How to Detach from Work

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Recovery from work is incredibly important. We’ve talked about it several times, including a discussion of the concept of psychological detachment. Psychological detachment is the ability for a person to mentally distance themselves from work. Detaching from work has a plethora of benefits, including reducing exhaustion and fatigue. However, it’s not always easy to detach from work. Today, we highlight the top three interventions that can help!

Detaching from Work

A recent meta-analysis looked at a number of studies on detachment. They were looking to understand how interventions (think trainings) can help employees detach from work more effectively. Long story short, they found that interventions help people with detachment from work! The three most important content areas for these interventions were boundary management, emotion regulation, and sleep improvement.

Close that computer when your time to log off approaches!

Boundary Management

Boundary management is exactly what you think it is! It’s all about creating boundaries between your work and your personal life. We know it can be difficult, but creating clear boundaries seems to have a major impact on your ability to detach. Since interventions tend to last several weeks, it would be worth going through a practice of slowly introducing boundaries over time to help you build a habit. Start with setting regular hours of when to log off and stick to them. Then start adding other ways to make space between work and life. Can you turn off notifications? Close an office door or leave your computer at the office? Is there a way to create a nice ritual as you transition from work to life if you are remote? Being intentional in your boundaries and how you manage them can really improve your ability to detach from work.

Emotion Regulation

Emotion regulation refers to techniques that help people calm down by managing through difficult emotions. These interventions teach things like muscle relaxing and breathing exercises. Unlike boundary management, it can be harder to learn emotion regulation on your own. If you are struggling and experiencing a lot of negative emotions related to work, we’d recommend you get support. For example, consider therapy to help you learn how to manage emotions or look for some courses online. If you are experiencing a lot of anger, sadness, or other emotions, it can make it impossible to detach from work. Thus, we recommend putting in the effort to learn important emotion regulation skills!

Sleep is the greatest detachment of all!

Sleep Improvement

Finally, sleep improvement is the final content area that highly impacts your ability to detach. Sleep interventions teach things like sleep hygiene. We’ve talked about sleep before and it’s importance for wellness and productivity. Consider creating a sleep routine including disconnecting from your phone and computer at least two hours before bed. If you are struggling with feeling rested after a good night’s sleep, consider going to a doctor to make sure you have no health-related sleep challenges. Obviously, sleep is a perfect way to disconnect from work, but it can also help in detaching overall.

In sum, detaching from work is incredibly important for your wellness. Based on the research, these three areas are a good place to start if you are struggling with disconnecting!

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