Why It's Important To Switch Off After Work

Sunday, February 14, 2021

 We must learn to switch off after work despite how passionate we may be about our jobs to protect our health and wellbeing as much as possible. Everyone has stressful elements to their jobs. Many people take those stresses and work home with them, now more than ever with homeworking. It can lead to a night of unpaid work filled with discredit. Here's why you should switch off after work and how you can separate your home life from work.

You Can Harm Your Mental Health

Mental health and the inability to switch off after work often go hand in hand. When we are stressed, we find ourselves thinking more and more about the thing that makes us stressed. If you don't develop a healthy balance between work and home life, you're going to hate what you do. 

In one school I worked at, we had such a heavy workload that I would spend hours in the evenings and over weekends trying to chip away at my to-do list. After a few months of this, I began to develop work-related anxiety. This is in no way healthy. I found the moment I left that job and subsequently learnt to manage my workload a little better. I no longer felt such intense negative emotions. I'm not suggesting that switching off after work eradicates any mental health issues. However, putting your work in a box for the weekend can help you to ease the anxieties.

It Can Affect Your Physical Health

Your mental health can impact your physical health too. Stress is known to cause many physical problems, including digestion issues, sexual issues, and pain. These symptoms don't include the general fatigue that overworking can cause. Your mental health is important, but so is your physical health. Overworking yourself can also lead to illness.

You might have heard the phrase burnout, where your body feels like it’s simply shutting down. People often experience this when they are overloaded with work or take on too many tasks. When people continue to work for long periods, they can be at risk of exhaustion, increased heart rate, over or under eating, and consuming excess alcohol. This exhaustion can also mean having to take time off work, affecting income and mental health further. 

Your Relationships May Change

Making the decision to switch off after work could do wonders for our relationships. There’s nothing worse than meeting up with friends or family, and all the other person does is talk shop. Keep work talk short and sweet to avoid it droning on. Nobody wants to hear a 3-hour rant about work. Working all hours of the day puts your social life at risk. 

Keeping work at work means you spend more quality time with the people you care about. It could be friends, family, or even your children, improving your relationships with each of them. You can focus on them and their lives, without the dark cloud of work lingering over you.

Ways to switch off after work

Work impacts a lot of areas of life. Work takes up most of our day, so winding down afterwards can be difficult when you're struggling for ideas. There are so many ways to practise self-care and relax after a stressful day at work. Here are some ideas that you could try:

DIY Home Spa

After a stressful week, you could create a little DIY spa night. Start off with a foot bath using essential oils, or even apple cider vinegar. This helps to calm down any swelling in your feet. Then, run a bath with your favourite bubble bath, bath bomb, or oils, light a couple of candles, and switch on a podcast or playlist. You might even treat yourself to a glass of wine or fancy hot chocolate. 
A DIY spa can be really easy to do, and affordable too. Most of the things you need are already around your home, so you don't have to go out after work to pick up bits. If you're wanting to try an at-home spa, here are some of my favourite things to do:

  • Watch your favourite film or tv series
  • Enjoy a meal and treat yourself to something different
  • Indulge in your favourite snacks and treats
  • Take a warm shower or bath
  • Treat yourself to some new beauty products or clothes
  • Moisturise your skin and take care of the things you sometimes neglect
  • Brush your hair and pin it up
  • Paint your nails with pretty designs

Try A New Hobby

Hobbies are easy to pick up and gives your mind time to relax while doing something you love. Perhaps, you want to start a hobby that would support your career, like learning sign language. Maybe painting or crafts is something on your list of activities to try. Hobbies give you mental stimulation without the looming shadow of it being work. Many activities release positive hormones, like endorphins which keep you happy. Some people feel that hobbies are a distraction, but they are also beneficial to your mental health. Here are some benefits of hobbies:

  • Hobbies give you time to relax and destress
  • Hobbies allow you to learn new skills and try different experiences
  • Some will give you a new source of income
  • You have the opportunity to meet some new people
  • They can help you to improve your confidence
  • Hobbies allow you to express your feelings and creativity
  • It's proven to help boost your memory 

Keep work at work

The easiest way to switch off after work is by making sure you keep work at work. Turn off your work phone out of hours, uninstall your work email app from your phone, stay later in your workplace rather than lugging documents home to look at. Keep your working environment away from your home and comfort areas. With the lockdown, many people are working from home. I worked in my bedroom for a while, but this ended up affecting my mental health. 

