A healthy work-family balance is good for your family relationships, and for you. You might not be able to control the hours you work or how busy your work is, but you can still build strong and positive family relationships with regular quality time, positive communication, and appreciation for each other.
Switching from work mode to family focus
When you get home from work it can be worth trying to put work to rest in your mind. This can help you feel more ready to give your family loving attention and quality time. It can also help you relax and make the most of time with your family.
- Tune out of work on your way home by reading, or listening to music, the radio or a podcast
- Do a simple mindfulness exercise, perhaps before you finish or leave work, or in your parked car
- Call your partner, your child’s carer or your child on the way home. This can take your mind off work and give you a chance to catch up on your family’s day
- Have a ritual or routine to mark the physical, mental and emotional move from work to home. It can be as simple as changing out of your work clothes.
Quality family time is about making the most of the time you spend together as a family.
- Have time together when devices are turned off and out of sight. This helps to keep everyone focused on what you’re doing or talking about at the time
- Use everyday time together to talk and share a laugh. For example, family meals and car travel can be great times to catch up on the day
- Set aside time with your partner, if you have one. You could explain to your children that it’s good for your relationship with your partner to have this quality time alone together.
Positive communication is about listening without judgment and expressing your own thoughts and feelings openly and respectfully. It helps everybody feel understood, respected and valued, and this strengthens your relationships.
- When your child or partner wants to talk, try to stop what you’re doing and listen with full attention. Give people time to express their points of view or feelings
- Be open to talking about difficult things – like mistakes – and all kinds of feelings, including anger, joy, frustration, fear and anxiety. But it’s best to wait until you’ve calmed down from strong emotions like anger before you talk about them
- Let everyone in the family know that you love and appreciate them. This can be as simple as saying ‘I love you’ to your partner or children each night before bed.
Appreciation is at the heart of good family relationships. Using these tools, and showing appreciation for each member of your family, can help to maintain the balance when things get hectic with work, and in turn can help you manage your stress levels at work.