“Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”
Workplace stress is the number one primary source of stress, and it is on the rise. These statistics show that it isn’t getting any better.
Technology is keeping us more connected to the office than ever. With 24-7 smartphone access, it makes it harder to switch off your work brain even when you're at home. Focus on the fun you’re having outside of work with your friends and family. Don’t think about the challenges or tasks that might be waiting for you back at the office. It’s imperative that you know how and when to turn off for the sake of your mental health.
Is there such a thing as work-life balance - it’s easy to say but is it practised?
Wikipedia describes it as the balance that an individual needs between time allocated for work and other aspects of life. Areas of life other than work-life can be, but not limited to personal interests, family and social or leisure activities.
Work-life balance is easy in theory, difficult in practice.
Like any other stress, you have to decide if you are going to let it control your entire day. It's not wrong to talk about your day or even about the situation with your spouse or family. However, you shouldn't allow it to consume you and ruin your mood for them.
How do you switch off your work brain after work?
Meditating between work and home is a great way to help you ease the transition between work and home life. All you need is five minutes of quiet to let go of your busy day and de-stress. Research suggests that practising meditation can improve the individual sense of well-being.
As I walk in the door, I find somewhere right away that’s quiet and meditate. My family gives me the time and space to do this. They realize that it helps me become more present with them.
Focus on spending quality time with your loved ones or with yourself. Improve your ability to stay in the present moment. It will boost your mental, physical, and emotional capacity.
Time Block your Calendar for Work and Personal Activities
Set aside specific blocks of time for heads-down work each day. Find when you're most productive and set working hours around those times. For example, your most productive times are from 8 am to 11 am and then from 2 pm to 4 pm. Block out those times for undisturbed work. (Schedule them around recurring weekly meetings, tasks and activities.)
When you or other people add to the calendar, there is still a guaranteed number of hours devoted to heads-down work every day. Because you’re in control of those “heads-down, work-hard” slots, these can be adjusted as needed.
Prepare yourself also to check out from work mentally. Schedule yourself a reminder to leave work, head to spin class, or watch your favourite show. "Family or personal time" on your calendar is just as important as a scheduled “client meeting.”
Make a To Do List for the Following Day
Making a to-do list for the following day allows you to leave your anxiety on paper. It gets rid of worrying about tomorrow’s tasks. It helps you from forgetting something important. Most of all, your mind will be free to enjoy an evening (or weekend) away from the office.
Make this a habit at the end of your workday. You will be able to enjoy the freedom of your personal life away from the office. It also provides a smooth transition from work to personal life. In time, your to-do list will signal your brain that it’s time to stop focusing on work.
Digital Detox at the End of Day
It gets harder to ignore work-related emails outside of work. Don’t take any business calls after you leave the office. Don’t check your emails in the evenings or the weekend. Tell people that you are available for emergencies only outside of office hours.
You need to train yourself to be able to completely (not partially) switch from “work mode” to “family mode.” When I’m in work mode, I’m 100% in work mode. However, when I’m in the family mode, I’m also 100% in family mode. Knowing this, I force myself to be fully productive during the day. Come dinner time, I won’t allow myself to check my emails or worry about the report I haven’t finished. It’s hard at first, but you should be very strict about switching in and out of these two modes.
You Are More than Your Job - Pick up a Relaxing Activity or Hobby
Make some room for all the other things that inspire, challenge and excite you as much as your job does. Ask yourself, who are you outside of your work context?
What relaxes you? Painting? Taking a long walk in the park? Binge watching a season of your favourite show? The human brain needs to wind down. It’s important to take some time to relax the mind. Don't deprive yourself of these small pleasures. Set aside specific times of day that are time away from devices (phone, computer and TV). It might make the difference between reaching a state of burnout and setting healthy work-life boundaries.
Hobbies give you an excuse for taking time out for yourself and provides a nice break. One of the best benefits of starting a new hobby is the challenge it presents. For instance, you take up knitting in which you have no experience. You learn knitting through reading, online research and trial-and-error. The fun part is the journey - learning and improving even though you know you are going to make mistakes.
Remember, the one thing in life you have total control over is the choices you make. There are all kinds of advice on how to switch off from work mode, but not every recommendation is going to work for you. Each person is different. What’s most important is that I hope these ideas inspire you to find your own best practices.
I’d love to know what you do to switch off your work brain after work.(Written by Rita Chin, President & Creator of the It-za... Stay Skirt)