WORK-LIFE BALANCE / APR. 17, 2014
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How to Forget About Work During Time Off

If you enjoy your work, then you don't mind thinking about it when you have time off. For many others, time off cannot come quick enough. Some individuals are just so invested in their work, that they take it with them on vacation. Regardless of the situation, everyone needs proper time off. You know what they say, 'all work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy'.

Why Time Off Is So Crucial

There is no doubt that many people value their work. We work ourselves until we're stressed, ridden with anxiety and simply exhausted. There is no shame in being proud of what you do and working hard at it. With that being said, there are other components of your life that are just as important, if not more important. Here are some reasons why time away from work is important:

  • Long hours affect our brain: Anyone can work 60 hours if they choose to, but at what consequence? A study was conducted; 2,214 British civil servants working full time hours were followed, to see the effects on cognitive functioning. It was found that working more than 55 hours per week, was associated with lower scores on vocabulary tests. There was also a decline in reasoning abilities. The study suggest that long hours, may hinder cognitive functioning.
  • Can lead to depression: Long hours may be linked to depression. A study that was conducted within Britain, found a direct link. The study examined 2000 British employees for six years. Individuals that worked an average of eleven hours a day were twice as likely to be depressed (compared to those whom worked eight hour days).
  • Can hurt productivity: Just because you put in a ridiculous amount of hours, does not mean that you are being productive. If you want to advance in your career, it is not necessarily going to happen by working an excessive amount of hours. Sometimes when we work eight hours instead of ten, we are actually more productive within the shorter time frame.
  • Our overall health is at risk: We are more stressed out than ever. Our jobs require a lot from us. Whether it's deadlines, commutes or a hectic schedule; stress is normally tagging along. Stress is directly linked to multiple ailments, including; heart disease, anxiety, strokes, obesity, asthma, diabetes, accelerated ageing, and even premature death.

We have to work, that is obvious. What appears to be less obvious to some is that we also need time away from work. When you do take time off, actually take the time off. You don't need to call the office ten times a day during your week off.

How To Forget About Work During Your Time Off

We have already established the importance of a proper work-life balance. Some find it extremely hard to detach themselves from work. Here are some tips to forget about work when you should be enjoying your time off:

  1. Draw the line: This can be in reference to your regular work day, or vacation time. When you remove yourself from your work environment, decide when you are going to 'draw the line'. If you have a wife and kids at home, perhaps your work day should stop when you enter the door. If you wear specific clothing at work, get changed when you get home. This will help to keep your home life, separate from your work life.
  2. Unplug: Some jobs require you to be on call at all times, but majority do not. Close your laptop, and don't have your phone super glued to your side. If you have your boss or colleagues calling a lot while you're at home, politely try to set some new boundaries. Time at home with your family is important, treat it that way.
  3. See a mixture of friends: It is great if you get along with your co-workers, that is very important. Outside of work, if you're only hanging out with people you work with, it's hard to detach yourself. Make sure you're spending just as much time with your other friends and family. This way, there won't always be 'work talk' going on around you.
  4. Focus on something you enjoy: Concentrate on a hobby that you enjoy, or look into a hobby that you've always been interested in. Make some exciting plans. Looking forward to something exciting, is a great way to clear your mind of work related thoughts.
  5. Fitness and meditation: Going for a jog can be very relaxing for some. Working out may be a good escape from your work thoughts, it's also healthy. Meditation is extremely relaxing. Allow yourself to enjoy a quiet meditation session. It will be a nice break from the busy office atmosphere.
  6. Put your trust in others: If you're a business owner or a manager, it's ideal to find someone you trust to do your work while you're away. If you leave your business with someone you trust, you can relax away from your desk. You not only trust the person, but trust their abilities.
  7. Reward yourself: You work hard, you deserve time off. It is more than okay to dedicate time for yourself. Whether you curl up with a new book and a glass of wine, or rent a cabin; do the things you want to do with your time off.  

It can be a challenge, but try to separate yourself from work when you're not there. It's healthy to do so, and also enjoyable. Keeping your mind off work, will allow you to explore other components of your life. Just remember; work hard, but play harder.

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