Friday, March 17, 2023

How To Leave Work Stress At Work

Why You Need To Switch Off And Enjoy The Weekend

Science Says: Leave work stress at work

First up, a quick reminder of why its important to nail the whole leaving-work-at-work thing.

Lets put it this way: Having work constantly looming over you like a cloud means you can never quite relax. And if you never quite relax, you never have the opportunity to replenish your energy stores and mental focus.

Theres a reason why studies show that time off work alleviates job stress and increases well-being as well as job performance.

Notice something though? The positive effects of time off are temporary. Thats why regularly switching off and enjoying your weekends is key to a healthy work-life balance.

Below are some tips on how to do this, starting with a pre-weekend routine and moving on to what to do once that sweet Saturday rolls around.

Anticipatory Stress Attention Residue And Why Your Work Follows You Home

Lets start by understanding why its so hard to leave work at work. To do that, we need a quick lesson in behavioral science and evolution.

Over thousands of years, your brain has evolved to do two specific things:

  • Latch onto information it deems important
  • Constantly be on alert for any new threats in your environment
  • The first part is due to what business professor Sophie Leroy calls Attention Residue. Simply put, studies have found that when we switch tasks, its difficult to transition our attention away from what weve left undone. So, when you leave work, your brain is still focused on whats been left undone.

    The second part is due to an evolutionary trait called Anticipatory Stress or in other words, worrying about the prospect of future threats.

    As we wrote in our Guide to Workplace Stress, the modern workplace is filled with all sorts of things your brain perceives as threatsangry emails, mistakes, missing deadlines. So, even though you might leave work on a Friday afternoon at Inbox Zero, you still stress over the possibility of more emails coming in.

    Why does this matter? Sure it sucks to think about work when youre relaxing after a long day. But there are bigger issues to be aware of. As researchers from Lehigh University wrote in Science Daily:

    As prior research has shown, if people cannot disconnect from work and recuperate, it leads to burnout, higher turnover, more deviant behavior, lower productivity, and other undesirable outcomes.

    How To Get A Doctors Note For Stress Leave

    First things first, you may not require a doctors note for stress leave if you are availing of your sick days. In that case, even a brief consultation with a doctor should suffice. Just explain your symptoms and how workplace stress is affecting your well-being. If your symptoms are severe and you are seeking longer time off from work, a doctor will ask you to undergo tests before he or she will certify you as suffering from a stress disorder.

    Workplace stress is a growing problem, unfortunately, and there is not enough awareness of the subject yet. At Soni Law, we advise employers and employees on all matters of employment. We explain stress leave Ontario laws simply and offer practical advice for their stress leave.

    About The Author: Rahul Soni

    Rahul founded Soni Law Firm, a boutique employment, labour, and human rights law firm, with the goal of taking his Downtown Toronto litigation experience and making it accessible to Ontarios Main Street employees and employers.

    Don’t Miss: How To Lower Blood Pressure When Stressed

    Set Aside Time For Hobbies Interests And Things That You Truly Care About

    The dark side of productivity advice is that it constantly makes you feel like you should be doing more. More work, more thinking, more personal development. And doesnt leave any time for, you know, fun!

    A 2007 study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that to properly disconnect and recover at the end of the day, we need to spend time focused on what are called mastery experiences.

    As Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author of Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, explains:

    Mastery experiences are engaging, interesting things that you do well. Theyre often challenging, but this makes them mentally absorbing and all the more rewarding when theyre proficiently executed.

    Not only will pursuing hobbies just for the fun of them help you keep work at work, but they can lead to more overall happiness due to lower stress, more social relationships, better structure to your day, and a sense of accomplishment and meaning.

    RescueTime helps you take back control of your time with in-depth reports, distraction blocking, and more. Try it for free.

    Take Your Time Getting Home

    How to Request a Stress Leave at Work

    On the drive home, dawdle. Dilly-dally. Be a slow poke. Not in the sense that youre driving dangerously slow in rush-hour traffic, but in the sense that youre thinking of your drive as an easy-going journey home and not as a race to get there before all of the other worker bees traveling on the same highway.

    You think you need to make it home before you can start unwinding, but why wait? Start unwinding now by learning to embrace your drive home rather than fighting it.

    Use the time youre traveling to do whatever it is that you need to do in order to relax. Crank up some music, sing, take notice of the scenery, enjoy the silence. On especially stressful days, stop off to get a fruit smoothie on the way home. Thats just fine. Take it one-step further by sitting outside and drinking it there before getting back in the car.

    Recommended Reading: How To Deal With Stress During Pregnancy

    Use Your Commute To Clear The Mental Clutter Of The Day

    What about when you leave the office? As weve written before, ritualsthose symbolic actions performed at key momentsare what help us move through the day smoothly. And what better ritual to use than your commute?

