Health and Wellness

Time to Unplug: 5 Ways to Disconnect From Work After Hours

Having a healthy work-life balance is important to mental and physical health. It’s also a major part of maintaining and nurturing relationships with the people around you–whether it be family, friends or roommates. For many of us, it’s easy to bring our work home with us, which can lead to increased feelings of pressure and stress, preventing you from getting the much-needed downtime that you deserve. If you find yourself struggling to disconnect from work, even on the weekends, you should try giving some of these tips a try, like picking up diamond painting as a new hobby or specifically making plans after work to get yourself out of the office. Whatever works for you! Just remember that you deserve time to relax, too.

  1. Plan Your Workload Out on Monday

Sometimes, our inclination to overwork ourselves is due to a lack of proper planning. At the end of the week, you find yourself scrambling to finish all of your priorities and you end up staying at the office well past designated hours. Or, you find yourself on the couch all week trying to wrap up that final project. The best way to avoid these scenarios is through better planning. At the beginning of the week, carefully outline all of the tasks and projects that you’re responsible for and note specific deadlines that might fall during that week. Take the time to plan out how you can accomplish each task before the end of the week to allow yourself some at home me-time.

If you feel as though too much is being put on your plate, don’t be afraid to say something. You’re only one person. It’s understandable that you can’t take on every project that comes across your boss’s desk. Let him or her know that you’re at your limit for the week to avoid overworking yourself and getting workplace fatigue.

  1. Don’t Answer Emails Outside of Work Hours

This is surprisingly a tough tip for the workaholics out there. Because we have our phones, computers and tablets around us almost 24/7, it’s easy to simply tap your email application icon every time you sit down to scroll through your phone–but staying in tune with your work email constantly means that you’re never really disconnecting. Make it your policy to never answer emails outside of work hours. Believe us, that email can wait for a response until 8 a.m. the next morning. In fact, research shows that companies that expect their employees to answer emails round the clock are actually hurting their own staff. After-hours emails have been linked with a noticeable decrease in job performance and an increased risk of health issues.

  1. Find a Hobby You Enjoy

When you have an activity that you want to do after work, you’re much more likely to put your job-related thoughts aside and focus on your hobby. This gives you something to look forward to and encourages that work and home life separation. Your hobby can be anything that you’re interested in, but many people find that arts and crafts are particularly helpful in focusing their minds and unwinding from work. If you don’t already have a hobby in mind, you can experiment and find something that you enjoy like diamond painting or jewelry-making. As a way to transition from work to home, try breaking out your project immediately after work. Crafts have actually been proven to help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, so this could be a good way to cool off after work before getting into your evening routine.

  1. Focus on Health and Wellness

Part of health and wellness is having a healthy work-life balance. Too much of anything isn’t good–even exercise. It’s all about balance. Working during every hour of the day will heighten feelings of stress while relaxing too much can incite feelings of further laziness. To help keep yourself in check, you should devise a nutrition and workout routine that works for you. Many people like to meal prep their lunches on Sunday nights to get ready for the week. You can try implementing this tactic to keep your lunches healthy and remind yourself to take breaks during the workday.

Exercise is another important element in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking your mind off work. You can hit the gym or go for a run before or after work, depending on your schedule and your preferred sleep patterns. Either way, your workout will set you up for success. Morning workouts can make you feel more alert and less stressed before heading to the office. Afternoon exercise can help blow off some of that steam and get you into the post-work mindset. Because exercise releases endorphins, it causes pleasant feelings, reducing your feelings of stress and also making it easier to fall asleep at night, which coincidentally also lowers stress.

  1. Make Plans After Work

For a workaholic, it can be tough to simply walk away from the computer when the clock hits 5 p.m. You’ll find all kinds of excuses to stay and finish up one more task. But, this isn’t healthy. You’re allowing your brain to be too consumed by work, chasing the idea that you’ll be able to get everything done if you could just stay another 30 minutes. Work will never really be done because you’ll always have a new task to work on. Instead, tell yourself that you are going to leave at the time you’re supposed to and make plans with a friend or family member, or even your trainer at the gym, so that you have to be held accountable for leaving the office and meeting your other obligations.

  1. Unplug and Unwind

Learning how to relax can actually be pretty difficult, especially if you’re accustomed to working long hours, but it’s important to give ourselves time away from our desk. Putting too much focus on your work is almost certainly going to cause anxiety and stress, which is why you need to start finding ways to ditch the emails after office hours and spend time relaxing or hitting the gym. Focusing on yourself keeps you healthy and actually makes you a better employee when it is time to get back to the office.

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