When you’re not on the clock, you need to hang your work hat outside and leave it there. But that’s easier said than done. If you’re plagued by thoughts about work when you’re supposed to be enjoying your time off, consider trying some of these tactics for taking your mind off of work — completely.
1. Break a sweat
Got a work problem you can’t let go of? Jumping into some physical activity will help blow off steam and give you a little endorphin boost. Plus, it’s hard to think about work when you’re gasping for air.
2. Get creative
Creating can be therapeutic, whether it’s through visual media, writing, or dance. If you believe you don’t have a single creative gene in your body, give coloring a try. Coloring for adults is gaining in popularity and there’s a growing selection of Fine Art coloring books, such as these by illustrator Johanna Basford. Another interesting twist on coloring is a form of doodling called Zentangle. All you really need is a piece of paper and a pencil to get started. When it comes to doodling, there’s no such thing as a mistake.
3. Watch a marathon of your favorite show
If you have the time, watching an entire season of Downton Abbey or Orange Is The New Black is like taking a vacation from your everyday life. Commit to it. Don’t feel guilty. Include blankets and snacks. Live in someone else’s world for a while.
4. Meet up with friends
Preferably, these are funny friends who make you laugh so hard that what you’re drinking comes out of your nose. Spending time with great friends who encourage and celebrate you will make you feel re-connected, to them and to yourself.
5. Do something outside
Get those weeds under control or go for a hike or swim. Connecting with nature is an effective way to let go of work concerns or frustrations. It can help you remember that there’s a big world out there full of small wonders.
Taking a nap is a simple, pleasurable luxury that few of us afford ourselves. A nap can refresh and reenergize. And who can think about work when they’re sleeping?
7. Organize a closet or other area of your home
When you complete a hands-on task like organizing your entry way closet or cleaning out your junk drawer, you can immerse yourself in the project and think of little else. And you come away with the satisfaction of having tackled an area of your home that you usually ignore.
8. Clean out your email
That includes deleting all junk mail. But don’t stop there. Take the extra step to unsubscribe from all of those sales emails that clutter your inbox.
9. Pet a pup
A dog is a comforting reminder to let go of our worries and revel in a little unconditional love.
10. Spend some time with kids
Children naturally become invested in whatever it is they’re doing, playing or exploring. Give a child a stick and a patch of dirt and they’ll show you how to be present, in the moment, discovering something new.
How do you take your mind off of work? What keeps your brain from kicking into overdrive?