Planning a festive trip to London this year? These hotels really know how to do Christmas
Planning a festive trip to London this year? These hotels really know how to do...

Sarah Finnan

16 great prints and posters to add some life to your walls
16 great prints and posters to add some life to your walls

Megan Burns

‘Mummy has cancer’: How to talk to children about a parent’s diagnosis
‘Mummy has cancer’: How to talk to children about a parent’s diagnosis

Amanda Cassidy

15 dogs who are costume-ready for Halloween
15 dogs who are costume-ready for Halloween

Grace McGettigan

Bringing unsexy back: putting the freaky back into Halloween
Bringing unsexy back: putting the freaky back into Halloween

Jessie Collins

15 Halloween make-up looks from Instagram’s top MUAs
15 Halloween make-up looks from Instagram’s top MUAs

Grace McGettigan

The importance and benefits of alone time
The importance and benefits of alone time

Niamh Ennis

The best street style from Paris Fashion Week
The best street style from Paris Fashion Week

Holly O'Neill

I spent the last month binging rom-coms on Netflix and Amazon Prime: Here are my 15 favourites
I spent the last month binging rom-coms on Netflix and Amazon Prime: Here are my...

Lauren Heskin

‘Last century’s witch is this century’s SL*T’ – Why unruly women will always be damned
‘Last century’s witch is this century’s SL*T’ – Why unruly women will always be damned

Geraldine Carton

Image / Editorial

Unable to ‘switch off’ during the summer holidays? This will help


by Jennifer McShane
25th Jul 2019
switch off

With summer comes the holidays and the gloriousness that is our Out of Office. But so many of us struggle to leave our work behind. So much so, the bulk of us never really do switch off. Career psychologist Sinéad Brady says learning Cognitive Shutdown is key if we are to feel rested over our annual leave. 


“Cognitive Shutdown is giving yourself permission to take the time that you need to rest, relax and recalibrate on a daily, weekly and monthly basis,” Sinéad explains.

“We need this skill because we have what I call ‘downtime guilt.’ This is an overt focus on a singular type of productivity and the feeling that we should always operate at 100%, always leaning in. This means any time off, time out or time pursuing other parts of life is considered as not being productive and should be coupled with a feeling of guilt.”

To combat this, Sinéad says we need to re-evaluate at how we view productivity, looking at it in a more multi-faceted way.

“Productivity is not just about getting things done it is about taking time out so that you recharge your batteries to be fit and healthy in body and mind to be the best version of yourself both personally and professionally.” 

“This means that sometimes the most productive thing you can do is take a break,” she continued.

Applying Cognitive Shutdown 

“Cognitive Shutdown is simple but takes time to put into practice. It is your way of signalling to your brain that it is time to switch from one part of your life to the other.”

“One really easy way of doing this is to have a different routine for going to work and a different routine coming home. On your morning commute, you might listen to the news, catch up on emails, make work-related calls, set out your results list, write your to-do list and name your not to do list, or read the news headlines. On your way home, you alter your routine making it a non-negotiable promise to yourself that you will begin to wind down on the commute home. Listen to a funny podcast, make a call to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, perhaps get off a stop earlier every evening, or turn off email notifications. ?

“The key thing here is that you shift the focus on your way home to send the message to your brain that a different part of your day now begins.”

Using your holidays properly

If you have been practising Cognitive Shutdown on a regular basis, you should be able to switch off pretty quickly from work and go on holidays, according to Sinéad.

To help with this, the week before you go on holidays:

  1. Never start a new project.
  2. As you approach your holidays, make sure that you are handing over vital information to your team or colleagues so that your work is continued while you are away.
  3. Write your out of office at the start of the week. In it, clearly say that you will not be responding to emails while you are away.
  4. Create a results list for yourself. Forget a to-do-list. Be razor sharp in your focus outlining the 3 things that you are going to get a result in the week before you go on holidays. Be clear with yourself that you are not going to do everything instead give yourself permission to get the highest priority tasks completed.
  5. If you have the courage to do it, switch out your phone for a basic phone that has no WiFi that way you cannot be tempted.
  6. The one thing I would also say is that if you are a leader in an organisation, encourage your people to make no contact with emails or the office during their time off. Lead by example and while you are on your breaks don’t engage.

“As a society, unless we begin to change the way we work to suit the needs of our knowledge-based workforce burnout, stress, depression will reign supreme at the cost of an engaged workforce. ”


Main photograph: Unsplash

Read more: What to do when your career goes to plan but you’re still not happy

Read more: Five Irish businesswomen weigh in on the so-called ‘work-life balance’

Read more: Your office job could be ruining your health, here’s why (and how to combat it)

Also Read

houseplants
EDITORIAL
5 houseplants we guarantee you can keep alive

For those who buy houseplants with the best of intentions and end up killing them, here’s a selection you’ll be...

By Hannah Hillyer

blank
premium EDITORIAL
Business Club members get your complimentary tickets to The IMAGE Business Summit 2021

Don’t miss this year’s IMAGE Business Summit, with an expert line-up, skills masterclasses, keynote addresses and more.Back by popular demand,...

By Shayna Sappington

Keith-_-Tara_130_Web Shantanu Starick painting kitchen cabinets
EDITORIAL
How to limit drips and brush strokes while painting kitchen cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can be transformative and can be achieved relatively low-cost, but you need the right equipment, and a lot of...

By Amanda Kavanagh

Mandy Moore pumping
EDITORIAL
Mandy Moore climbed an active volcano at dawn… while pumping

Hiking a mountain and breast pumping – now, that’s what we call multitasking at its finest. Mandy Moore enjoyed an...

By Sarah Finnan

brain
EDITORIAL
8 easy ways to keep your brain healthy that you can do right now

Your brain health is just as important as that of the rest of your body, says psychologist and neuroscientist Dr...

By IMAGE

blank
EDITORIAL
Sarah Harding’s heartbroken mum announces the singer’s death aged just 39

Sarah Harding has died at the age of just 39, her heartbroken mother revealed today. The Girls Aloud star had...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
Attending multiple weddings this year? How to save money as a guest

These days, going to a wedding is the equivalent of going on a short holiday in terms of cost. From...

By Jennifer McShane