    Whether your commute consists of an hour on the train or walking from the couch to the kitchen, you can use that time to help keep work at work. The act of moving from one space to another can be enough to knock your attention residue loose. As Dr. Keith E. Webb writes:

    Your mind reacts to movement. Even standing up will clear your thoughts. The more emotion you have in the previous task, the more movement you need.

    If possible, add a bit of walking into your post-work routine. A Stanford study found that walking, both indoors and outdoors, helps boost our creative thinking and disconnect from the singular focus that leads to attention residue.

    Get A List Of All Your Accomplishments:

    Another thing we are definitely going to suggest to you is prepare a list of all your accomplishments. You have no idea how much this is going to help you. It will make you feel a much more stronger and confident person. So before the day comes to an end, prepare a list of all the good things you have already done and accomplished and at the end of it you should be proud. It will make you feel happy and proud of yourself.

    Read Also: How To Handle Mental Stress

    Enjoy The Beauty Of Nature On Your Way Back To Work:

    It is very easy to go completely autopilot when you are on your way back home from work. But also remember that in doing so you are completely missing out on the beauty of life. If you are walking back home or just driving, you can still keep your eyes fresh by just taking a breathtaking beauty of nature all around you. Breathe in out deeply before you leave. Try to notice some of the interesting and unique things you are surrounded with.

    What Is Stress Leave At Work

    How to Get back to Work after a Stress Sick Leave

    Stress leave is an extended period of time that an employee takes off work to deal with or recover from stress-related illnesses, injuries, and other predicaments. Laws regarding stress leave vary from country to country so, its best to contact your country or states department of labour to see what the requirements are. Take note that the term stress leave doesnt exist, legally. Instead, it is often referred to as sick leave.

    Stress leave is required when the situation is so serious it cant be fixed by a few days breaks. It can be for a few months at a time. And in rare cases, stretch to beyond a year! Some of the signs that may require stress leave include:

    • Inability to perform your duties
    • Stress levels affecting your ability to work effectively
    • Work-related stress affecting your personal life or home
    • Symptoms of depression or anxiety, as confirmed by your doctor

    Don’t Miss: How To Overcome Stress At Work

    Signs Of Stress At Work

    When it comes to stress at work, UK workers should know that it can be viewed from various viewpoints. Either you are the employee who is dealing with stress at work, or you are looking for signs of stress in your employees.

    For example, if you are a manager within your company it is important to be aware of the common signs of stress at work. UK professionals will then be able to identify the signs and work out if the stress is being caused by work pressure.

    Like many other issues, acting early can help mitigate the effects and outcomes. To act early, you need to know what to look out for. With regards to individual employees dealing with stress at work, you may notice a few changes, such as:

    • Mood swings
    • Complaints
    • Increased staff turnover

    By spotting these signs early, as a manager, you can help implement measures that focus on managing stress at work. It may also encourage you to take a different management approach with your team. Alternatively, if you are an employee experiencing any of the above, it is important to either reach out to your manager, a colleague, or seek advice from your GP.

    Bonus: Use Rescuetimes Work Hours Feature To See How Much Time Youre Spending Outside Of Work

    RescueTime shows you exactly how youre using your digital devices during the day. And one of the best ways to filter that information is with work hours.

    Start by setting your Working Hours under Settings > Advanced Filters. Heres what mine looks like:

    Once thats done, each report then will tell you how much of that time is spent inside/outside of your regular hours. For example, heres my time in Communication apps last month:

    I can also see how Im using these apps by time of day, if my usage is trending, and even set alerts to notify me if I spend too much time working outside of work hours.

    Recommended Reading: How To Prevent Hair Loss From Stress

    What Causes Job Stress

    Most of the time, it’s the major sources of stress that lead to job burnout and health problems. Job stress can affect your home life too. Here are some common sources of major job stress, with examples of each:

    • Lack of control. Feeling as if you have no control over your work or job duties is the biggest cause of job stress. People who feel like they have no control at work are most likely to get stress-related illnesses. Here’s an example:
    • Shelly is responsible for putting together a report that her boss must deliver at a 4 p.m. meeting. She’s been waiting all day for the notes and numbers she needs. Shelly finally gets the notes from her boss at 3:15 and rushes to prepare the report and charts and to make copies in time. She gets it done, but she feels mad and resentful. This is the third time this week that this has happened.
  • Increased responsibility. Taking on extra duties in your job is stressful. You can get more stressed if you have too much work to do and you can’t say no to new tasks.
  • John volunteers for every new project, because he heard that’s the best way to get promoted. But the tasks are starting to pile up, and he’s feeling overwhelmed. He knows he can’t really manage one more thing. But this morning, John’s boss asked him to take on another project, and John agreed. Now he’s more worried than ever about getting everything done.
  • Poor working conditions. Unpleasant or dangerous physical conditions, such as crowding, noise, or problems, can cause stress.
  • Find A Good Stopping Place And Leave Yourself With A Plan

    How to Leave Your Work Stress Behind at the End of the Day

    When you get on a roll at work, it never feels like the right time to interrupt your flow. However, at some point you need to declare a stopping point and go home.

