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How to switch off and relax after work

Many people struggle with how to switch off after work, whether it’s because they’re worried about the next day’s workload or they’re experiencing an adrenaline…

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Many people struggle with how to switch off after work, whether it’s because they’re worried about the next day’s workload or they’re experiencing an adrenaline rush. It can be hard to switch off and end this working period. For me, I’m always thinking about my to-do list in my head, I’m going over what I need to do, who I need to email and I get so eager to get to work (or sometimes overwhelmed) that I struggle to switch off and relax after work.

The benefits of switching off after work vary from person to person, but most people experience improved sleep, less stress and a sense of accomplishment. Some might also find they feel more motivated and creative when they switch on their brains again the next day.

It’s so important to have a work-life balance and being unable to relax after work or on the weekend is so important. So here are some tips on how to switch off and relax after work.

How to switch off and relax after work

Switch off your work phone and don’t check emails.

In order to keep a work/life balance, we need to make sure that we don’t check our work email as soon as we get an email (turn those notifications off if you have them on!). We need to be able to switch off from work and not feel guilty about it. It is important that we have a break from the things that happen at work and spend time with those closest to us.

I used to have my work email connected to my phone, but it was on a separate application and within a folder on the second page. I found this made it easier to avoid when I wasn’t working, rather than mindlessly scrolling through apps on my front page.

I also didn’t have my work phone on or my work laptop out when I wasn’t working. The group Whatsapp was on mute so I was able to avoid it if needed.

If something is really urgent and needs your attention outside of work hours, someone will call you. A lot of the time, you end up doing tasks that can be picked up the next day, or spend your evening thinking about doing those tasks rather than switching off and having a break from work

Prepare for tomorrow

There are lots of apps out there that can help you plan your week for the coming day. It will help you have a more productive day by knowing what to expect, so there are no surprises. Such as diary apps or those that help your sleep, prompting you when it’s getting near time to sleep.

When I worked at my old job, I would have my work bag packed, my gym bag packed. If I was going to a new place (remote working meant I was all over the North of England!) I would have the postcode ready in my satnav and already knew how long it would take.

I was then able to relax for the rest of the evening knowing that when I got up the next day, I only had to get ready and have a coffee, rather than running around getting sorted.

There’s nothing worse than running around in the morning and panicking about bein late!

Write things down and then forget about them

If something work related pops into your head and you keep thinking about it. Write it down.

I have a ‘to-do’ list on the notes section on my phone. I can write it down and forget about it rather than focusing on it, worrying I’ll forget to deal with it at a later date.

Play mindless games

I love playing mindless games that let me switch off and stop me from picking up my phone. I’ve been playing games on my laptop lately and I’ve been enjoying the hidden object games here. They’re free to play, which is good as I used to buy a lot of hidden object games when you only got to play for a couple of levels for free. There’s just something really satisfying about finding the items!

The Secret Garden Hidden Object Game

I also like the daily word games, such as the daily word search and crossword you can find in this section. I’m not great at crosswords so I like how the letter shows in red if it’s not the right letter!

The solitaire card game section is also a lot of fun. There are lots of games I used to play as a child as we had these on our computer. Tripeaks is always a good game to play as you just have to select cards higher or lower, rather than having to think too much. If I want something a bit challenging, then I play Pyramid as you have to match the cards so they add up to 13.

It’s always good when you can get a good run on Tripeaks. Like in the below screenshot, I played 6, 5, 6, 7 – so you can go up and down the suits and get a few cards in one go if you spot them!

Tripeaks Solitare Game

Scroll down to the bottom of the Solitaire home page to see all the games they offer. They’re just quick, easy and fun games that you can switch in and out of to help you switch off. Great for playing when you’re watching TV if you want to avoid your phone or social media.

I struggle to just sit and do nothing, so it stops me refreshing my emails or doing something work related!

Watch mindless TV

If I’m feeling overwhelmed with work thoughts or my mind is going in circles, I really struggle to watch intense TV shows. I like to watch mindless TV that’s easy to watch. Here are some of my favourites:

  • Family Guy
  • Simpsons
  • Superstore
  • Naked Attraction
  • Call the Midwife
  • Catfish
  • Gilmore Girls
  • My 900lb life
  • Anything Disney

Exercise

When I worked in-store, I used to go to the gym after work and I found it was such a great way to get my mind off work. If I was stressed about something, I could run really fast or lift heavy.

