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Transitions Between Work and Home

Do you ever feel like you are leading a double life? Are your responsibilities at work and at home totally different? If your answer is yes, you are not alone. At no other time is change so keenly felt as the transition between your work and home environment at the end of the workday. This time of day has been called the "whirlwind hour."

Transitions are times of change. Often during these times, our bodies are at the right place at the right time, but our minds are not. Our minds have not made the transition yet and are still trying to catch up. As your family returns home, everyone has special needs to be met. These needs often take families down a collision course that leads to increased stress and emotional outbreaks.

The more time you have to make transitions, the easier it will be. A hurried transition is always hard. Here are some tips to help relieve "hurry-up-itis."

Learn to manage your time so that you have completed your tasks and can leave work at the appointed hour.

Plan some catch up time so that if something unexpected happens, you'll have the time to deal with it.

Be assertive. Does your boss ask you to start and finish a task at the end of the day? How do you respond to the request? Next time, you can tactfully say to your boss, "Since the work day has ended, I'll be delighted to complete the task in the morning." Sometimes there may be a legitimate emergency, but it should not be a daily event.

Make your first hours at home after work less stressful by following some or all of the following suggestions:

Learn to separate your personal and work lives. Don't take your personal life to work and don't take your work home.

Use commuting time to make the transition between work and home.

Change clothes immediately after coming home from work. After you shed your work clothes, you’re ready to face the demands at home.

Involve your spouse and children in household chores. As children complete household tasks, they learn more about taking responsibility. They also feel like a valued member of the family.

Talk to your spouse and your children about your feelings. Good communication is important in strong families.

Adapted from Ohio State University CES WorkSite Series Fact Sheet Number 11, "Coming Home."

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