Experiment of the Month: Go Stress Hunting

Between work and all the day-to-day tasks that pile up, it can be hard to find the time for the things we want to do. We are stressed, bamboozled and bombarded with advice to try mindfulness or improve our time management, but is that the answer?

Work has the power to warp us with stress and dominate our time. As addressed recently in The Conversation (“No, it’s not you: why ‘wellness’ isn’t the answer to overwork“), individual attempts at self-help can’t fix a systemic problem:

“We’re working longer hours than ever before, and as our employment conditions continue to worsen, they’re simply repackaged into a new version of normal in an effort to make the truly pathological state of many of our workplaces appear acceptable”

In the face of this powerful problem, what can we do?

Until we can identify specifically how stress is impacting our home lives, it’s hard to take action. Becoming aware of what exactly these impacts are is the first step towards making a healthy decision.

Experiment of the Month

This evening, when you get home, spend a moment in each room with these two simple but powerful questions. If you live with a partner, it can be enlightening to do this together.

1. What is the purpose of this room?

For example, the most basic purpose of your kitchen may be to create meals, but for you, it could also be about bringing family and friends together, expressing your love for others by feeding them, or exploring a fulfilling hobby. Or, it could simply be to create food as quickly as possible and nothing more.

2. How does your work life, schedule and stress impact the goal of this room?

This conversation can easily sprawl into discussions (or arguments!) about your home, work and relationships – but at its core, this first step is about learning to spot the tangible impacts of overwork and stress, big and small. Only once the impacts are clear can you hope to address them.

Now What?

The diagnosis might not give you hope: stress is skewing your home life and overwork is a systemic problem that you can’t just fix in a weekend. So… now what?

While you might not be able to change global business trends, or even your office culture, you may be able to do something. Short of storming head office with your disgruntled colleagues, people around the world are choosing to scale back their workloads and live more simply and sustainably (a subject of the 1970s classic Small is Beautiful).

If that’s not an option, knowledge of stress’s impacts can be its own benefit by throwing light on issues in your relationships, health, productivity or progress towards personal goals. There are ways to pad or adjust your home to mitigate some of the specific impacts of overwork you found today- we’ll address that later.

Share your results or reactions on the Home Liberation Facebook page – did this lead to an argument, a revelation, a change?

Image credits: Flickr user giuseppesavo

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