Separating work thoughts from free time is an essential skill that assures greater well-being. Here are some strategies to feel less stressed and switch off from professional matters while resting.
The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou
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During his TED Talk titled "How To Turn Off Work Thoughts During Your Free Time," Guy Winch, psychologist, and speaker, explained the best way to enjoy life out of the office. After accomplishing the work of his dreams, Winch realized he wasn't happy. The reason? Because he spent many hours thinking about work when he was home.
Even though he closed his office door every day, the door in his head remained open. As a consequence, Winch was very stressed. According to the speaker, people are too busy to experience work stress during the day, so they deal with it during their free time.
Here, free time plays an essential role since it allows us to enjoy and de-stress.
Many people spend hours obsessing about tasks they didn't complete or stressing over tensions with a colleague. Not turning off work thoughts during free time disrupts our ability to recharge and recover. Between the consequences, Winch highlights making unhealthy food choices, having a bad mood, and not sleeping well.
Thinking about work all day can cause emotional damage. The expert recommends not to reply to an email during the weekend or free time; instead, do it the following day. Thinking of all unfinished tasks feels urgent, but maybe it is not.
When Winch felt burnout, he decided to write a journal for a week and document how much time he spent thinking about work. He found out that he couldn't fall asleep peacefully or enjoy his free time because of that.
How To Enjoy Free Time Without Thinking About Work?
The psychologist recommends the following strategy. The first one is to clear guardrails, which means it's up to you when switching off work thoughts. You can choose an hour and stick to it. For Winch, he was done at 8 pm every day.
Then, switch off email notifications, and if you have to check them, decide the best moment to do it, so it doesn't interfere with your free time. It would help if you established a clear boundary between home and work. Once you've done it physically, do it mentally.
Secondly, define work and nonwork times and spaces. Here's how to do that:
-Define a work zone in your home and only attend professional matters there.
-When working from home, wear the clothes you would wear at your office. By doing this, you can program your brain to rest every time you put on your PJs or casual clothing.
-Use music and lighting to shift the atmosphere from work to home.
Finally, the expert recommends converting work thoughts into practical forms of thinking. A great example of it it's problem-solving.
Quality time should be used with loved ones or doing activities that brings us joy. We shouldn't let work interfere with our most precious moments. If you are trying to relax or do things you love and find meaningful, enjoy the moment and don't let anything or anyone get in your way.
Instead of completing all the tasks throughout the day, post-pone it as a problem to be solved. Fit the pending things that are troubling you into a schedule. By this, you'll start living well, more healthily and happily.