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Image / Editorial

Five tips to really help you switch off when you leave the office


by Jennifer McShane
16th May 2019
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A new working day has begun, but already some of us are happily anticipating leaving the office to unwind after a busy few hours. At the end of each working day, you should be looking forward to catching up on R&R. However, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to leave their working day at their desks come 6 PM. The scenario: You’re just about to sit down when your phone’s all-too-familiar beep distracts you. Four unread work emails are demanding your attention, silently rebuking you for not opening them immediately. You want to ignore them, but your stomach begins to feel uneasy – what if it’s a job-related emergency? So, you answer each one, already planning your next three meetings even though your working day is technically over. This likely takes a good half-hour of your evening, and you find yourself worrying about the potential pitfalls that may occur over the next few days.

Related: ‘I’m constantly afraid I won’t earn enough to live’

We know it’s better to switch off; that we need to. This is important because women, in particular, are prone to suffering from work-related stress; more than half of 750 women surveyed said they obsess over work – even when they’re off the clock. With this in mind, here are five ways to help you leave your work at the office door:

Mentally prepare for the end of the day

When you bring work home, the chances are that you are thinking about that e-mail you didn’t send or everything you have to do tomorrow, and the rest of the week. Before you leave work, clean up your desk. A clutter free desk (inbox, computer, etc.) helps to clear your mind and is a great way of leaving the day behind you. Remember, you can start again tomorrow.

Log out of email accounts (in work and on your phone)

What you don’t know won’t hurt you or anyone else – no one is going to pass out over a few unanswered emails and if you log out on your mobile, you can quell the temptation to check throughout the evening.

Become a ‘tourist’ on your way home

It’s common to live on autopilot when you’re going about your routine. But this also means missing a lot of the beauty that could be around you. One IMAGE member once told me has a physical cut-off point each day; a particular street she walks past and once she reaches that point, she mentally clocks out, no matter how stressful a day that’s been had. Also, if you work from home and your commute consists of going from your office to the living room, then consider taking a short walk. On your walk, you also can play tourist and look around you with fresh eyes.

Start to wind down during your commute

Do what you love on the way home, this will ensure you start the?process of winding down. It could be listening to some music, scanning some news or reading an engrossing book to get your mind off the day and any unpleasantness associated with it.

It’s down to you to be firm 

In the end, leaving work behind, mentally and physically, is down to you. You have to want to do it, decide to do it, then do it and keep on doing it until it becomes the norm. Slowing down and clearing your mind of the leftovers from the day is an act of will. Guess what? It will all still be there in the morning. Forgetting about it for an evening doesn’t mean the business will go bust or that you’ll lose your job – remember that the next time you’re fretting.

Main photograph: Pexels


More like this: 

  • Your office job could be ruining your health, here’s why (and how to combat it)… here
  • ‘A few tears at the office and I’m perceived as hysterical’… here
  • What you need to know (the good and bad) before you go freelance… here

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