15 Sep How to switch off after work
Having one of those weeks? Work deadlines snapping at your heels? We’ve all been there. So, in our next handy ‘how to’ guide, we’re sharing how to switch off after work – something which has become paradoxically more difficult, yet more essential than ever.
Technology and the workplace stress dilemma
There is no doubt that technology has streamlined the modern workplace. No longer do we need vast filing cabinets or fax machines – we store our files in the Cloud and can send pages of documents at the click of a button. All these platforms and “solutions” are designed to make our lives easier and work less stressful. But is that really the case? Has the advent of technological advancement in business led to a us fulfilling a better work:life balance than in the past?
No, in fact, quite the opposite. We may be equipped with more tools to take on the working day, but the line between work and leisure time has become so blurred that we don’t know when to put the tools down. Work stress is nothing new, but the way technology has changed work place interaction has added a new dimension. We are communicating across multiple platforms at once; email, text, instant message, video chat, phone. These create constant distractions which ebb away at our productivity. Leaving the office also no longer symbolises leaving work behind you for the evening or weekend as our emails are right there in our pockets, begging to be checked. Studies have shown that new, high expectations to respond to work emails after hours can lead to chronic stress and emotional exhaustion, as we never properly disengage from work. If you feel it’s time to put your inbox in its place, rest your strained eyes and free up some space in your internal hard drive – we have just the tips for you.
How to switch off after work
#1 Take a screen break for an hour after getting home
Whatever you do, just do something different! It’s tempting to go home and turn the TV on straightaway, but it’s robbing your mind of important downtime to process your day. Plus, your tired eyes and aching head need a break from scrutinising screens. The best thing you could do to start unwinding? Stretch those aching bones and do some exercise. You’ll receive an endorphin and energy boost to make your evening feel more productive.
#2 Add a mindful activity to your routine
Mindfulness is one of the best ways to unplug after work. Not tried yoga? You’re missing out! It’s not just a fad trend, it gives you time to work out which thoughts and worries are important and which can wait. It helps you recognise which parts of your body are suffering from your daily desk posture, too.
If yoga isn’t for you, you can easily make everyday activities such as gardening or cooking into mindful experiences, by making them tech-free. Take a look at our mindful activities guide to get going.
#3 Set limits around checking your emails
We all have evenings where we need to meet a deadline, but it’s important to dedicate time in your day to not think about work. You could ban yourself from checking your emails after 8.30pm, for example. Ask yourself, is the company going to fall apart if I don’t reply to an email this evening? Chances are you’re replying to things that really can wait until the next morning.
#4 Prioritise sleep
We handle everything better after a good night’s sleep. And it’s not enough to try and get your 8 hours anymore. The tendency to use smartphones in bed and allow their alerts to wake us during the night means we’re finding it more difficult to get a quality night’s rest. And again, checking and worrying about that email last thing at night is counterproductive – what are you really going to be able to do in your pyjamas? So, do yourself a favour and banish your phone from your bedside table!
We hope our guide will help you find ways to switch off after the working day. Why not take a look at which entrepreneurs are fans of digital detox for more inspiration?