How many times have you driven home from work, walked in the door, and brought all of the frustration and stress of your workday with you?
Maybe you even did it today.
Your family is then negatively affected by this stress, and it completely offsets your work-life balance.
You’ve always wanted to get rid of this, but the bad drivers and traffic all around you seem to make it impossible. It’s not your fault though, you just need the right tools in your mind, and in your car, to replace the stress with peace.
With these steps, impossible is nothing.
You can learn these stress management techniques to keep work at work and make your home life better.
Meditation in the simplest terms is intentionally focusing your thinking and breathing to help master your thoughts and feelings. It can be hard to learn, but the impacts of meditation are incredible.
I’m partial to the Headspace app, although there are others out there. I’ve been trying it out for over a month now.
Headspace has completely improved every aspect of my life.
It has “packs” or sets of meditations that are themed for a specific purpose, as well as singles, like sleep, or feeling overwhelmed, to help with specific issues that our minds struggle to break free of.
I just finished the self-esteem pack and I’ve finally begun to overcome a lifelong struggle with low self-esteem. I have more hope than ever before that I can finally beat it.
What better way to prepare for our home life on our way home than by practicing mastery over our thoughts and feelings?
2. Listening to an Audiobook on Parenting or Marriage
“Turn your car into a university.”
— Zig Ziglar
Grab an aux cable (or go get one if you don’t have one already), plug your phone in, and get that audiobook going. If you don’t have an aux cable then use your headphones.
I’ve had an aux cable that just recently went dead, so I’ve had to use my headphones but I always leave one ear uncovered to be able to hear emergency vehicles.
You will hear me recommend using your commute to listen to books until your ears bleed. I can’t even tell you how much my life has changed from this one simple habit.
The app that I recommend the most recently has been Scribd, which is how I’ve listened to over 30 books just this year alone with a wife and kids, a full-time job, and being a graduate student. Scribd is like Netflix but for books, and is far more valuable.
I can’t even sit down to watch a TV show or movie anymore without wishing that I was listening to a book. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good movie, but my patience for something that is so much less productive than listening to a book has been completely depleted.
I’m so much happier replacing Netflix with audiobooks.
Any book is helpful to de-stress after a long day of work, but I’ve found that learning more about parenting and marriage is especially helpful because I can get home and practice what I’ve learned right away.
And it profoundly benefits my marriage and family.
3. Practice Gratitude
This one can be hard.
Thinking, in general, can be hard.
It’s hard because it takes practice, but we don’t often think of thinking well as something that requires practice. Meditation can help with that, but gratitude is like directed meditation.
You may start out only thinking of your top 3 things that you’re grateful that you contributed to for the day. It may be that you begin a list in your mind of all the things that you’re grateful for. You might even look around at all you see and think of why you’re grateful for it.
I’ve recently been looking at the things that I’m most grateful that I’ve accomplished that day, as well as what I’m looking forward to the most.
4. Rock out to Your Favorite Music
Some days you just have to turn up the volume and let everybody around you know that you’re more than excited to be done with work.
My personal favorites include Fleetwood Mac, The Who, and Sting. Oh and I really love Hans Zimmer, to give you an idea of how broad my music taste is!
Who are your favorite artists that make you feel like you’re on top of the world?
And as a nice segue from the last tip, we have a prayer!
This word means a lot of different things to each of us. It shouldn’t ever be forced in any certain way, so I’m not trying to get you to pray in any specific way. You might simply address God and tell Him how you feel, which is perfectly alright. I know that He’d love to hear from you.
Now, if your thing isn’t believing in God or any “higher power” that’s alright! I don’t want you to feel left out or like I’m telling you what to do. A possible alternative to prayer is to think of how a conversation with your future self that has accomplished all your current dreams might go. I often do this myself and find it very uplifting and encouraging.
If you’re at all curious about prayer and how to receive answers to your prayers, just contact me and I’d be glad to help you out!
6. Remember the Day You Met your Spouse/Significant Other/Children
I often have nights where it’s difficult to fall asleep. I toss and turn and my mind is racing with all of the many ideas I’ve come up with for the day.
Maybe you have the same experience or worse.
One practice I’ve started recently that has always calmed my mind down is visualizing the day I met my wife and each of my children.
I vividly remember the day I met my wife. All the feelings return and above all else, I feel peace as I think of that late August day in 2011.
I remember my heart leaping as high as it had ever gone in my chest the first time I saw her in church that day.
I remember how I couldn’t stop stealing glances at her from across the room at another church meeting later that day.
And I especially remember how, as stunning as she looked (and still does) I was absolutely blown away at her personality the first time we talked. Not even kidding, the circle of people we were standing in all kind of stopped awkwardly for a moment. We didn’t know it at the time, of course, because all we could see was each other.
That’s another story for another day. And then there’s the peace I felt about her the rest of the entire week!
Okay I’ll stop now.
But the reality of it is, that experience still warms my heart and soul to think about. Every time I think of it, no matter how distressed I may be from a difficult day at the office or otherwise, it calms me right down.
If you’re single, however, this might be a little different. I don’t want to leave anyone out here!
A technique I used before I met my wife was visualizing her and what she was like and what my life would be like once she was in my life.
You might try this by simply thinking about the qualities and attributes you’re looking for in a future spouse or significant other. Make a mental list and revisit it often. I tried this and it helped me find my beautiful wife!
Remembering what it was like to meet those that we love the most, or visualizing what it will feel like can calm us down and prepare us well to spend our evenings with them.
The Final, and Most Important Step — Application
Whenever I discover a new and life-changing principle that I’m super excited about, I can’t wait to apply it in my life. I hope that you’re already excited thinking about how these ideas will make your life better!
For a long time, I really struggled to actually apply all of the amazing principles I always learn about.
Then I had an idea.
I bought a stack, yeah an entire stack, of like 1,000 or so, 3×5 cards on Amazon.
I always carry a few with me. Every time I learn a great new principle that I want to remember, I’ll quickly jot it down on a 3×5 card and keep it with me for the next few weeks or so, usually in my back pocket. As you can imagine, these cards get pretty ragged before they’re done!
This one simple practice has helped me remember countless principles that would have otherwise been lost among the many new ideas I get every day.
And so it can be with you and your commute home for work.
Grab a pack of 3×5 cards, write these ideas down and include some of your own, and tape it in your car somewhere you’ll see.
You’ll be amazed at how much improvement you’ll see in your family by applying these simple steps on your commute home.