Asked by Anonymous
Asked on 08 Sep 2019
My work has been stressful and affecting my mood on weekends when I’m supposed to rest my mind. I become cold to my family and my partner. How can I improve this situation?
I believe that many here working in high-stress jobs can relate to this! Personally, I have experienced it and have taken stress home, so much so that my loved ones can feel the tension once I get back from work, or meet them for dinner.
Why spread that negativity? What I have realised over time is to be kind to yourself and your loved ones. One useful way to do this is to constantly remind yourself that if work is already causing negativity in your life, it does not make sense for you to further spread that negativity to family. Of course, it helps if family members can identify that the reason why you are cold is not because of them, but because you are affected at work.
Compartmentalize. Some people are better at this than others. Some could even argue that men are better at it than women. Underlying this is basically the awareness that work is work, and your non-work relationships should be kept separate.
Get another perspective. Be open with your family members. It could even be helpful for you to talk to them about work issues in some cases - I find that some of my colleagues unwind by telling their spouses about their issues at work. Sometimes, it is very useful to have an alternate perspective on the issue. You might find that an issue that feels very troubling to you might actually not be when you consider it from another point of view.
Underpinning all of this, is that your work is not your life. Allowing your job to affect your mood for weekends is probably not the way to go. Imagine if you're 80 and you look back on your life realizing you spent your weekends in misery because of that job/annoying boss/political colleagues - not such a great life to look back on, isn't it? Treasure your time :)
Truth is, stress from work is never going to end, and it's only likely to increase as you have more work responsibilities.
It's important that you still speak to your family and partner about what's troubling you at work though. Otherwise, the feelings will pile up and it might only make the situation worse.
Doing so also allows them to know what you're going through at work, while they might not be able to help with the situation, at least they can offer support.
It takes a lot of effort on our part, at least for me, to compartmentalise work stress. I know that I became a lot more impatient with people around me due to work, so I'm constantly reminding myself to be mindful.
All the best and jia you!
Talk to someone! Could be your close friend, spouse or even colleague. Here are some steps you can take:
What is the issue? How did it arise? (Root problem)
If there are multiple issues, which do you want to address first?
How have you been coping/managing this issue? If you haven't, what are some steps you can take?
How does this method help with the problem?
If you tried your best and still doesn't work, then you should seek professional advice from a counsellor. WINGS Counselling Centre ( 6383–5745 )
It's great that you recognise that the stress is spilling over. Does your organisation provide support such as counselling? If so, understand that there's no shame in seeking professional help. Or consider one of the publicly available channels.
Personally, I find that compartmentalizing helps. Also, arrest the situation when you realise that you're being cold and not yourself. Acknowledging it out loud is uncomfortable, but sometimes does help. Try saying "I'm sorry, it must be the stress of work. But I'm here now." Also helps those around you understand your situation.
I have a few suggestions I use to cope
A) Don't bring work home. Make it clear to yourself home is where u relax and deal w home matters, and the office is where you think about work.
B) Exercise, especially walking or running. It tends to give you alone time, and its a good place to work out your thoughts.
C) Confront the deliverables, and prioritize it. Like doing an exam paper, if you don't have an answer, skip and clear other stuff that you have an answer. Circle back to it later.
Hope it helps.