    Before you head out, leave notes for your tomorrow self. Rather than making the you of tomorrow walk in to the office and start from scratch, streamline their journey to productivity by leaving a clear plan of action.

    The you of today gets to go home relieved, feeling accomplished and knowing you havent wasted a good train of thought by leaving work before writing it down. The you of tomorrow gets to walk in to work and have a clear place to start.

    Read Also: Can Stress Cause Sharp Chest Pain

    How To Deal With Stress At Work

    We spend a significant portion of our adult lives at work, so when that environment becomes stressful, it can take a toll. There are many aspects about modern day life that can induce stress, and work is one of them, but it doesnt have to be this way. There are various techniques that will help you deal with stress at work. UK staff across all sectors should prioritise their wellbeing in all parts of life, including in the workplace.

    Stress comes in many different forms and for many reasons, and if you dont learn how to deal with stress at work, you could end up spiralling. Thankfully, there are many tips and tricks that help with managing stress at work, you just need to discover what works for you.

    Below, we have provided you with excellent techniques and online courses that will teach you how to deal with stress at work. We also explore the causes of stress at workplace environments and the signs to look out for.

    Should You Take A Stress Leave From Work

    Everyone knows that if you have the flu, you should stay home from work to recover and not spread the infection to your colleagues and friends. Its also clear that giving birth requires time off from work. But what about stress? Can you really take a stress leave from work?

    You can, and sometimes taking a stress leave is the right thing to do. You may not see your situation strictly as needing a stress leave, but you may see it as experiencing burnout, anxiety, or depression. You need to apply for a leave of absence for any of these reasons in a similar way. Heres how you should approach making the request for a stress leave from work.

    Read Also: How Does Stress Cause Heart Attack

    How To Leave Work At Work And Actually Enjoy The Weekend

    September 5, 2019 By Tania Braukamper

    All you want to do after a long hard week of work is switch off and enjoy the weekend. But its not so easy, is it? Work just follows you home, yapping at your heels and demanding your attention.

    But heres the thing: Switching off from work is important. You need downtime to stay healthy and happy. So how do you get your brain into weekend mode and truly leave those work stresses behind?

    Lets dive into some strategies you can use to disconnect and properly enjoy your weekend.

    Why Is Stress Leave Necessary

    5 Tips To Leave Your Stress At Work

    Employees need stress leave to cope with any number of work-related stressors, which may include any of the following:

    • Dysfunctional work-life balance. If youre entirely unable to genuinely unplug from your work, then you may feel like you dont have sufficient energy to devote to other areas of your life. You dont have a minute to fix yourself a proper meal, let alone practice self-care.

    • Workplace conflict. Working alongside condescending coworkers, office bullies, or folks who get away with harassment is a recipe for unmanageable levels of stress in the workplace. Ultimately, you have to spend a lot of your waking life with these people, and when youre surrounded by toxicity, stress is sure to creep in.

    • Overworked.Burnout is a real phenomenon, and sometimes theres no way to get out from under a mountain of work other than taking stress leave.

      Unrealistic deadlines, duties that fall outside the normal purview of your job title, a lack of energy, and cynicism about your work are all factors in burnout that could require a period of stress leave to cope with.

    Also Check: How To Not Feel So Stressed

    Remove The Expectation Of Dealing With Emails Outside Of Work Hours

    When we studied 185 million hours of working time, we found that people do an hour or more of work outside regular hours on 89 days on the year. But while you might think its the fact you have to deal with emails and communication outside of work hours thats stressing you out. But its actually not that simple.

    According to a study from researches at Lehigh University, Virginia Tech, and Colorado State University, its not the time spent answering emails outside of work that causes us to feel stressed and exhausted, but rather how much you anticipate receiving them.

    As Samantha Conroy, one of the studys authors writes:

    Its not only that employees are spending a certain amount of extra time answering emails, but its that they feel they have to be ready to respond and they dont know what the request will be. So if theyre having dinner with their family, and hear that ding, they feel they have to turn their attention away from their family and answer the email.

    To learn how to leave work at work, we need to remove that Pavlovian response that happens when we get a notification. Here are a few suggestions:

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