It is so important to spend pockets of time disconnected from work. Not only can these moments be enjoyable and memorable, but they can also help you return to work energized.
Some may associate working unnecessarily long hours and never taking vacations as noble ventures that are the marks of a standout employee. But in reality, a workaholic mentality can lead to burnout and decreased productivity. I find that even within my daily routine, that there are times that I need to get up, walk around, and take a short break away from my desk in order to reset, regroup, and evaluate what I need to accomplish the rest of the day.
As Messianic Christians, my family and I observe the Shabbat or Sabbath every Saturday. I do not work on this day and we do not conduct any business at other places where people may be working. God tells us in Genesis that after creating the universe and everything in it, He rested on the seventh day, and He later commands His people to, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy (Exodus 20:8 KJV).” It is a day to prioritize spending time with God, resting in Him, and being refreshed by our local community of fellow believers. This day is such a blessing in my week. It truly allows me to disconnect from my duties at work both mentally and physically.
While we take time away from work to recharge, it is important to remember to disconnect mentally. You may not physically be in the office, but may be worrying about an upcoming project or deadline. The Bible tells us not to worry. And how difficult it is to return to work invigorated if you have been preoccupied with your job the entire time that you’ve been away. You may say that it is not always easy to mentally “clock out.” I agree. But here are some practical ways that may help you rest easier the next time you take a break from your 9-5.
Three Practical Tips To Help You Mentally Disconnect From Work While Away:
1. Work hard and be productive while in the office – If I leave work feeling I’ve wasted time or was inefficient, I sometimes feel guilty that I did not give my all that day. But when I can get in my car to go home and know full well that I remained focused and diligent, I can more easily leave work at work and be mentally present at home.
2. Don’t check email or answer work calls while at home – When possible, avoid being a slave to your phone or computer when you are away from work. I understand that certain jobs and situations may require people to use these devices after hours. But if an email is not urgent and can be replied to in the morning, then I highly suggest that you wait until the morning to reply.
3. Do things that you enjoy – Sometimes when I am obsessing over work after hours, it takes a distraction to help me disconnect. It may be watching a movie with the family, working out, or going out to eat. The options are endless, but sitting around and watching email alerts pop up on the screen of your phone may keep you preoccupied with the tasks of your work life.
Lastly I’ll say this, don’t forget to take vacations. Make memories with your family, visit new places, and take extended breaks from your normal routine. Vacations can be simple or elaborate, cheap or expensive, but by all means take them when you can. My family and I were blessed to be able to take a short three day trip to the Black Hills region of South Dakota this past winter (picture below!). It was short and sweet, but we had a blast and made new memories.
Don’t be ashamed to take time off. Enjoy it, relax, and come back to work refreshed and ready to work as hard as you ever have.