How to Leave Work Stress at the Office

How to Achieve Work/Life Balance

Thanks to technology and teleworking, the line between "work" and "home" has become razor-thin. Unfortunately, that means that more people are not only taking work home with them, but also work-related stress.

Consider, for example, the story of one Firaz, an executive whose predicament is described by author Sabina Nawaz in an article for the Harvard Business Review. "Firaz was recently appointed CEO of a $1 billion company … He had coveted this position for two years, but, now that he had it, Firaz was far from happy," Nawaz says. "Firaz's work pressure was seeping into his home life and cutting him off from one of the most important resources for easing his stress -- his family."

Sound familiar? If so, you need to find ways to leave workplace stress where it belongs: at work.

One way to keep work stress at work, according to Nawaz, is to build transitional space into your post-work routine. "As you travel from work to home, take the time to build in a mini-transition," she advises. "Firaz began stopping by a lake on his way home. He'd get out of his car and sit on a bench to look at the view for two minutes before completing his commute. This daily ritual was a cue to shut down work issues (at least until after dinner) and get ready for a different set of interactions at home."

Something else you should do before you get home is practice mindful gratitude. "Research shows that gratitude has many benefits, including reduced stress," Nawaz says. "Before you get home, review your workday to identify one thing -- no matter how small -- for which you're grateful. On particularly tough days, Firaz could at least express thanks for the Starbucks on the first floor."

The goal is simple: You need to manage your work stress instead of feeling consumed by it.

Concludes Nawas, "By proactively managing your stress, you loosen the grip stress has on you and regain control of job and life."

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