Five keys to disconnecting from work in summer

Digitization and the emergence of teleworking in the wake of the pandemic have generated certain habits in our work routine that make it difficult to disconnect from our work. Without going any further, a recent Infojobs report reveals that 82% of Spanish workers answer professional calls outside of their hours and 74% also on vacation.

Taking these data into account, Dr. Joaqun Mateu Moll, professor of the Bachelor of Psychology and the Official Master of Gerontology and Person-Centered Attention of VIU – International University of Valencia, gives us a series of keys to facilitate this disengagement.

Find moments of rest

Work-related activities require, in many cases, a huge investment of time and resources. About half of the hours we spend awake are spent directly or indirectly on them. “This is why it is essential to find the right moments to rest, both throughout the year and during the holidays. These not only offer us the opportunity to disconnect from the routine, but also to “reconnect” with very important facets of our own life that we cannot neglect (family, friends, hobbies, etc.) ”, explains Mateu. .

Leisure, new routines and spending time with loved ones

“We must be aware that disconnecting from work is not easy and can be an effort. This is explained by the fact that it “forces” a change in routines from what we understand as ordinary, which implies distributing the time available to us and reinterpreting its meaning. This is an opportune time to take on delayed projects; or simply devote hours to tasks that are appreciated as enjoyable, fun and relevant (watching a movie or series, reading a good book, etc.). It is also a privileged moment to strengthen ties with our loved ones, schedule shared moments and minimize the use of social networks, ”argues the VIU teacher.

Inform colleagues, clients, etc. that we are on vacation

The expert stresses the importance of informing both colleagues and the rest of the people concerned (customers, suppliers, etc.) that we are in a period of rest and that we will respond to their requests upon their return. understood as a privilege, but rather as something essential to preserve physical and emotional health in a world that moves at breakneck speed, ”he says.

Controlling the anxiety of not knowing how things are going to be at work

Mateu underlines that “many people suffer from anxiety when they take a temporary distance from their responsibilities. The onset of these sensations suggests that rest may be needed more than ever ”. In this sense, the VIU teacher recalls that “anxiety can be adaptive when its levels are optimal, and that it occurs when we experience uncertainty about the course of certain future events, so we don’t have to commit to trying to eradicate it ”.

In the event that the intensity of the anxiety overwhelms the person, there are strategies by which we can learn to deal with it. Dr Mateu specifies that “a small part of the holidays could be devoted to the practice of relaxation techniques (diaphragmatic breathing, for example) or to the realization of activities integrating components of placidity and calm”.

“Interrupting the holidays to give in to anxiety is not going to bring us positive results in the medium or long term, since the initial relief will eventually give way to a deeper and more lasting feeling of frustration or restlessness,” adds- he does.

If we telecommute during the summer period, limit the space to one room

Teleworking has imposed very significant changes in our understanding of work and has made it encroach on the privacy of our homes. The space that was previously reserved for relaxation is now also where we carry out our work functions and this often makes reconciliation difficult.

The expert explains that “if we have been telecommuting in the last few months it is more likely that, if the holidays are at home, we will have thoughts related to the need to get started. This is because the different rooms of the house have been associated throughout this time with our professional responsibilities, acting as discriminating stimuli when we are there ”. To prevent this from happening, he recommends limiting the space we work in to one room, reserving all others for family and social activities.

Consequences of not disconnecting during the holidays

“The most important consequence is the persistence of stress which is directly associated with work. While stress is not inherently negative; when it ends up being held for too long, it promotes a series of physiological changes that can affect organs, systems and cognitive functions, ”says Mateu. In this sense, he points out that distress, as this damaging stress is called, can lead to difficulties with concentration or memorization, as well as disturbances in mood and quality of sleep.

Another consequence that emerges is burnout, which is linked to feelings of hopelessness, erosion of motivation, anxiety, depression and even possible depersonalization (reckless treatment of clients, patients, students. , etc.).

“Rest on vacation is a strategy that will allow us to better assume our responsibilities when we return to work and facilitate the necessary enrichment of our lives,” he concludes.

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