Disconnecting from work

Happy New Year! 

We hope that you took time to rest, relax, and enjoy the company of your family and friends during the holiday season. If you struggled with disconnecting from work, because you are an essential worker, you work from home, or you are self-employed, or for different reasons, you might find this blog helpful. 

Disconnecting from work – what does it mean?

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety defines disconnecting from work as being able to stop working, and not being obligated to respond to work requests outside established hours. This is easier for some individuals, more than others. Based on your profession, ambitions, personal and family responsibilities, and financial obligations. 

Why is it important to disconnect? 

Let’s get back to when you first started your professional journey.  Disconnecting from work was easier. You made time to do something that you enjoyed, like playing sports, or going for a bike ride. You were probably happier and more fun to be around. Taking personal time away from work helps your body and mind to relax. 

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, an individual who does not take time away from work to relax and recover, may experience health effects of not disconnecting. You may experience any combination of the following if you do not have time away from job tasks:

  • Poor work/life balance
  • Work-related musculoskeletal disorders, including the impacts of psychosocial factors (e.g. time pressure, work pace, workload)
  • Occupational injuries
  • Fatigue
  • Burnout
  • Poor mental health effects such as stress, depression, anxiety

Tips on disconnecting from work:

  • Prioritize personal life outside of work. When you prioritize resting and relaxing, it prepares you for what is coming up. A mind rested can act safely if any challenge appears.
  • Make sure you do things that bring you comfort and pleasure after work hours. 
  • Use your resources and energy for time with family and friends. 
  • Have work boundaries. Let the team know to expect a reply during your next work shift. 
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Making small changes can improve your life. Plan for hours at work, commuting, family time, and self-care will help you to maintain a work/life balance. 

For more information on disconnecting from work, please check out CCOHS – Disconnecting from work.

By Gabriela Mancas, Occupational Health and Safety Consultant

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