Keeping your work life and home life separate isn’t as simple as leaving your tasks at the office or workplace. And for many, this is challenging enough. You won’t feel fully rested and refreshed for the next day – even if you’re not physically ‘working’ – if you do not take the conscious steps to mentally detox from your day.
Disengaging from a bustling and productive state of mind can be easier said than done. Our thoughts can become consumed by jobs that still occupy our to-do lists, the tasks left over that we didn’t get enough time to complete, and the analysing of what we did get done in case there was anything we missed. This is not rest. In fact, this only continues to drain your battery.
If you are not feeling mentally and physically restored despite allocating yourself ample downtime, here are some of our tips to help you detoxify from and release the events of the day. These hints will give you a clean and fresh slate to fully absorb the benefits of your self-care efforts and times of rest.
Look after yourself at work as well as after work
Long hours, neglecting our nutrition, failing to properly hydrate our bodies and skipping exercise in order to plough through a never-ending list of things to do is not productive. It leads to restless nights, weekends spent trying to catch up instead of taking a break, and feelings of guilt if you’re not spending your precious downtime continuing to slave away.
Ensuring that you remain consistent with the basic yet fundamental ways to care for your health and wellbeing will help keep you calm, motivated and balanced at work. You can then confidently leave your day at the door when your return home and unwind with peace of mind.
Reframe the narrative of productivity
Do you feel guilty when you’re simply spending time doing what you enjoy or taking a break from the hustle and bustle of your schedule? Our society has an obsession with productivity and maximising our output in every moment of the day. We often overlook is that rest is productive too.
Rest is just as much mental as it is physical. Thoughts such as “I should be using this time to catch up” are actually invading our downtime and hindering us from recharging.
When experiencing these thoughts, it’s important to understand that they aren’t the truth of your reality, they’re simply an unhelpful habit of the mind – a narrative that needs to be challenged and reframed. The truth of this realisation is that relaxation is an investment.
Remind yourself that time spent away from your computer, your desk or your list of chores is valuable and worthwhile and embrace it wholeheartedly. This may take time to get used to but with persistence, it will become second nature.
Form necessary boundaries
An integral part of achieving effective rest is that during your resting moments, you stay completely detached from your ‘working state’. This means disconnecting from any stimulus that requires you to engage in that mindset, such as talking about work, reading work-related notifications and thinking about or organising future work tasks.
To break away from this, try developing a specific ruleset concerning when work is to be done and when it is time to take a break. These boundaries may involve turning off your devices, muting your notifications, or committing to your set hours in the workday.
It’s also important to create the right environment to unwind in. This will help you to cultivate a mindset that is open to rest. You may place all work-related equipment into a separate space, change out of your work clothes, light candles or play music to create an atmosphere that helps transport you to a peaceful mindset that is completely switched off from ‘work mode’.
Be aware of, and don’t resist, your emotional reactions
Be patient with the discomfort that arises when the workday has ended and there are still tasks to be done. Expect to feel some guilt and recognise that it is simply an old, outdated reaction that you’re rewiring. These are fleeting emotions and not necessarily anything that requires your immediate action and attention.
Additionally, be mindful not to fall into the trap of emotional reasoning, which happens when you believe that your emotional reactions prove that something is true.
Practice acceptance. Remind yourself regularly that you are human and there is a limit to what can be done in one day. This can help you temper your stress and give yourself the mental space to rest. “I did not expect this, but I accept it as reality.”
Rest consciously and intentionally
As you’re about to rest, say to yourself, “I am going to rest now“ and allow your mind to tune in on this one task. Allow some moments of stillness and take several deep, long, slow breaths. Focus wholly on observing your breathing and connect both your mind and body in this present moment of restful awareness.
Take in your surroundings. Take the time to acknowledge that you are no longer at work. You’re in an environment for rest. Notice and enjoy the space you’ve created for yourself: the lighting, scents, temperature. Design it so that every part of the sacred area serves your ability to unwind and let go of anything weighing on your consciousness.
Focus on what feels right for you
Think about what facilitates your ability to unwind and feel grounded. This is different for everyone.
You may find going for a walk, drawing a bath, watching the sunset or journaling about your experiences of the day the best ways to relax. Or, you may find activities such as cooking or cleaning to be meditative and calming. What one person may find calming another may find tiresome. This is where it becomes important to tune in to what resonates with you and your optimum rest state.
Nurture your personal development
Perhaps you find it difficult if you’re not pursuing other ways to bring purpose to your life. Channelling all of your energy into your career to seek the approval of your coworkers or superiors will not fulfil you.
Make time to dedicate yourself to your personal growth, no matter what that may be. It could be learning a new language, creating your own blog site, broadening your general knowledge or chasing your fitness goals. This will help keep your work life in perspective and enrich other areas of your life so that you can appreciate moments of leisure.
Spending the precious energy of your desire to grow solely on work-related skills will lead to you feeling drained.
If you are feeling your mental and physical energy gradually and consistently draining without feeling a proper sense of rejuvenation, we recommend trying some of these steps to detoxify and detach from your workday. This will cleanse your mind and leave you feeling refreshed to approach the following day with restored motivation and invigoration.
If you need more than the evenings to press pause and reset, an escape to Eden may be exactly what you need. Click here to submit a booking enquiry.