Four years ago the most stressful point in my day was the drive home. It only took 15 to 20 minutes to drive from my office to my house. The traffic wasn’t great, but who can really complain about a 20 minute commute.
The traffic didn’t stress me out. It was never really all that bad. What was stressing me out was the responsibilities of my job mixing with the responsibilities of home. I was thinking about the work I hadn’t finished up and how I was going to resolve the current crisis. I was thinking about what I was going to make for dinner and if my 3 year old was going to tantrum when I got home because she was tired and hungry too. I was worried I was going to be late picking her up, because I had a last minute conversation leaving the office. Then repeat that on a loop until I picked up my daughter at daycare. It is easy to see that I felt tired and overwhelmed when I got to daycare to pick her up.
Then I changed jobs. The new job involved a 30 minute hi-way commute. To help pass the time I decided to try out audiobooks for the first time. I found out you could borrow them digitally from the Waterloo Region Library and play them on your ipod, ipad, or phone. I decided to tried it out.
What I discovered was that by listening to an audiobook on the way home I was able to let go of the work stress and focus only on the book and driving. That in turn meant I did not stress about what was going to happen when I got home. So when I picked up my daughter I felt more refreshed, enabling me to be a better Mom.
The length of my commute has varied since then from as low as 10 minutes to my current 20–25 minute commute. No matter the length I always listen to an audio book on the way home (and often on the way to work as well). I really find it helps me reset my mind for the next challenge ahead.
What do you do to decompress from work?
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