Why it's important to “unplug” from work, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic

09/30/2020

A lot of people are working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic—even if that means trying to finish projects while their kids are clamoring for attention. Those who do go to work have to wear masks, practice social distancing, and wash their hands frequently. In other words, the new normal is different—and stressful.

Stress upon stress

There are so many things about the current situation that are stressful, from trying to protect loved ones to worrying about family or friends who are sick. Even everyday activities like shopping and exercising can cause great anxiety. Add to that the fact that most people frequently experience some level of job-related stress, and it should be clear that having higher than normal anxiety levels is completely understandable.

Risking burnout

At the same time, many employees who are working from home are finding it increasingly difficult to unplug from work. After all, it’s all too easy to quickly fire off a couple of emails after dinner or try to finish a project in the evening when it’s nice and quiet. Plus, it might seem pointless to try to have fun, since everything’s closed.

However, if you think like this, you can never unplug. And according to Inc., if you keep pushing yourself through too many hours of work, your brain will push back. You become less focused, less creative, and less able to complete tasks that used to be routine.

Unfortunately, that often results in even more attempts to push harder, which ultimately leads to burnout—a state of mental and physical exhaustion that can make you feel disengaged and depressed, and ultimately seriously impact your performance and productivity. 

Plan a staycation

CNBC reports that just like athletes allow their bodies to recover to become faster, stronger, or more agile, we need to allow our brains to recover to become more creative and productive.

So how can you do that during lockdown?

By planning a staycation. Of course, a staycation now will look a little different from a normal one because many recreational facilities are closed, but there are still plenty of things to do. Here’s a short list of suggestions:

  • Make a list of movies you’ve always wanted to see and watch them all.
  • Make a list of books you’ve always wanted to read and read them all.
  • Learn a new hobby. There are plenty of videos online to help you learn anything from yoga and gardening to creating graphic novels and upgrading your car.
  • Get moving. Hiking is a brilliant way to unplug—it gets you away from screens and out into nature. Alltrails.com features more than 100,000 trails and provides in-depth information about them, along with photos—all from other outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Do a home makeover. If you’ve been wanting to give your living room a new look, why not use your vacation days? Go to Instagram or Pinterest for some great decorating ideas, use a combination of online auctions and DIY stores to get all of the supplies you need—and get busy!

At Kelly, we believe everyone should reach their full potential in work and in life. In today’s landscape, all signs point to this: You need to recharge so you can be happy and productive at work and at home. So schedule yourself some time off and really disengage from work, and you’ll be able to return refreshed and ready to go.

If you like this article and want related career content, visit our career resource center.

 

Sources:

https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/why-taking-time-off-is-good-for-your-brain.html

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/22/why-its-still-important-to-take-days-off-work-while-in-lockdown.html

https://www.alltrails.com

 

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