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10 Ways to Unplug from Work—And Why It’s Important


Hispanic woman writing in her diary

Hispanic woman writing in her diary

Do you have a hard time powering down your phone after hours? You may be putting both your productivity and health at risk.

Studies have shown that time away from work can reduce stress, encourage creative thinking, ward off depression, and even prevent heart attacks. So the next time you feel like checking your email late at night, try one of these suggestions instead:

1.      Switch off alerts. Experts say stress hormone levels are heightened when we’re always being pinged. Limit tech interruptions and take back your time and mental energy.

2.      Put it away. You may feel like your phone, tablet, or laptop is an appendage, rather than a tool. Put it in a drawer or on a shelf after work hours.

3.      Create a plan. If you’re ready for a break, plan how you are going to spend your time. Without a plan, work creeps back in more easily.

4.      Do something different. A novel activity such as a new hobby or sporting event can help shift your focus. You’ll learn something unrelated to work and come back refreshed.

5.      Practice saying “no.” Once you’ve scheduled a vacation, do everything you can to make it stick. This might mean postponing a project or rescheduling meetings.

6.      Take a nonworking lunch. Invite a friend to lunch and talk about anything but work for a change.

7.      Remember that you’re you. Resist overidentifying with your job. Remember what makes you unique and worthy apart from what you do or earn.

8.      Daydream. Wherever you are, turn your phone facedown and spend five minutes thinking of a time that made you happy.

9.      Set rules. It may be hard at first, but set aside time for individual and friend/family activities that do not include work.

10.  Go for a walk. This can be at lunch or after work. Notice your surroundings. The resulting stress relief will even help you sleep better.

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