How to switch off from work

Reading time: 11 minutes

If you want to become a better performer then you need to start taking time to look after your physical and mental health.

Being able to switch off from work is an important factor which can not only aide with physical rest and recovery but can also promote positive wellbeing.

If you feel you are becoming overwhelmed with work worries when you go home or struggle to get to sleep at night, use the following tips to help you switch off.

  1. Have a wind down period – Have a transition period between work and home. If you walk, drive, cycle or commute to work on a bus, train or tram use your journey home to switch off. Make it your aim that when you get home you will be relaxed. If it helps have a physical cue e.g. when I get in the car I’m done. Or set a point at which you will switch off – “by the time I get to that roundabout or that station I’m thinking about home”
  2. Relaxation techniques – Find a relaxation technique which works for you. Progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing and meditation are great techniques to learn and use to help reduce physiological and psychological arousal. Do a specific activity that helps your mind and body relax.
  3. Minimise work distractions – Turn off your work phone and emails. Tell your colleagues what you’re doing and why. Explain that it will help you be better. You may even become a leader or role model to others! Don’t take your phone or laptop into the bedroom. If you do work at home in the evening switch off well before bedtime and set boundaries for yourself.
  4. Exercise – Many people find some exercise or activity to be really helpful. This could be walking, running/jogging, a sport, a gym, an exercise class or something at home. Something is better than nothing! Lots of people report that they do their best thinking – or no thinking – when they’re active or moving in some way
  5. Take action – Don’t just stew on something. Make a plan of what you can actually do to move things forward. Anxiety is worry without action. So act!
  6. Talk to others – Talk to family or friends about what’s on your mind. Build a positive support network who can help you to solve problems.
  7. Give it a go – Try any or all of these tips for a while. Don’t expect them to work straight away or perfectly. Try them for a while. Be realistic about how long you might take to get them working. Adapt them to work for you.