Are you finding that when you have a problem at work or are having a stressful day, you tend to bring that problem home with you? Is this resulting in you feeling irritable, anxious or sad and that you tend to take these emotions out on those around you or find yourself being unable to sleep at night?
Having the ability to “switch off” once you’ve finished a working day is often not easy. In fact, studies have found that 38.7% of Australian workers find it difficult to switch off after work. Not being able to find that perfect work-life balance can cause serious psychological and even physiological issues.
However, there are some simple steps you can take in your life in order to switch off, helping you to achieve a healthier work-life balance.
Avoid your mobile phone
How often have you been on your phone after work and thought to yourself “Maybe I’ll just follow up on some emails quickly”? This may seem harmless, but can easily result in you finding yourself in work mode and struggling to switch off.
There are many ways you can help yourself limit the time spent on your phone dealing with work related issues after you have finished for the day. Try setting your phone to Do Not Disturb after a certain time at night so you don’t receive notifications. Alternatively, if you wish to still receive messages from non-work sources, you can mute your work emails or chat instead. Also try and set some time before bed to avoid your phone altogether to help yourself unwind.
The practice of avoiding your phone at night after work won’t just help from getting out of the work mindset, but the removal of a blue light source will also improve your sleeping pattern and help you get a better night’s rest.
Exercising after work can do absolute wonders for both your physiological and psychological wellbeing. Apart from the obvious health benefits involved with regular exercise, you will also find yourself unconsciously relating the exercise with having finished work and you will be able to relax easily afterwards. Exercising also releases endorphins in your brain, meaning you’ll go home after work feeling happier and much less stressed.
The key to making sure this stays effective is that you maintain a regular exercise routine. Explore different exercises until you find one that you enjoy, whether it’s a brisk walk or swimming a few laps in the pool. If you live close to work, try riding a bike or jogging home.
Find a hobby
There’s no better way to unwind than doing something you love. Find a creative activity you thoroughly enjoy and use it as a way to relax after work. It could be a sport, reading, puzzles, fishing, running – anything that requires your full attention. If the hobby can involve a friend or family member, it’s even better!
The creative thinking involved with many hobbies will not only help you switch off, but could in fact help you solve a difficult problem you’re having at work as well. When performing these tasks, you use ‘lateral thinking’ which can lead to a breakthrough in completely different areas of your life.
Create a list of what you need to do the next day
You may find yourself struggling to switch off after work because you’re too stressed about the amount of work you still have to complete and you may even work extra hours at home to catch up. However, a lot of the time this stress can be avoided by writing a simple to-do list for the following day.
Actively going through all the jobs you still need to complete and seeing them written down can alleviate stress and also help you realise that you may not have as much work as you initially thought. You may also find it useful to rank the items on your list by priority or urgency. So take 5 minutes before you finish the day to plan out tomorrow and you’ll be able to switch off much easier.
Alternatively, you could create tasks for yourself and your staff through a third party app – there’s no better feeling than ticking something off of your list. Our comprehensive job management system, Trade Trak, can provide a platform for you to not only do this, but manage your jobs in full. Contact us here or email us directly at email@example.com if you would like to find out more about our system and how it can help you.
Limit “work chat” at home
There’s no better listeners than family and friends. They’re often the first ones you want to discuss problems with and can provide an outside opinion on issues you’re having at work. While this can sometimes be constructive, it can often be detrimental to discuss work issues at home because not only can it throw you right back into that negative mindset, but it can also be tiring for your family and friends.
Set rules for how much work chat you engage in at home, for example, limit your debrief time to at the dinner table. Keep the amount you talk about work issues to a minimum, or perhaps even make sure you talk about as many positive experiences you had at work as negative. Not only will you find it much easier to switch off by limiting work chat, your family and friends will thank you.
Find your bedtime routine
The area often most affected by not being able to switch off after work is your sleep. You may find yourself laying awake all night stressing about a work problem that is only exacerbated because you’re too tired to effectively deal with it the next day.
The best way to avoid this is setting yourself a bedtime routine. Have a warm shower, drink some tea, read a book etc. Whatever you find helps relax you before bed. Most importantly, avoid screens before bed and make sure you’re trying to sleep at roughly the same time every night. Ending your day right will improve your mood and make you ready to tackle the day tomorrow.