When that feeling of being under so much pressure at work starts to carry over and you feel just as driven at home, it’s time to slow down, not speed up. We have gotten very good at doing more in less time, undertaking several things at once, processing ever more information, and constantly reacting with split second decisions. But these very same skills—often the pathway to success at work—can contribute to problems at home if you don’t know how, or don’t remember, to leave them behind at the office. Don’t become so focused on “doing” that you have no time left for “being”—enjoying work, family and home.
There are usually plenty of warning signs when you need to rebalance your life: decreasing enjoyment of daily life, headaches, poor sleeping, high blood pressure, irritability with family and friends, constant worrying, etc. Unfortunately, these warning signals are often misinterpreted as cues to do more rather than less!
How can you break out of this cycle and slow yourself down? The following techniques are not difficult and will become increasingly effective with repetition and practice:
1. Speak thoughtfully. Don’t go with your first reaction if it is angry, sarcastic, or critical, since this behavior can be destructive to both the recipient and your own sense of well being.
2. Don’t catastrophize. Catch yourself when you’re imagining the worst and take the time replace those thoughts with a more rational, realistic and neutral assessment of the situation.
3. Practice optimism. Choose a simple soothing phrase to repeat and slow yourself down at stressful moments, such as “Things will work out OK.”
4. Ask the right questions like:,“How important is this thought or event that is causing me stress? How important will it be down the road? Will I even remember it in a month or a year?” Don’t let small stuff create big stress!
5 . Find a quiet place and try to let your thoughts and worries go. Focus on your breathing to help quiet all the “chatter” in your mind. Take deeper, slower, and more regular breaths. As you exhale, tell yourself to relax and let go of muscle tension. Don’t get discouraged, because it’s not easy to “empty your mind,” but you will improve with practice. Just keep trying for a few minutes each day.
6. Focus on grateful thoughts and feelings which come from receiving the kindness of friends, family and coworkers
7. Slow down. Walk, talk, and drive slower. Notice how the tension leaves your body.
8. Find those places that make you feel comfortable. Your favorite spot could be a particular chair in a bookstore or a special path in the woods. Find it and use it.
9. Surround yourself with people who are positive, caring, and who make you laugh. Don’t underestimate the healing potential of laughter.
10. Get rid of clutter. It’s a great feeling to clean out and discard unused stuff.