How to switch off from work

Share This Post

Brain stuck at work, despite having physically left the office? Struggling to ‘switch off’?

It’s a problem Counselling Psychotherapist Dr Karen Phillip works with “far too often”.

“We now live in a different world where we are all contactable 24/7 meaning the work, personal and home life boundaries are intertwined,” she explains. 

“This is creating considerable mental health and relationship issues throughout the community.”

And the problems don’t end there.

According to research cited in Leisure Studies back in 2009, “failure to successfully unwind and switch-off from work has been associated with a number of health-related problems”, including sleep disturbance, dysphoria and cardiovascular disease.

I can switch off, can’t you?

Interestingly, the Leisure Studies research revealed stark differences between those who could and couldn’t easily switch off from work.

The latter viewed their work-life boundary as “blurred”, whereas the former “viewed their work and leisure as two distinct spheres”.

“People that have found the ability to switch off either have jobs where they are not expected or needed to be on call or have discovered a way to balance their work and personal life in a healthy manner,” says Dr Phillip, who is unrelated to the study.

Brain, it’s time to go home!

So how exactly do you flick the switch?

Dr Phillip says it depends on the profession. You may also work from home, for example. However, she adds “the basics remain the same”. Here are her tips, along with some inspired by the Leisure Studies research:

  • Restrict ‘work technology’ – “Once home, place your phone on silent and turn it upside down so you can’t see the screen,” says Dr Phillip.
  • Embrace ‘leisure technology’ – According to the Leisure Studies paper, those who switch off with ease use technology to help them unwind.
  • Check in once, if you must – “If needed, check your phone for 15 minutes at 7.30 pm (or once a night) and return any urgent calls or emails (same applies to social media as well),” advises Dr Phillip.
  • Change outfits – Says Dr Phillip: “If in a work uniform or you wear an identity lancet, take it off. Leave them, plus the hat, keys, bag, shoes, work jacket [and] computer in a cupboard or container at the door.”
  • Consciously switch off – “Before you [enter] your front gate, stop, sit, breathe and leave the work, the events and the people there, before you go inside your home,” she adds.
  • Spread the word – “Advise clients and colleagues your time is valued as is your life and you are now placing some respectful boundaries around your life,” recommends Dr Phillip.
  • Manage work conversation – According to the Leisure Studies paper, the switching off ‘experts’ “could remain emotionally detached from work, even if a work-related thought was triggered … in one case an individual reported that he would actively steer a conversation away from work-related issues when socialising”.

Ultimately, says Dr Phillip, “home is your sanctity, your safe place, and with this comes boundaries that need to be enforced”.



Wealthness Pty Ltd ABN 13 231 248 112 [t/a Better Financial Planning Australia] is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL No. 236523. It is important to be aware that Better Financial Planning Australia is not authorised by Infocus to provide advice relating to credit services or property advice. Infocus is not responsible for any advice outside of the scope of this authorisation and should you wish to act on any of this general information, please first seek professional financial advice.
Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia will endeavour to update the website as needed. However, information can change without notice and Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia does not guarantee the accuracy of information on the website, including information provided by third parties, at any time.

This information is of a general nature only and neither represents nor is intended to be specific advice on any particular matter. Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd strongly suggests that no person should act specifically on the basis of the information contained herein but should seek appropriate professional advice based upon their own personal circumstances. Although we consider the sources for this material reliable, no warranty is given and no liability is accepted for any statement or opinion or for any error or omission.
Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia does not give any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of information which is contained
in this website. Except insofar as any liability under statute cannot be excluded, Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia and its employees do not accept any liability for any error or omission on this website or for any resulting loss or damage suffered by the recipient or any other person.
Wealthness Pty Ltd (ACN 613 313 250) [t/a Better Financial Planning Australia] Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL Licence No. 236523.

Source: BT HealthLogix

More To Explore

Teaching kids about money

Start early to get your kids on track for the future Raising your kids to be smart with money gives them vital life skills. As

Banking and credit scams

How to spot a scam and protect yourself against scammers If someone asks you to verify or give your personal details or offers you a


Our Podcast ‘Sharing More Than The Sheets’ is designed to help Australians like you, DO BETTER, BE BETTER and FEEL BETTER with your finances.