Many people today are stressed out from work. Companies have laid off people and so are expecting more from those who are left. There is always the pressure to perform, to increase productivity.
To regain some sense of composure and balance, it is important not to let work take over our lives. We need to separate or detach from work, to have down time, which is so necessary to recover and recharge and get ready to face the grind again.
But, in this day and age, it seems harder than ever to get this distance from our work. One of the primary reasons for this is technology. With tablets and smartphones, we can be connected to work 24 hours a day. Often, we are checking our email in the evening or on vacation. Work follows us everywhere through our devices.
Another reason for the lack of separation is related to appearances. No one wants to look like a slacker. We stay at work late or come in on weekends just to show our drive and dedication to getting the job done — and to impress our supervisors.
But the cost of not detaching is clearly greater than the benefits. First, there is the toll it takes on our bodies and minds when we are constantly working or thinking about work. We run ourselves down both physically and mentally by not allowing our bodies and minds to recharge. Another consequence of being on call 24 hours a day is that we don’t make time for our family and friends. We deny ourselves the physical, mental and emotional benefits of interaction with them.
Clearly, we need to detach. The problem is figuring out how to do it. Fortunately, this is not too difficult. Here are a few simple ways.
2. Learning new things, like a language
3. Taking up a hobby
4. Reading for pleasure
6. Family activities
There are others. It really doesn’t matter what you do to detach. What is important is that you give your full energy and attention to what you are doing, without thinking about work. For that reason, you should turn off your electronic devices as well.
Another important aspect of detachment is setting boundaries. In other words, you need to set times when work is simply off limits and then stick to those times. Now, there may be exceptions for emergencies, but they should be for emergencies only.