Switching off from work is something many of us find difficult. We want the work-life balance but can find our minds are still consumed with thoughts of work when we are not there. Here are some tips to help you switch off:
1. Create a Ritual
Mark a line in the sand to signal the end of your work day. This is important whether you work from home or away. If you wear a uniform at work, you could change when you arrive home. Having a shower is another great way to wash the work day away. If you have an hour’s commute home you could decide that you will allow yourself time to ruminate over the day and upon arriving at home, you “switch” off. Find some way to delineate the work day from your leisure time.
Unless it is part of your contract or job, get in the habit of unplugging from work when you are not there. You don’t have to be connected 24/7. Turn off your phone and laptop. We might think that being continuously available is what is expected of us, but often we are the ones who put these expectations on ourselves. If your boss or colleagues do expect you to be at the end of the phone or email outside work, set a new boundary around your home time. Explain what you are doing and how it will work and what you are willing to do, you don’t have to be inflexible. Be clear and assertive. Your actions could help change an unhealthy workplace habit.
3. Create Boundaries
Having friends at work can be a good way to enjoy your time at work and get on in your field, but at times it may be necessary to create boundaries and step back. If you are finding that all of your spare time is spent with people from work it could be time for a re-balance. It is great to get along with your peers but it will make it harder to switch off from work if all of your spare time is spent with them. You could put a night or two aside a week for socializing with workmates and ensure your other evenings are spent with people outside work, doing things unrelated to your job.
4. Create Exciting Plans
Having exciting things planned that you can look forward to outside work makes a big difference to your mindset. If you find it hard to switch off after work, sitting in front of the television all night or talking about how much you dislike your job won’t make things any better. Arrange to meet up with some friends or start a new hobby. Schedule time each week for these plans and make sure you are continually making enjoyable plans outside work.
5. Cultivate Healthy Habits
Cultivating healthy habits like exercise or meditation is a great way to enhance your ability to switch off from work (and other parts of your life if needed) and increase your overall sense of well-being. If you don’t currently exercise, have a look and see what you could do. Even a walk each day can make a huge difference to your ability to switch off — and your overall fitness. Do some research and find out what interests you.
If you find it hard to ask for help, learn to let go and spread the workload. Trust other people to do a good job while you are not at work. If you are a manager or business owner, train someone in your team that you trust to take the reins when you are not there. If people are trusted and treated well, they will usually step up and impress.
7. Find Work That Fits
When I am doing work that fits and inspires me, I have less to switch off from; being at work becomes enjoyable. Yet when I have done work that isn’t “me” or that I enjoy, there seems to be more to get out of my system at the end of the day and more to unwind from. Find work that you enjoy and that suits you and you’ll have less to switch off from.
8. Work Less
If there is any way you can go part time and work less, it will help you to switch off and have more time for your own pursuits. Something as simple as working out how much you usually earn a day and seeing if you can save that amount elsewhere is a good place to start. If you can find a way to save a day’s earnings per week, it could mean that you could ask to work a four day week without it having an impact on your finances.
How do you switch off from work?
(Image courtesy of eschipul under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 generic license.)
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