I am no stranger to late nights of staying up to finish a project or an assignment of some sort during my university years, and that attitude has followed me well into young adulthood, for better or worse. And I’m sure it’s the same for so many of us as well, as we start to get acquainted with building our careers and trying to gain as much as experience as we possibly can. Because of that, work starts to feel like an extension of our being. And that feeling escalates when you work from home and don’t keep normal office hours.
While there’s no shame at all in being labelled a workaholic, we still need a break once in a while, because a mind that’s plagued with insomnia isn’t one that’s going to be productive in the morning. So here are a few tips that’s helped me to learn to relax and take a break from the demands of the job. And if you’ve got more than one, then all the more reason to take heed.
1. Plan your breaks in the day
It’s easy to say, “Alright, I’ll stop once I’m done with this project,” but our minds are funny things. As soon as you’ve finished with something, there’s an instant reminder about something else that’s been nagging at you and you may feel like you have no choice but to heed that thought. In order to work around this, start planning your breaks. Make sure you have at least 10-15 minutes, at least twice a day to recuperate from the tasks that have kept you chained to your laptop, and stick to them. It doesn’t help if you constantly reschedule them in order to fit your self-imposed work requirements; the routine breaks are there to help you achieve those requirements in a more relaxed manner.
2. Don’t treat vacation as work
I’m particularly guilty with this: I plan my vacations down to the minute details, and I’ll inadvertently get stressed out when things don’t go my way. However, that’s when a holiday has become more of a presentation on Instagram than a legitimate getaway from work. Allow yourself to get lost in the new adventures that your vacation can bring you, and take heart that you’ve earned this holiday after too many hours spent hunched over at your desk.
3. Have a coffee
It’s too easy to get lost in the adrenaline rush of catching up with deadlines when you’ve barely caught up with your loved ones over the past few weeks when you were busy hustling at the office. Schedule in a coffee date with your friends or family if you have to, but the most important thing here is to allow yourself to be surrounded by people who care about you, not how much sales commissions you can bring in.
4. Turn it off
Simple as that. Turn off your electronic devices two hours before you head to bed, and turn them off during those scheduled breaks I mentioned earlier. Don’t even think about checking your phones during that coffee date. And while I can’t beseech you to put away your phone during your vacation, just because we all need at least Google Maps in an unfamiliar place and to show off how relaxed we are on Instagram, put your emails on hold for the time being. They’ll still be waiting for you when you get back.
5. Find a place to relax
For some of us, it might be as simple as the couch or our bed. However, if you’re prone to working from home, any spot in the house could easily become an office and that’s not conducive to being relaxed. It could be a nearby park, your back yard, or even a coffee shop down the block. Find a place that you won’t associate with work, and make that your happy place, where you can allow yourself to be removed from the clamouring voices of insistent clients and the like.