“I’m serious when I do my work. I’m not serious when I’m home with my kids.”
– Bill Gates

Work and Life. We need to balance both in order to work well and care for our families, but with remote access to company files, smart phones and deadlines, shutting down and leaving work at 5:30 is getting harder and harder to do no matter how much we need it. Studies can tell you the statistics of overworked and stressed workers, but we at Brightwing thought it would be useful to give you some coping tactics and strategies.

When you are off the clock, act like it
We all take our work baggage home with us as well as a report to read, phone calls to make and meetings to prepare for. Everyone does, and although it is the norm, it does not have to be. The first suggestion to achieving this is to have better time management so that you can plan in pockets of time to work on projects, reports, and calls during actual work hours. Understandably there will be major company happenings that will take over from time to time, but with better time management our off-the-clock personalities can shine through.

Give the best part of yourself
The second suggestion that can help us get back to feeling like ourselves is to shut off and talk to a friend or family member. Turn off your phone and computer in order to connect. In the article “10 Habits of Remarkably Charismatic People” in Inc. Magazine, Jeff Haden says, “Don’t check your phone. Don’t glance at your monitor. Don’t focus on anything else even for a moment. You can never connect with others if you’re busy connecting with your stuff, too. Give the gift of your full attention. That’s a gift few people give.” If one of the reasons we are working is to enjoy life with our families and friends, then we should act like they are what’s important, not our iPhones.

Change your route
Having a hard time winding down after an exceptionally long stressful day? Change your routine and your route home. Sometimes our brains go into overdrive and we spend the entire commute home thinking about what happened at the office throughout the day. We arrive at our destination without even remembering how we got there. Take the long way home and spend some time enjoying some new music or your favorite radio program. Be aware of your surroundings and begin to notice sites you normally overlook. Begin to process things that are going on outside of work so you can be ready to enjoy your time off the moment you walk through your front door.

Engage in leisure activities
Studies have found that engaging in leisure activities lowers blood pressure, stress hormones and leads to smaller waist lines. No shock there. But even with all the widely reported benefits, busy working Americans have a hard time finding time to fit these activities in. So practice one of the skills you use at work, multitask. If your dog needs a walk, taking him for a nice long walk in the park and enjoy throwing the ball around. If you want to spend time with your children, start a game of impromptu soccer. Getting active and outdoors can go a long way in helping you to reduce stress and mentally step away from work.