November Wellness: Work-Life Integration

Tips for switching off after work

Having the ability to “switch off” after work can help prevent burnout and allow you to be more present in your personal life. Transitioning from work to home life can be challenging to do. This is especially true as remote work is becoming more common. The line between home and office often becomes blurry. You might find yourself thinking about work tasks when you are trying to relax or spend time with friends and family. Consider these tips to help you disconnect at the end of the workday.

Leave work at work. If your job allows it, silence or turn off work- related features such as email or phone calls when you are not at work. Even something as simple as checking a work email after hours can cause your mind to wander back to work and make it more difficult to disconnect.

Develop healthy coping strategies. Choose coping skills that you can regularly utilize at the end of every workday. What can help you mentally transition to vour home life? A few examples include meditation, breathing exercises, or calling a friend or family member at the end of the workday.

Practice mindfulness. Regularly engaging in a mindfulness activity such as meditation or journaling can help ground you in the present moment. A simple mindfulness exercise might involve closing your eyes for a few minutes and focusing on your breath as you inhale and exhale. Mindfulness also fosters acceptance and non-judgment. This can be helpful when you inevitably find yourself having thoughts
about work from time to time.

Redefine your workspace. If you work remotely, develop a space in your home that is designed specifically for work and nothing else. Likewise, try not to work in spaces that are designed for other purposes. For example, avoid working in your bed, at your kitchen table, or in your living room where you relax.

Switching off after the workday can be tough. Consistently practicing some of these suggestions might make it a little easier. Try to remember that you aren’t alone, and you can always reach out for help. If you find yourself struggling with stress or other mental health concerns, talk with a healthcare provider about treatment options that are right for you.

It’s okay to Take a Break

Your job requires a lot from you. You’re doing all you can to manage the heavy workload and complete your projects on time while balancing your home life. Days, weeks, even months of endless to-do lists can make you feel overwhelmed and stressed. Breathe. Don’t forget, it’s acceptable to take a break.

Taking intentional breaks from work can improve your physical and mental health. Here are five benefits you get when you plan work breaks better:

  1. Improved physical health – Taking reasonable breaks can decrease your stress, which can improve your heart health. A consistent and ongoing increase in heart rate, and the elevated levels of stress hormones and blood pressure, can take a toll on the body. If you take care of your stress, your physical health may improve.
  2. Improved mental health/mood – Ongoing stress can impact your brain, too. Your brain needs time and space away from stressful environments so
    it can renew itself and heal. One way you can do this is by setting time outside of work to rest and unwind. You may also do this by ensuring you are taking attainable breaks throughout the day to assess your stress levels.
  3. Increased motivation/productivity – Your passion and focus for work may increase after taking some time off or taking a short break. A recent study concluded that employees who took time off were significantly more productive thanthose who spent more time working. They also noted that employees reported decreased stress while performing daily tasks after taking time off compared to before taking time off.
  4. Improved relationships – Enjoy quality time with friends and family. Spending time with loved ones deepens the bond you have with them. Even taking time to spend by yourself doing things you enjoy can increase your self-confidence.
  5. Improved sleep – Sleep helps your brain process the mental and emotional information you take in each day. Taking time to focus on your sleep patterns gives your mind and body the rest and relaxation it desperately needs. Getting enough rest helps you think more clearly and improves your memory skills, making it easier to focus when you transition to and from work.

Making time to intentionally rest and focus on self- care may improve your physical and mental health. Whether you plan a vacation or plan more intentional breaks, it may increase your work motivation and benefit the relationships around you.

Feeling burned out? Try this 15-minute mindfulness practice. Wake up your mind and body with this 10-minute morning yoga routine. Read this article to learn more about signs of burnout.

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