Talking to a group of women recently about what they found particularly stressful the topic that was common to all was the difficultly in finding a way to disconnect from their busy day and restore their energy for the following day. Tiredness due to lack of sleep and overwhelm were common and the inability to find enough time in the day to complete all their tasks just added more worry. They felt the added pressure that work doesn't stop when we leave the workplace. Being plugged in 24/7 is not healthy for the mind or body and causes stress and anxiety.
While technology makes it easy for us to check our emails or messages outside of work, constantly being plugged in eventually takes it's toll on our quality of life, raising our anxiety and stress levels. Many people feel compelled to respond to work emails even outside their contracted working hours. It's become an ingrained habit for most of us and work-life boundaries have become increasingly blurred due to technology and is affecting our health, wellbeing, personal and family life.
This led me to think about how important it is to create a boundary between work and home. It's easy to say but we do need to be aware of the negative effects the blurring of boundaries is having on our quality of life. We have the ability to increase our resilience and wellbeing by learning to consciously unplug so that we can recharge and feel refreshed and energised to face whatever life throws our way.
Here are 10 ways to help unplug and recharge
1. Lay out your goals and prioritise tasks for the next day before you finish work. Getting into a routine the evening before can really help you to organise your priorities, helps stop procrastination and enables you to focus on getting things done more efficiently.
2. If you work at home, set a time to stop working and close the door. If you work away from home decide to leave at the same time everyday. Let others know what time you finish so if they can plan accordingly.
3. If you can walk part of the way home then choose to do so. Walking will help clear the mind and the change of environment will help distract you from your thoughts of work. If you drive, and find the commute stressful, do something to change your state of mind, listen to music that relaxes you rather than winds you up, sing to yourself or maybe listen to a story.
4. Put your phone away, preferably in another room, whilst eating your meal and spending the evening with family, friends or even when you are by yourself. Ask your partner, family or friends to do the same and enjoy conversing with each other.
5. Define yourself as something other than work. Take up a hobby, exercise or make time to share interests with your friends. Try something new and meet new people, join a book club, a mindfulness class or a netball team.
6. Develop your relationships outside the work environment. Supportive relationships outside work are invaluable to helping reduce stress. It's easy to miss seeing friends when you are so busy and tired but meeting now and again can rejuvenate and lift your spirits, after all they are probably all feeling the same way. Sharing and talking is a great way to reduce stress.
7. Allow yourself an hour to wind down before you go to bed. Put away your phone. Reading is a great way to lower stress, have a relaxing bath or learn to meditate. Keep a journal and If you have any worries write them down before you go to sleep and it will help you to stop overthinking.
8. Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning as the body and the brain likes routine. Sleep is the key to recharging our mind and body and sleep makes us better at everything.
9. The environment we sleep in is very important. Keep the room cool and dark. The darker the room the better the rest you will get as excess light from outside or gadgets can affect the quality of our sleep and disrupt the body's natural rhythm.
10. Do not keep your phone by your bed at night. You will be tempted to check it and the smartphone light tricks the brain into thinking its daytime. Avoid checking your emails early in the morning or late at night.
By consciously deciding to change our habits to unplug and recharge we can help reduce the effects of stress and improve our physical and mental wellbeing. Creating a routine can be very beneficial and increase our energy and mental wellbeing.
If you would like to find out more about ways to build your resilience and wellbeing I would love to hear from you.