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How to deal with personal stress when your professional life invades your home

Ashley Neal
December 9, 2020
How to deal with personal stress when your professional life invades your home

We’ve all heard of taking your work from home, but what about when you’re working at home?

Relationship struggles, medical issues, money problems, familial strife, or mental health deterioration happen to almost everyone at some point in life. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are juggling personal and professional responsibilities from the same four walls. So big or small, these stressors are bound to have a large influence on your day-to-day.

“Stress can cause physical, emotional, and behavioral problems which can affect your health, energy, well-being, mental alertness, and personal and professional relationships,” wrote human resources expert Susan M. Heathfield. “It can also cause defensiveness, lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating, accidents, reduced productivity, and interpersonal conflict.”

While there is no way to prevent stressors from ever happening, there are ways to properly deal with them to cause as little impact in your professional life as possible. 

Start fresh

One of the best ways to avoid bringing your problems to work is by establishing healthy boundaries. Start your day off with a short walk to mimic a quiet commute, or practice any other activity to put yourself in a calm headspace. Tell yourself that after this activity you are in work mode, and put aside your personal issues. 

This will allow you to start your day ready to be productive and present. Doing the same when you log off for the day could also help to positively compartmentalize your personal issues.

Stop talking about it

Co-workers can become some of our closest friends and confidants. While these relationships are extremely important to maintain, it’s best not to allow discussions about your personal life to interfere with your work. 

It is hard to create boundaries between work and personal when your friends and coworkers are asking for details or updates. The best way to keep your personal issues out of mind is to keep them out of your mouth, and this includes talking to non-work personnel during your shift as well.

Take some time off

Nothing adds to a problem more like sweeping it under the rug. Without addressing a problem,  it will continue to grow. If your issue cannot be solved in a normal time frame, or if the issue is severe enough, take some time off work to deal with it. 

Your mental and physical well-being should always come first. Speak with your supervisor and request to take some unpaid leave or extra vacation time to focus on your personal life so you can return to work level-headed and ready to succeed.

All in all, communicating with your team lead about the support you need during times of struggle is the best thing you can do for yourself and your organization. No one can handle everything on their own, so asking for help when necessary will allow you to have the support you need to handle your issues so you can get back to business as usual.

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Ashley Neal

Ashley Neal joined the Sidecar team as Community Coordinator in March of 2020, right as the COVID-19 pandemic began to shut down life as we knew it. Having to adapt, overcome and predict the changes needed to survive in the new normal, Ashley now has the skills needed to juggle any obstacle thrown her way. A soon-to-be graduate from Southeastern Louisiana University in the field of Strategic Communications, Ashley spends her days balancing her work and education with her love of dogs. Taking her three dogs — Scooby, Pipsqueak and Moose — to restaurants, hiking trails, vacations and even participating in dog shows and sports is the highlight of her weekends.

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