One of the challenges of working from home is finding how to turn off after work. Lines between work and personal life have become blurred, thanks to technology, globalisation and a culture of busyness (being busy for the sake of it). Busyness is not essential, it’s fashionable.
I know business owners who obsess constantly, freelancers who never seem to finish work, employees who think they will lose their job if they’re not working well into the night. I’m not opposed to working hard, however, the fallacy that no one ever died from hard work is just that; a myth.
“The greatest enemy of good thinking is busyness.” -John C. Maxwell, Leadership expert, speaker and author.
In fact, in China, local media estimates 1,600 people are dying every day from working too hard . At least some of these are white collar workers. According to the same article, death from overwork is a badge of honour in China. This problem is not limited to China. Korea and Japan are also on the list of countries where overwork is a serious problem.
Workers in some western countries, like the US, also suffer poor health due to overwork. In some cases this leads to burnout or complete exhaustion.
I have discovered, through trial and error, how to turn off after work. This is general advice and while these things worked for me, they might not work for you.
I have worked in my own business and worked for others from my home. I choose to wake up early and then keep my evenings for leisure time. It’s up to you when you work, however, you need to allow time to switch off, relax and go to sleep
I used to blur the lines between work and personal life until it seemed like I had no personal life. I think it’s fair to limit how much your personal life impacts your work… but in return it’s also fair to limit the amount work encroaches on your home life.
According to an article from Harvard Health Publications, computers and phones emit a blue light, which supresses sleep and throws off your circadian rhythms. Research cited in this article suggests that exposure to blue light at night has other health implications too. Limit your screen time after hours.]
Caffeine is a stimulant, which can give you a boost of energy but might also keep you awake at night. I have found, when I limit my caffeine intake to the first half of the day, I get a better night’s sleep. While this may seem obvious to some, there is some research to back it up.
I occasionally wake up in the middle of the night with acid reflux, which is quite uncomfortable. After I did some research on some possible causes of acid reflux, I found a few minor changes stopped this problem for me. I eat less junk now, eat earlier in the evening and skip the caffeine several hours before bed. Acid reflux can be quite serious; so if this is an ongoing problem for you, see your doctor.
I often keep a notepad beside my bed, so I can do a bit of a brain dump before I go to bed. I write down my thoughts, my worries and my ideas. Sometimes I draft a quick plan for the following day. I think it’s a kind of therapy. It frees up my brain, so I can just relax. Amazingly, sometimes my brain fills in the blanks or evolves my idea into something better while I sleep.
I experimented by drinking a few different types of tea before bed. In doing so, I stumbled upon Sleep Tight Tea from T2™. Unlike black tea, it really helps me relax. I have tried a few chamomile teas, green teas etc. but Sleep Tight is the only one that puts me out like a light!
Bedrooms are for sleep and sex, not social media. If you want more sleep or more sex, ditch the devices. I have already mentioned that smartphones emit a blue light, which keeps you awake longer. Smartphones are also a constant source of distraction because they beep, buzz and vibrate every time one of your ‘friends’ moves on social media.
If you’re a leader and you want to get the best out of your team at work, maybe you should share this advice with them. Make sure your team switches off early and have enough time to recharge for the next day.
If you are reading this because you feel overwhelmed or can’t relax and fall asleep at night, it’s a good start. Don’t just read ‘How to turn off after work’, try my tips out. If you find something else has helped you relax, please share that with me in the comments. Thanks for reading.
 “In China, 1,600 People Die Every Day From Working Too Hard”, Bloomberg, accessed at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-07-03/in-china-white-collar-workers-are-dying-from-overwork on June 30, 2017.