My personal trainer used to joke and say I always got my living PB’s when I was mad about something, so she would try to trigger me before attempting a heavy deadlift.

Exercise can be so therapeutic in that way. If my mind was really fried, I struggled to do an actual program that involved a lot of thinking/moving around the gym on different bits of equipment. I found just hammering the treadmill for 30 minutes made me feel so much better.

How to switch off and relax after work

Play and instrument

Did you know I play the piano? I’m not that good at it, but I do have an Instagram where I share my piano progress, and I do share some piano videos on TikTok as well, so follow me on both!

I find playing the piano is also something that makes me feel much better. I’m not great at playing the harder pieces when I need to switch off, but just doing some easy grade 3 or 4 pieces that I can play with ease is amazing for my mind and puts me in a relaxed state of mind.

So if you play an instrument, it’s a good way to wind down. If you don’t, it’s never too late to start learning! I was an adult learner, too.

Have a bath.

You knew this was coming, didn’t you?

There’s a reason why almost every blog post to do with relaxing mentions having a bath. And it’s because having a bath is one of the most relaxing things you can do.

Light some candles, have a hot chocolate (or glass of wine), put some TV show on your iPad and let your mind drift away.

It’s the best way to wind down before bed and get a good nights sleep before your next day of work.

How do you switch off and relax after work?

Looking for more things to do? Check out this post: Free things to do online when you’re bored

23 comments

  1. Fab post my love! When I was working in an office I used to get text messages ALL the time from my manager & staff, it was so frustrating. Like it felt like I could never switch off. Dan used to go mad because I’d be getting irritated by something I couldn’t do anything about at the time, not being in the office. I’m SO much happier now & tbh it played a huge factor in me leaving my ‘typical job’ to do this. I really like the games/puzzles idea too. It’s something I’ve been doing a lot more of recently. It’s really nice to have something I can totally switch off with.

    Claire.X
    http://www.clairemac.co.uk

  2. Mindless TV is such a great way of putting it, Gilmore Girls is my favourite and I also put Gossip Girl on in the background when I’m doing something else, even. Thank you for sharing Corinne, I’ll take a few of these on x

  3. I love playing my guitar while sitting on my swing chair on my balcony after work. There was a time I would take 45 minutes after work every single day to either do this or read and you’ve just reminded me I should get back into the habit of doing it, thank you!

  4. Great suggestions. Working for myself and working from home, this is something I’ve always struggled with because that line between work and personal life is sometimes a little blurred. I really need to be more strict on myself about not checking my emails after like, 6pm! I love gaming so playing PlayStation games is a great way for me to switch off after work x

  5. These are good tips! With lockdown and remote learning I really struggled with switching off after work, it was so hard as I had to make up time for looking after the kids during the day and often would just log off in time to make dinner!

    I’m much preferring the project I’m on now – the team works really hard but they also don’t like to stay back late and work crazy hours, the workload is so much more manageable so it’s nice to have a bit of a breather and relax with the kids before it’s time for the dinner bath and bed routine!

    Hope you had a great weekend 🙂 We made the most of the warm spring days and went to a bunch of parties!

  6. I love matching games, but the hidden object games sound fun and relaxing too! Love that I can play them on Desktop as I do not often have a device with me.

    I am the same way to exercise! If I have something to work off, I go into a workout feeling energized and ready to move. By the end of it, I feel better. Finally, taking a bath is a tried-and-true trick to wind down in the evening. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Hello, I NEEDED this post. It’s something I have really struggled with is checking my emails and notifications for work after I finish. I like to turn off my phone and it really helps. Exercise really helps as it clears my head, thanks for sharing a great post. Alicia

  8. These are great ideas! I think what you do in your free time after work can really have an effect on your sleep. Winding down after works has definitely helped me to sleep better, which has the knock on effect of setting you up for the following day! Thanks for sharing your great tips!

  9. Planning for the next day is always a big one for me – having my lunch ready in the fridge, my clothes laid out etc just makes me feel ready and chilled!
    Amy xx
    callmeamy.co.uk

  10. I love these suggestions for switching off and relaxing.
    Don’t answer my phone do prepare for the next day, mindlessly play chess with the computer set close to its weakest level so I can win relatively mindlessly
    I also watch shows on NetFlix (I’ve watched the Gilmore Girls numerous times).
    Recently I enjoyed watching season one of the Australian children’s show
    “The Bureau of Magical Things” – I was hooked within the first 3 minutes of episode 1 (of 20). 😀

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