Do we have the right to disconnect from the digital society?
The digital population growth is a condition that will define the world, not only in business, but in politics and investment. The changes in the generations and the access that each of these had to technology defines the financial scenario and the form that the growth dynamics will take on a global level.
We all need to switch off at times, but it seems that the digital society does not want to allow us to do so. With the arrival of the smartphone, we have implicitly recognised that we are always available, making it enormously difficult to clear our heads when we leave work. An email, a call, a WhatsApp, etc.: we can use any means to consult a last-minute doubt when we are on our way home or a customer complains to us during the holidays, but being always connected has a price. Carrying out job-related tasks or thinking about work during the holidays or in your free time can negatively impact your health and reduce your performance at work.
What are the possible results of not switching off from work?
It has been shown that not cutting yourself off psychologically from your work may be related to the following health problems:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Emotional exhaustion
- Cardiovascular problems
- Bad digestion and gastrointestinal diseases
- Symptoms of depression
- Problems related to irritation affecting partners, family, and friends
- The decline in sexual desire
- Lack of motivation for leisure activities
- Diminishing of skills such as creativity and analytical capacity
- Problems with concentration
- Skin problems
- Persistent headaches and constant worry
What are the main causes preventing us from switching off from work?
There is a number, but the most frequent are:
- The impossibility of delegating tasks because you are the only person managing certain functions
- Inability to entrust tasks to other people
- Being contacted by the company or contacting your employees to resolve unforeseen circumstances
- Lack of the ability to engage in other activities
Who finds it most difficult to switch off from work?
People who consult specialists suffering from emotional exhaustion due to overwork are those who feel that they enjoy being at the helm and that this sensation of power triggers a feeling of happiness in their body. The problem is that this feeling has an en expiry date. Sooner or later the body says “enough” and you have to pay the bill; it’s then that the need to switch off becomes clear.
Keys for switching off
Now let’s look at some tools that allow you to switch off – or at any rate, try to do so:
- Don’t leave any project or action unfinished. If that’s not possible, at least leave someone in charge. The brain tends to think about questions that are unresolved, and if you take any of these with you on holiday, the likelihood is that it will accompany you in your everyday activities and stop you from switching off.
- Travel when you can. Travel gives you the opportunity to know new worlds, but it also offers the possibility of occupying your mind with other problems for a few days: How do I get there? Where are we going to eat? What do I have to take? etc. When other questions occupy your brain, it helps you to switch off from the daily work routine.
- Don’t use technological devices that have a close relationship with the work environment. And if you can’t leave them, establish fixed days and times for the corresponding work activities. Reserve a space for work tasks: this calms the brain in its attempt to provide solutions to open questions and allows you to free and disconnect the mind in the rest of the time that is reserved for leisure.
- Switch off your mobile for a few hours a day or leave it at home when you go out. Keeping your mobile on – above all if it is your work mobile – will only encourage you to check it all the time. Go for a walk, to the beach, have a drink or a meal with your family and friends… focusing on those that are with you and forgetting about your mobile for a few hours.
- Keep a balance between work and free time during the day. In order to be healthy, you have to take into account that both aspects are equally important. So you have to balance all the time you dedicate to work with free time at the weekends.
- Learn to do other things and develop new skills. The problem of those who don’t know how to enjoy their free time is that they don’t know what to do outside the working environment. So if that is your case, you should look for activities that fill the gaps left by work. In fact, people who consult specialists suffering from emotional exhaustion are not recommended to rest, but to take up other activities, such as learning a language or finding a hobby. Leisure provides a different world with respect to work and that allows you to rest.
- Learn to focus. Personal balance is achieved with the feeling of attending to the different parts of our life: your original family, the family you have created, leisure, social relations, and the working environment. The problems appear when you can’t pay attention to one of them because your mind is elsewhere.
- Adjust the balance of your commitments. It is positive to share time with your family and friends, but it is also positive to have time for yourself. Giving up personal space on your holidays is tiring, so the idea is to include plans shared with others on your timetable, but also spaces for solitude that allows you to read a book, watch TV, go for a walk, etc.
- Stay away from the “office uniform”: wear comfortable clothes in which you really feel good, get a massage, look after your skin, etc. Spoil yourself!
- Don’t get up early when you’re on holiday. If for reasons of work you get up very early a lot during the year, it’s important to reward yourself with the pleasure of staying in bed late.
- Break your routine. At weekends or on short holidays, take excursions to places close to your city to spend the day outside, but sleep at home. These kinds of excursions are excellent for breaking your routine.
- Celebrate your triumphs. A good way of enjoying your personal space during the year is to get your family and friends to participate in your dreams and projects. Celebrate your professional successes and disconnect by toasting how well you are doing.
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