Whether you’re working late nights at the office or balancing living and working from home, it can be hard to disconnect from work after hours. If you have work programs on the phone, tablet, or computer you use on your time off, it can be even harder to draw the line between your work and personal life. Over time, being constantly connected to work may increase your stress and make it harder for you to mentally detach from work outside of working hours. Finding a healthy work-life balance can help reduce stress, prevent burnout in the office, and help you live a fuller life.
Read More: Tips For Relieving Stress
Tips For Disconnecting From Work:
To help you disengage from your job without adding stress, plan some free time into your weekly schedule. At the beginning of the week, block off some times when you can take a break and relax. By building free time into your calendar and planning around your meetings and the busiest parts of the day, you’re more likely to actually step away once the time comes.
Have An End of Day Ritual
It can be hard to stop thinking about work, especially if you’re working from home. To create some separation between your work and personal worlds, create a ritual to signal that the workday is over. Whether it’s taking a walk, doing something creative, or putting your favorite music on, having an after-work ritual will help you relax and put some distance between you and your workday.
Don’t Rush Into Relaxation
Many workaholics try to “earn” rest, which may look like working 60 hours a week to take a week of vacation, or not stopping for food or water in order to block off an afternoon for self-care. However, this method may actually make it harder to relax once the time comes around. You’re asking your body and mind to go from 100 miles an hour to a screeching halt, which can make it difficult to actually enjoy the benefits of relaxation. Instead, ease into taking more regular breaks throughout your day or week. Try blocking off 15 minutes to decompress after a meeting, or scheduling a 30-minute lunch break every other day.
Set Boundaries. . .and Keep Them
Setting boundaries, communicating them to your team, and honoring them is key to giving yourself some time to truly disconnect from work. If you typically work from 8-5, try to avoid answering non-emergency emails or messages that come through before or after those times - and remind yourself that it’s completely normal to wait to respond to emails until the next business day. If you’re not comfortable waiting until the next day to respond, send a quick message along the lines of “Saw your email and I will respond with an answer tomorrow.”
If you find yourself staying up at night thinking about everything you need to accomplish the next day, make a prioritized goal list of the tasks you want to complete. When you go back to work, cross off each task as they’re completed. If you’re able to finish your list (or have a plan for work that needs to be pushed back), you’ll be less likely to bring work-related worries home with you.
Disconnect From Technology
The only way to fully relax is to completely disconnect from your work when you’re not in the office. Don’t answer any work emails or complete assignments in your free time that can wait until the next day in your office. Log out of work programs, shut down your computer, and put it in a different room. Delete email and work apps from your personal phone and make it a habit to not check work emails in the evening, especially before bed.
View Time Off As An Investment
Your brain is a muscle, and just as you rest your body after a hard workout, your brain needs time off so it can grow stronger. Let go of the negative emotions you may associate with creating a more balanced life. Disconnecting from work is anything from selfish - prioritizing your mental health and well-being to achieve a better work-life balance can actually increase job satisfaction and job performance as well as life and family satisfaction.1
Truly disconnecting from work can be difficult, especially in our always-connected society. But, putting some separation between your work and personal life, you’ll give your mind time to rest, recharge and reset. By following these work-life balance tips, you may even become more productive during your working hours!