The Importance of Switching Off (And How To Do It)
Author: Stephanie Atzamoglou
Published date: 2018/09
Our working lives are often so mentally and emotionally consuming that we have a tendency stay in ‘go’ mode all day, erryday! I think we’re all guilty of letting our professional lives seep into our personal ones, and can easily forget where one stops and the other starts. I personally have a terrible habit of checking my work emails any time of day or night – not exactly ideal when I’m trying to enjoy a nice night out or spending time with my loved ones.
As humans looking for career success, we often come up with reasons to justify our actions. This is something that is prevalent across a number of industries, but definitely in sales. For the sales professional, our livelihood is generally based around our billings and if we don’t hit those numbers, we’re going to hear about it. So we stay in work mode all the time ‘just in case’ that client calls, or because you’re trying to get a deal over the line.
The truth is though, this shouldn’t matter. You’re not paid to do your profession 24/7, 365 days a year. Don’t get me wrong, I truly love my job in recruitment, my desk and the company I work for, but my job doesn’t define who I am as person beyond work. It’s so important to switch off from our roles because we need the time to rejuvenate our thoughts and just feel carefree without stress.
Finding a way to switch your mind & body off from work mode is crucial because it gives us an opportunity to focus on the things that genuinely make us happy. Taking the time to focus your energy on things other than work can provide you with the balance and clarity that truly puts life into perspective. Whether it’s something small like reading a book or going for a walk in a picturesque place, you need to find a way to let go of the day and just enjoy life beyond your emails and office.
When you find your own way of switching off, you’re giving your mind and body the chance to recover and recuperate. I know that if I don’t make a conscious effort to turn off from ‘work mode’, after a few days I start to get a nervous twitch in my left eye! Not really ideal when I work in an environment that involves being in front of people all day. Everyone is different though, so you may have a physical response, or it may be a psychological one. Either way, it’s very important to identify what triggers your response and work to alleviate it before it becomes too much of a problem.
If you know that you need to find a way to wind down but are a bit unsure where to start, here are four strategies I use to take myself from ‘Work Steph’ to ‘Life Steph.’ Perhaps they might work for you too!
Put the phone away
In this day and age we’re so connected to our devices that it can be hard to be away from them. But it’s a double-edged sword because they also tie us 24/7 to our working lives. The constant pinging of notifications, calls and emails can drive our anxiety to code red levels. Have the strength to put the phone away outside of working hours, even if it’s only for an hour or two while you sit down to dinner with your family, partner or friends. Your loved ones – and your mental health – will thank you for it.
Get some fresh air
The benefits of inhaling a little oxygen are well-documented! Our working lives can be busy and we are often cloistered in stuffy, corporate office environments that make us feel trapped and bogged down in busywork. But every chance we get we should take ourselves outside and breathe some fresh air. It will immediately help you de-stress, improve your mental clarity, and get you away from your desk! Bonus points if you can sneak in a little exercise – good for the mind AND body.
Find a hobby that you can get lost in
The best way anyone can switch off from work is to do something completely unrelated! If there is something you absolutely love doing, schedule in some time to do it regularly. Perhaps you like painting or pottery, maybe you love to cook, or you want to write a novel…whatever it is, find that thing you love that makes you forget where and who you are. It will energise you, and give you an incentive to step away from work.
Get your friends and family to hold you accountable
The new ‘Anti-Work Mode’ you won’t be successful if you find yourself regularly slipping back into old habits. If you’ve committed to leaving your phone in another room while you eat dinner, or spending time on your new hobby for an hour every night, tell people that’s what you want to do – and get them to hold you to it! If the phone makes a sneaky appearance at the table during Wednesday night family dinner, give your partner / kids / friends / housemate permission to take it off you and hide it!
All in all, you’re responsible for your own success, so work hard absolutely! But success is not limited to how many sales you make or deals you do, it has just as much, if not more, to do with how healthy and happy you are as an individual and in your relationships. Don’t forget to take that ‘me time’ and put your hard-won energy into things that make YOU happy and help you unwind.