another study, by the American Psychological Association (APA), found that the two most common stressors were work and money. The incidence of stress often results in irritability, anger, nervousness and anxiety, all behaviors that can cause tension when brought home.
The same Harvard Business Review article cited several suggestions for keeping the work stress at work, where it belongs. These tips ring true for any profession, but especially a fast-paced, high-stress health care profession.
Ways to not bring your health care profession home after work
Confine your work to particular times and locations. In today’s ever-connected world, many of us are expected to be on 24/7 and work full-time or part-time from home. But if work is constantly seeping into home life, the stresses will follow. Leave work at the office if at all possible. Make a rule to work from home only in exceptional circumstances. Keep work folders, computers and notebooks at your desk. If that’s not possible, designate a few hours each day for home life only. Never bring your laptop to bed.
Develop good mobile device habits. The smartphone is the major culprit in allowing work to invade home space. The average person checks his or her phone 46 times per day and spends nearly five hours per day on mobile devices. Develop good habits and rules that keep your tablets and phones from tethering you to work. Keep two separate mobile phones – one for work and one for personal use – and turn the work phone off on nights and weekends. Never check your email in the hour before going to bed.
Establish a good support network. This way, you can manage your professional stress so that it isn’t solely the burden of your significant other.
Customize the ways you end your work days
Have an end-of-work habit. Take a scenic route home. Listen to music or the news. Hit the gym, run or meditate. Give yourself time to switch gears for family life.
Create a third space. When professionals have families, their entire lives can revolve around their responsibilities at work and at home. Having a third space outside of work and home can help enormously with stress management. These spaces are different for everyone – quiet cafes, book clubs, trout streams, karate classes, poker nights – but they’re important for maintaining our identities and our sense of peace. Third spaces mean no person runs from responsibility to responsibility without having time to breathe.
You, too, can separate your health care profession with home life
Work stress can be a challenge for home life. That’s true for Concorde students and alums in a health care profession alike. Learning to manage stress – by working with your partner to cope and by keeping some of your professional stress outside the house – can contribute to better relationships and better physical and mental health.