I've seen a lot of people in my therapy office over the years who struggled to leave their work-related stress at the office. Some of them were parents who were disappointed that they took out a whole day's worth of frustration out on their children the minute they walked through the door.
Other individuals arrived home so irritable every day that their partner walked on eggshells because they didn't want to "poke the bear."
A high-stress job--especially when where you are mistreated by your boss--can wreak havoc on your home life. Tense relationships with your family can add more stress to your life, which creates a vicious downward spiral that's hard to reverse.
The good news, however, is that studies show there are two effective stress management strategies that can help you leave your work-related stress at the office so you can have better relationships with your family.
Why Work-Related Stress Spills Over
It's no secret that working in a high-stress environment affects everything from your physical health to your psychological well-being. If you're criticized, insulted, or belittled in the workplace, it's likely to affect your relationships.
Research consistently shows individuals who are mistreated at work are likely to mistreat their families. A study conducted by researchers from the University of Florida examined how individuals can prevent the spillover between work and home.
They discovered that mistreatment at the office reduces an employee's self-regulation skills. Employees have difficulty controlling their impulses and managing their emotions after they've been criticized.
That means they're more likely to do and say things they regret when they arrive home.
Stress Management Skills That Will Help You Come Home Refreshed
According to the study, there are two key things you can do to leave your work-related stress at the office; get plenty of sleep and exercise.
Participants who walked 10,900 steps (about 5 miles) each day were less likely to be abusive toward family members when compared to participants who took 7,000 steps.
Researchers say burning an additional 587 calories could reduce the harmful effects of workplace mistreatment. For the average American male, that means an hour of swimming or a brisk 90-minute walk.
The study also found that sleep-deprivation is a key component in poor self-regulation skills. Getting more sleep--and better quality sleep--is key to increasing your mental energy so you can combat poor impulse control.
Create A Positive Cycle
Of course, healthy amounts of sleep and plenty of exercise will do more than just help you come home from work in a better mood. They're key components in living a healthy lifestyle and building mental strength.
Research links adequate sleep to everything from increased creativity to a longer life span. Exercise boosts your mood, increases energy, and improves memory.
The two are also related. Getting more exercise will help you sleep better. And when you sleep better, you'll have more energy to exercise.
When you're stressed out, however, you might think the last thing you have time to do is hit the gym or go to sleep early.
But making time to manage your stress can stop the downward spiral of stress and burnout. That won't just be good for you, but it could also be good for your family.