Home should be a haven after a tough day at the office or long day at school but according to the Happy Home Study from home management site Hoppy, for over a third of stressed out British workers (36 per cent), running their home is as or more stressful than their day job, with one in three working men (30 per cent) staying late in the office to skive household chores. Hoppy is working with chartered psychologist Dr. Linda Papadopoulos to help take the hassle out of running a home.
Here are Dr. Linda’s 10 secrets to a happier family home:
1. Have realistic expectations – To maintain a happy life at home, try to keep expectations realistic. While most people want to come back after work to a totally clean home, accept a bit of mess from time to time. Manage your expectations and tailor your day to what is right for you. Nutrition and sleep is just as important so ensure to eat well and get a good night's rest as this will ensure that your family wake up feeling ready and refreshed the next day
2. Tailor your routine based on what your core values are as a family – If a strong work ethic is one of your core family values, encourage your kids to get involved in some of the household tasks such as helping with cleaning the dishes after dinner. Not only will this teach them the importance of a good work ethic but also helps to reduce stress as a family
3. Plan for extra stresses and strains – Households can get busy for a number of different reasons so it's important to try to plan ahead as the more prepared you are the better that you will feel and the less stressful things will seem. Set aside a few minutes with your partner to discuss how this will work – for example planning your work wardrobe the night before and doing the weekly wash on a Saturday in advance so you’re not stressed on Monday morning
4. Assign responsibilities in the household – Ensure that everyone in the household is given a role and that they know exactly what is expected of them in terms of household tasks. Try to distribute tasks equally and if there is a certain task that someone in the household enjoys or excels in, then assign that responsibility to them
5. Make your life easier by developing habits. It’s easy to leave stuff in the house and come back to these household duties later. Be proactive and get into the habit of getting stuff done straight away. For example, clean the dishes after eating, make the bed in the morning or add items running out to the shopping list straight away. Not only will this make you feel better, but this will put you in the right frame of mind for things being more manageable
6. Try to eat meals together. While it’s tempting to eat your meal in front of the TV after a long day at work, it’s important to try and make some time to eat meals with others in your household. By sitting down and eating together, this is a good time to catch up with what’s going on in the family but also provide an opportunity to raise any issues before it gets too big.
7. Use technology to manage your finances. There is a huge link between financial stress and mental health. Some people avoid opening their bills or mortgage statements and this can become overwhelming. The key to having a happy home is to feel on top of these things. Try to sit down with your partner and look at what’s coming in and what's coming out. Using technology such as home management sites like Hoppy is a great way to be better organised with your finances at home and lessen the strain on relationships.
8. Be part of a wider community. Being connected is important and research has shown that those who are more socially connected have higher levels of wellbeing. Whether it’s volunteering or giving advice online, this can help to reduce stress as a family and improve happiness in the household
9. Reframe gender roles. Households should not fall into the gender stereotypes that the cooking should be done the majority of the time by the female of the house and gardening by the man. Being flexible on the roles of the house will help to reduce stress and anxiety and ensure that things will feel a little easier. This will also ensure a more evenly split balance of workload
10. Develop a sense of safety and security. As hard as it is to do at times because of the pressures of working long hours, try to set aside some time with your partner to discuss your priorities and responsibilities in the household. Talk to your partner on whether you are making the right financial decisions when saving money or who is responsible for fixing things that break in the house. By investing time in making these decisions, this will help give you a sense of security.
Photo credit: Darren Black