19 Aug Top Tips to Switch Off From Work
As technology has developed to improve our convenience to communicate and keep connected, the divide between our work space and home space has become blurred. It is very easy to click on a different tab to check emails, to check some research for a project, to text a colleague, or follow a recommended app from a meeting.
Taking a few hours to actually relax in an evening and at the weekend, is highly beneficial for our psychological and physical well being. By making an effort to compartmentalise our lives, we can improve our sleep patterns, eat more healthily, and use our leisure time more productively. This all adds to life satisfaction so we can be more productive, concentrate better, and be more positive in our work space.
Here are some top tips to enable you to positively switch off from work after hours so that you lead more positive leisure time.
Establish a winding down routine in the last half hour of your working day
The last hour of your day after you have been concentrating, suffered stressful challenges or difficult issues, is not the time to focus on an important piece of work. So make that project the priority on tomorrow’s To Do list. In your last half hour, complete your current To Do list so that you are prepared for the next day’s meetings, any projects, and important deadlines. Check through work done in the day, and make sure everything has been completed, emailed, and posted. Finish your day with simpler tasks so that you feel yourself winding down, and clear your desk for morning.
Do something different on your commute if possible
If you are working at a screen all day, cycling is an ideal way to have a complete break from work and have some fresh air, especially if there are cycle tracks. If you take public transport, make extra time to walk to the next stop or get off the bus or train a stop early so that you can build up walking time, and a time to relax on your own to wind down before you arrive home. Take a book or magazine with you on public transport so that you are not connected to your phone. If you are driving on your commute, arrange to car share with someone else so that you can chat and share the driving stress during the week. If possible, take a different means of transport to break the routine.
At home, switch off your smartphone and your laptop
Unless you are on call, or it is urgent, such as a phone call from a different time zone, or it is absolutely essential for tomorrow morning, switch off your phone and laptop.
Use some physical energy
Everyone knows the psychological and physical benefits of taking exercise, and it is well worth making the time available to go on a daily run or a visit to the gym. You could arrange a tennis, badminton or squash match with a colleague or friend. Swimming with the family is an ideal way to have family time and relax, and it is an excellent physical activity. Add your exercise plan to your schedule so that it is written down to help you to build it into your daily habit.
Schedule your leisure activities
If you want to make time to join an activity or take exercise, put it in your diary. If you are taking an evening class this will be scheduled at a certain time each week so do the same with any leisure activity. If it’s in the diary, you are committing yourself. You can also schedule family leisure activities so that everyone is available – a movie night in with popcorn or sweets, a football game at the park or everyone helping with a barbecue. Make sure this is scheduled so that you can all be involved and have family time.
Take some time to read a book
Reading can reduce stress levels by 68 per cent, according to the University of Sussex research in 2009. The subjects only needed to read, silently, for six minutes to slow down their heart rate and ease tension in their muscles, and it was even found to lower their stress levels during the actual activity. Dr. David Lewis who led the research said at the time: “This is more than merely a distraction, but an active engaging of the imagination as the words on the printed page stimulate your creativity and cause you to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness.” Take some time to discover new authors, new subjects, or immerse yourself into that fantasy world you’ve been saying you haven’t the time for!
Prepare and enjoy eating healthy meals
Scheduling a healthy meal to cook and eat together with your partner/family/friends/flatmate a couple of times of week will enable you to build a healthy eating habit. By planning to cook (and remember to write it down in your diary) you need to shop for the ingredients, or order your groceries which, in turn, will help you plan your healthy eating for the rest of the week. Eating healthily will have a positive physical impact, and sitting down with company to enjoy a cooked meal will boost your social and psychological wellbeing.
By giving yourself “Me time” that is separate from your ‘Work time’, you are investing in yourself both mentally and physically and enabling you to be the very best version of yourself, and to enjoy participating fully in all areas of your life.