Keeping one area as a designated workspace allows you to maintain your home being a home, a place of love, comfort, and relaxation. You would advise your children or siblings against doing homework on their bed, so take your own advice! It's better to set up a small desk in the kitchen or create a home office than to taint an area of the house you associate with relaxation. For example, bedrooms and living rooms are places of comfort and enjoyment. Why would you work there? 

The pandemic has made it increasingly hard to switch off after work. While we may want to finish that task or impress our boss, it's not worth impacting your mental health over. Winding down after work is beneficial to improving your mental health. There are so many other ways to improve your mental health. If you're looking for more ideas, here are over 50 ways to practise self-care! What are your favourite hobbies and relaxation activities? I'd love to hear what you do to switch off after work and how it helps you thrive! 

About The Guest Writer:

Georgia, who runs the travel and lifestyle blog BritVoyage, is a full-time English teacher, and part-time blogger. She spends most of her time exploring the UK with her family and navigating life as a busy millennial woman. As a city girl by birth, her favourite places to visit are in the countryside, and she would do anything for a good cream tea.

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  1. Lovely post. Work has seriously affected my mental health as well, and I had to learn to not only not bring work home (which I didn't do anyway) but to try and learn to leave the emotional stress behind as well. CBT helped me with this, so did changing the school I worked at, and learning how to step back and look at the root at what was bothering me has helped me a lot in not becoming stressed from the emotional baggage of my job. Now, when I get home, I can practice self care more consciously and enjoy my off work time instead of re-living my day at work. Thanks for sharing your tips, they are really helpful.

    Giulia, tidibitsofcare.com

  2. I love this post so much! I completely agree with you that you need to learnt to switch off from work and relax. I think it's so much harder to get in that mentality when working from home x

  3. This was such a great post and most important right now with many people working from home! Keeping work behind can be difficult but a must to unwind and concentrate on the rest. I love the idea of a hobby that can take your mind far away from it as well as a home spa day! Thank you for sharing x

  4. Yess I totally agree with you. Back when this all started, I was in my old job and it was full on but for all of the wrong reasons. I was on camera all day long, I was trying and failing to find the balance, I was under insane and unfair pressure. I couldn't switch off, I couldn't relax. Made the whole start of the pandemic ridiculously more stressful than it needed to be. My new job started in July and I have clearer boundaries around work and me time and it's soo much better!

  5. I agree with the point you made about keeping work at work, it's so important to switch off when you've left work and don't bring it home with you! A great post x

    Lucy | www.lucymary.co.uk

  6. I couldn't agree more with ths post...switiching off is so important! It can be difficult to do at first but you just have to leave work at work. Filling your time with other things at home is a great way to switch off, as is just doing nothing and watching TV!
    Thanks for sharing :)
    Aimsy xoxo
    Aimsy’s Antics

  7. I couldn't agree more! I now switch off completely, laptop away, door shut, change clothes - the lot! I learnt the hard way that burn out will get you and you will drop all of those balls you're trying to juggle!

  8. I'm finding it so hard right now to switch off from work when work is at home with you! But these are some great ideas! Someone suggested you take a 'commute' before and after your work from home schedule. So you go for a short walk before and after work and it separates your day

    Katie | katieemmabeauty.com

  9. I used to be so terrible at separating work from home life. As a teacher, my job never really ends. Now that I work from home, I try to shut the door to my office after work and not open it until the next morning. I like the idea of creating a DIY spa. That would help me so much!