Almost a third of workers struggle to know “how to switch off from work in their personal time“. Research by the Myers-Brigg Company also found that those who are always on are more likely to experience high stress or mental exhaustion. Relaxing after a difficult day at work can be hard, especially when technology is everywhere.
However, switching off from work is vital for our wellbeing and productivity. But how do we do that? How do we finish our working day fully ensuring we switch off our ‘work brain’ and transition back into our ‘life brain’? Here are some of our top tips on how to switch off from work and relax.
1. Avoid checking your phone in the evenings
The advancement of technology was meant to free workers from being desk-bound. However, mobile devices have actually digitally linked us to our desks 24/7 and means switching off from work is very difficult. The Myers-Brigg Company found that 28% of workers said they find it difficult to mentally switch off from the work because of access to work emails and smartphones.
Our lives are now constantly bombarded and interrupted by emails, texts and phone calls. Once the office has shut, why are we still answering emails, text messages, phone calls?
Some ways to switch off from work in the evenings:
- Try turning your work phone off as the office closes. Emails will still be there in the morning, voicemails can be left, and texts can be answered tomorrow. It really helps to relax if you are no longer thinking about your work phone going off during the evening.
Therefore, it’s important to switch off from work in the evening and get into the habit into turning your phone off after work.
- if you would prefer to have your work emails removed from your phone. So, there isn’t any temptation there and you can focus on your home life. Detaching ourselves from our work phones and emails enables us to relax, de-stress and re-energize for going back to work the next day.
- We need that mental break in order to have a positive mood and a better focus for the next working day. No matter how many emails you reply to in the evening, there will never be enough hours in the day. Don’t work yourself into the ground trying to get it all done.
2. Minimise work chat at home and have an evening routine
Talking about work can help but you don’t want to let it take over your life and consume everything you do. It may be hard, however, try to not bring your problems home with you and create a safe space away from work drama. This will help you switch off from work. Discussing work can bring up negative feelings and bring you down.
- Limit work chat at home to help separate your professional and personal life and go into the next day with a positive outlook. Having an evening routine can seem a bit daunting; especially if you rarely have timings for anything, or if you’re not quite sure when you’ll be home.
- Always try to put your mobile down an hour or so before you think you’re going to go to bed – this helps your brain switch off and wind down.
- Spend time caring for your skin, have a shower/ bath, and make sure you are always in bed before a certain time.
- You can make this routine whatever works for you, that could be preparing lunch for the next day, doing meditation before getting into bed, or writing a diary. Whatever it is, make sure you try and do it every evening, and it will make a difference to your mindset; and help you in how you switch off from work.
3. De-stress after a long day to switch off from work
Try to establish an unwinding ritual at the end of the day to train your mind to slow down. The average time it takes for people to unwind in the evening is between 30 and 90 minutes. However, it’s important to not rely on alcohol as a relaxant to help you unwind as too much alcohol can make you feel worse instead of better. Alcohol can heighten situations and make you feel more anxious!
Then the question arises, how can we switch off from work at home?
Mindfulness is one of the best ways to de-stress after work and is all about being in the present moment. Practising mindfulness is about focusing on your breathing, and being aware of the sounds and feelings around you. It may also be a good idea to create a bedtime routine that helps you have a peaceful and restorative sleep… Have a bubble bath, pop on some relaxing music and light some candles, and enjoy your me-time.
How can MyMindPal help you switch off from work stress?
MyMindPal is an app provided exclusively for employers to help their workforce stress less and find their happy balance.
- It does exactly what is says on the tin – it’s a pal for your tired brain. A working day can be full on, and you can have thousands of thoughts, and ‘to do’s’ whizzing around in your brain.
- An example of what you can do with MyMindPal; you can literally write down a list of all the niggles of the day, watch them be sent to the moon, and feel released from the day. Have a chat with your HR, you might have MyMindPal in place at your workplace.
Try our tips to reduce your stress levels
4. Find a hobby
After a long hard day at work, the first thing you may want to do is collapse on the sofa, have some wine and watch TV. It may be worth considering doing something a little bit more productive, like finding yourself a hobby.
Immersing yourself in something that keeps your mind occupied, can help you find solutions that you may not have thought of. Embrace a new hobby such as
- bird watching
- learning to play an instrument
- writing to switching off from work.
You could even invest in the meditative coloring activity books for adults, which are great for coloring stress away.
5. Clear your head
It is important to clear your head in the evening, so why not go for an evening stroll to help you relax and switch off from work.
- Go with your partner or take the kids with you, and discuss light-hearted topics to keep your mind off of work. The fresh air will do you good and it can change your perspective on everything.
- Develop an evening ritual, whether it including going for a walk or going to the gym, make sure you have something consistent in the evenings which helps you to clear your head.
- There are many types of exercises that really do help you switch off from work. Yoga is a popular choice as just an hour of slow, relaxing exercising at the end of the working day is enough to help leave all work thoughts at the office door, ready to be picked up the next day.
It might be worth a chat with your HR, you might be able to get a gym membership through your company. Incorpore Ltd provide corporate discount schemes at thousands of gyms and health clubs across the UK. Check out My Gym Discounts or GymFlex for more information.
6. Create exciting plans
It is always a good idea to have exciting things planned in the diary so that you can look forward to things outside of work and it gives you something to work towards.
Book a holiday, arrange to meet up with some friends, book a fun day out to somewhere new or start a new activity to switch off from work. It will improve your overall sense of wellbeing and make you more excited about fun plans outside work.
7. Spend more time with your family
Leave work on time and step away from your digital work devices, and focus on your family. When you are at home, be completely available to your family and don’t have your attention focused on work issues.
Cook dinner together, sit down and talk, play a game, go swimming, or bake some cakes. Whatever it is that you do, just make sure it is together as a family and you are all having fun.
Distancing yourself from work life will help you to switch off from work and will allow you to dedicate more time to your family.
Switching off from work is not an easy task to do but it is important for your physical and mental health! You don’t want to end up burning out or having your health suffer as a result of it. Try to make the switch off from work in the evenings a priority and focus on your own wellbeing.