Many of us have become accustomed to lives filled with meetings, deadlines, to-do lists and over commitments, on top of everything within our personal lives. It’s not surprising then, that we often come home feeling fatigued, overworked and strained. So, if long days are inevitable, what can you do to recover at the end of each day?
WHY DO I NEED TO DISCONNECT FROM THE WORKDAY?
Just like your body needs time to recuperate after a hard workout, your mind needs time to unplug and reset from the workday. The benefits include:
- Better physical and mental health
- Lower rates of procrastination
- Reduced work-related fatigue
- A better work-life balance
HOW DO I PROPERLY DISCONNECT FROM WORK?
Build an after-work recovery routine – enabling you to unplug and reset.
SPEND TIME ALONE
Spending all day engaging with other people and taking part in collaborative activities can be draining. While no one likes to feel isolated, we all need some time alone to fully recover from our day and solitude can be one of the most powerful tools for disconnecting and recharging.
Whether it’s a few minutes or more, setting aside some time where you are alone and not distracted can help you disconnect:
- Take a longer route home
- Ask to be alone while you prep and cook dinner
- Go for a 15-minute walk post dinner
- Give yourself half-hour of quiet time before bed.
SPEND TIME ON A NEW HOBBY OR LEARN SOMETHING NEW
It might seem counter-intuitive that spending more effort on hobbies and learning will help you recover. Engaging in activities you enjoy (and that challenge you) is an essential element of psychologically detaching from work.
- Schedule time for your hobbies in advance
- Limit other activities that use up your time after work
REPLACE YOUR LATE-NIGHT SCREEN HABITS
Screens have become so ingrained in our lives that we don’t even realise we’re using them. It can be difficult to limit usage within the work setting but we can step away from them to create a different environment at home in our off-work hours.
Try replacing the phone or tablet beside your bed with a book you’ve been meaning to read or complete a series of crosswords or puzzles.
CREATE A SHUT DOWN RITUAL
Between work, family duties and other obligations we don’t often have much control over our time. Being able to control even just some of the time at the end of the day can be both liberating and restorative.
A shut down ritual is a reminder that you’re in control of your time, no matter what you did during the rest of the day. By creating your own ritual, one that focuses on control and positivity, you’re essentially rewriting every day with a happy ending. Your closing ritual is up to you but a few options to consider include:
- Writing your to do list for the next day
- Cleaning down your open browsers and work station
- Setting out clothes for the following day
- Reflecting on your day and writing in a journal
You may feel powerless and unable to change certain aspects of your occupation, but you can make changes to help you recover from your long days. Take the time to mentally and physically recover and you will be setting yourself up to be both happier and healthier.
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