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stress and your world: stress at home

Stress and Your World: Stress at Home

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April 10, 2019 | Published by


The home should be thought of as a solace, a place to escape the stresses of work and life. Unfortunately, many people feel more stressed at home than at work, according to a study by Sarah Damaske, Associate Professor of Labor and Employment Relations and Sociology at Penn State University. (1) The biggest complaints given by participants are a lack of time spent with family and feeling like there’s not enough time in the day to get things done. Does this sound like you? Here are 8 tips on how to create a low-stress environment at home.

Limit Taking Work Home

For as many as 50% of people, the biggest factor for stress at home is the feeling that they never really left work. (2) While it may not be possible to keep your job away from home entirely, there are steps you can take to limit how often you’re working away from the office, including limiting how long and where you allow yourself to work, and not checking work related emails.

Communicate Openly

Rather than avoid conflict at home, it’s important to open up with loved ones if there is friction. While you may not always agree with someone, acknowledging others’ feelings and expressing that you understand them can lead to less stressful outcomes, and may avert future disputes or tensions. Lack of communication can make problems seem bigger than they are. You may find yourself relieved at how easily some issues can be resolved once they are communicated.

Split Responsibilities

While at work, there is clear compensation for the duties you perform. At home, the benefits can be a bit murky. Combined with the feeling that there isn’t enough time in the day to perform tasks already on your plate, this can be a significant source of stress. Splitting tasks up between family members can not only lighten the load, but also teach new responsibilities to younger family members. You may find that setting up a chore chart is helpful.

Make Time for Yourself

Setting aside a specific amount of time for yourself every day, or even week, can do wonders for your stress levels. Clear your mind of any lingering apprehensions by reading a book, taking a walk, or trying a new hobby such as scrapbooking, drawing, gardening, or yoga. Don’t feel guilty for taking me time; you deserve it! Moreover, don’t use me time as an excuse to catch up on work or chores.

Create a Space for Your Interests

Having a designated area to engage in activities can feel like your own third place within the home. Not only can you have somewhere to enjoy participating in something you love, but it can also act as a remote location if you need time alone. Sewing rooms, game rooms, potting porches, home music studios, craft rooms, and meditation rooms are all great examples of personal home spaces. If space is an issue, designating part of a room can help as well.

Eat (Well) Together

Eating a healthy meal together as a family promotes sound, stress-free relationships. Children who eat together with family at least 3 times a week are 24% more likely to eat healthier, and 12% less likely to become overweight. (3) Even going back to work can be a more pleasant experience due to dining with family.

A Brigham Young University study showed that adults that ate dinner with family reported their jobs being healthier and more satisfying. (3) What you eat matters, so do your best to eat a wide variety of whole, natural foods to further reduce stress. Refined sugars, deep-fried foods, and processed and fast foods can do the opposite. Dinner time can also be a time to catch up and talk about things you want to share with the family or your partner.

Cook/Bake Together

Cooking and baking together as a family not only promotes togetherness, it also teaches younger family members important new skills. These activities serve as a great example for future generations as well, as meals eaten outside of the home are generally less healthy than homemade foods, usually having higher fat and caloric content. (4) Making food together normalizes the act of cooking in a society that is rapidly embracing fast food culture. Plus, it’s a fun way to introduce new traditions into the family by working together.

Plan Activities Together

Setting aside time with the family to do an activity helps open lines of communication, which generally makes for a more conformable environment around the home. Board games, a movie night, or reading together once a week can greatly build relationships with loved ones. If it’s a significant other, reserving some time every week or month for a date night can help reintroduce desire into a relationship. (5) Even if money’s tight, a planned TV night or a nature walk can help build or restore bonds between you and your partner. Put the focus on togetherness, and don’t stress on the planning.

References:

  1. Damaske, S. CCF Research Brief: Really? Work Lowers People’s Stress Levels. Council on Contemporary Families. https://contemporaryfamilies.org/work-lowers-stress-levels/
  2. Coleman, J and Coleman, J. Don’t Take Work Stress Home with You. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2016/07/dont-take-work-stress-home-with-you
  3. 5 Ways to Review Stress at Home. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/stress-and-family
  4. Delistraty, C. The Importance of Eating Together. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/07/the-importance-of-eating-together/374256/
  5. Grande, D. Date Night: Not a Luxury, a Necessity. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-it-together/201703/date-night-not-luxury-necessity

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