Many people have problems with their work-life balance and those working in general practice are particularly susceptible to struggling to switch-off from work in their own time due to the high pressure environment they work in.
With the health service facing challenges from staff shortages to patient satisfaction, it’s more important than ever that staff are getting the headspace needed to ensure they’re functioning to the best of their ability when at work.
Richard Holmes, director of wellbeing at Westfield Health, shares his top tips for switching off from work
Turn off your mobile and resist checking your emails or, if you must, put aside ten minutes (be strict!) at the beginning or the end of the day. Being connected all of the time will lead to stress and adrenaline at a time when you’re supposed to be relaxing.
Create a routine and stick to it
Working long hours outside of the 9 to 5 can make this difficult but setting aside time each day for activities like exercise, relaxation and sleep will mean you’re more likely to do it. It also ensures you’re setting aside set periods of the day when you won’t be working.
It’s OK to say no
Just because someone asks you to take on an extra task or responsibility doesn’t mean you have to. Respectfully saying ‘No’ is OK, especially if you already have a heavy workload. Saying ‘Yes’ to everything is a slippery slope to more unhappiness.
Work smarter, not harder
A healthy work-life balance is a key way to protect against the detrimental effects of work-related stress. Working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll do more or better work. It’s better to prioritise your workload and stick to set times for tasks. Try not to get sucked into less productive activities which take lots of time, such as trivial and unstructured meetings.
Don’t bring work home
When you leave the office leave your work with it. For closure, visualise yourself stopping work and leaving, and don’t take your laptop home with you. To help with this, take five minutes at the end of the day to write a list of tasks you need to work on tomorrow to ensure you’re not worrying about the next day before it’s even begun.
By implementing these tactics you’ll notice a real difference in your ability to de-stress, relax and, most importantly, enjoy a better work-life balance.