Long working hours usually mean less family time throughout the week. When you finally get home from your shift, you’re likely to be tired and stressed. But we all know it’s important to find ways to regroup and connect with your family. Here are some ideas that may help you maximise your family time and shift the focus to quality over quantity!
Clear your head
Before you leave for home, you could spend a few minutes going over the work day in your head. Try jotting down anything that’s on your mind or bothering you. This can make it easier to mentally switch off from work, and encourage you to leave work at work.
According to over 200 studies, releasing thoughts onto paper helps to lower anxiety and stress, and can be a great way to process your emotions or work through inner conflict.
Relax and breathe
To help you relax after a stressful day at work, you could try a mindfulness exercise before you leave. One simple yet powerful technique is mindful breathing. This basically involves relaxing your body, focusing on your breath and letting go of your thoughts. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be in the meditation position for this exercise to work. Standing or sitting down is fine – whatever feels most comfortable to you.
Everyone knows that having meals together is an important way of engaging with family members. Studies have shown that it provides psychological and physiological benefits for the whole family. It’s a great time to really talk and make plans for the future. Experts say that making plans together, even small ones, help to strengthen family bonds. Discussing your rostered schedule with family members to synchronise availability for a shared meal is well worth the effort.
Rose and thorn
At times, it can be hard to get more than a “Yes” or “No” response from your children at the dinner table. One way to get conversation flowing is to go around the table and ask each person to talk about the highlight of their day (the rose) followed by the hardest part of their day (the thorn). This encourages everyone to open up about their day rather than giving one-worded answers.
Is it possible to set aside one night a week or even a month, to do something fun with your family? It could be going out for a nice dinner or something simple like a games night at home. Scheduling it into your diary helps to ensure it’s not an optional extra. Provided you’re not on-call, switching off your phone and letting coworkers know about times you’re unavailable puts your family where they belong – front and centre.
Regular “date” nights
Rostered work can make it difficult to spend time with your partner, but scheduling in regular date nights can be a great way to keep the spark alive. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, you could cook a meal together or have a picnic in the park – the important thing is that you are spending fun, quality time together. To help keep date ideas flowing, sign up to email lists for places you like to visit or check out local events in your area. There are also services out there that can plan your date night for a fee.
Don’t forget about the village!
As the old saying goes, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. This still rings true for many of us and along with your immediate family, your extended family can be your biggest support network. Whether this be your parents, grandparents, cousins or closest friends, achieving a good work-life balance requires a strong network of behind the scene supporters. But when you’re juggling long working hours with countless other commitments, it can be a challenge to find the time to maintain these relationships on a day-to-day basis.
Using social media to communicate regularly is a great way to keep in touch, even when you can’t physically get together. Try creating a Facebook or WhatsApp group message to keep up to date with what’s going on in each others’ lives. Alternatively, you could use your travel time to or from work each day to call someone different for a chat. It’s a great way to pass the time on your commute as well as making sure that you are regularly connecting with those closest to you.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach for work-life balance. Each family situation is unique and circumstances will change over time. But it’s worth trying out different strategies until you find the ones that suit your situation. Getting the balance right will not only improve your home life, it will assist with overall mental well-being and help you function better at work.
* This article was outsourced to a freelance writer and provides research based on factual information. The information is general and is not intended to serve as advice. DPM Financial Services Group recommends you obtain advice concerning specific matters before making a decision.