In this series of articles we are suggesting ways to switch off after work and so we are assuming that if you are reading this, switching off is something of a challenge for you at the moment.
Many of us think that our jobs require us to be available at all times of the day and night, but do we have more of a choice than we give credit for and partly like the feeling of being needed by our organisation? Modern technology means that this sense of being seen to be available is an increasingly common phenomenon.
The digital world is part of the daily experience of many people, in particular the young who are growing up in a very different world where homework, schoolwork, conversations, relationships and games all happen online. This can also mean that lines between work and leisure time are becoming increasingly blurred for many.
Here are some tips if your online life is taking over and you are wondering if you need to unplug…
- Consider increasing your own awareness of the ways in which you are using technology and make sure that you are consciously aware when you are choosing it. Checking emails and surfing the net can easily become mindless habits that inadvertently eat up your leisure time. If we had endless amounts of free time this would not be an issue but in a busy life, time spent on one leisure activity usually means time taken away from another.
- Have an electronic gadget room/area and don’t let the gadgets make their way in to your bedroom. Getting an email about work last thing at night is not conducive to a good night’s sleep! Also research has found that the blue light emitted by tablets has been found to disrupt melatonin production when used for more than a two hour period. Melatonin helps to regulate sleeping.
- When you use a computer/tablet/smartphone set a timer. Have you ever started looking online for something and then, before you know it, the evening has passed you by? Technology tends to fill the time you give to it, by using a timer you make an agreement with yourself how much time you think the task should get and are less likely to go over it.
- Getting back to work related activities, the concept of boundaries around technology comes into play here. When we don’t have boundaries other people’s demands tend to take priority over our own needs. Consider ways in which you could verbalise your needs – not in an inflexible way, but just so that your own life plan gets a look in.
- Choose 1 day a week to try a night without using technology. Write up the positives after the evening, they may not be obvious at first but over time your enjoyment may increase.
- It is possible to relax using technology but it is no bad thing to remind ourselves what we can be without it. Having a relaxing bath, reading, spending time with friends, going for a coffee, exercising. A good book can make checking work emails late at night/online shopping seem really dull!
- Make a list of hobbies you enjoy. If this is a challenge it may be that gadgets are starting to take over your leisure time and perhaps you don’t have outlets for your own creativity and stress relief? If this is the case have a brainstorming session, what could you do with a friend? Is there a class you could sign up for locally? Perhaps you could spend more time learning relaxation or mindfulness techniques to help you to switch off after work.
- Any other suggestions? Please send them in to us and we will add them to the list.
This is one of a series of articles on how to switch off after work. You can access them all from this post Stress Management Tips : How to Switch Off After Work.
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