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Many people who are very committed professionally cannot turn off. After work and when falling asleep, thoughts still rotate. In the long run, this is neither healthy nor good for your private life. Solutions are urgently needed. 

In my coaching sessions it is always a recurring theme: stress and the ever-present thoughts about work that come with it. If you feel the same way, you know what I am talking about. And I know it too, by the way. For years I worked so much that I could hardly switch off. When I woke up at night, my thoughts immediately rotated around work and I had difficulty falling asleep again. That was really a stressful time, which I do not want to and will not experience again. 

However, the topic seems to be even more difficult for those who work in a home office. Work and private life are just too close together in this case. The computer is always available and the distance to work is also missing. For many people this commute helps to literally leave work behind. 

By the way, I now know so many tricks for better switching off, that I can’ t put them in one blog post, but have to cut them into two. 

Here are the first three ideas for you to try: 

  1. Develop a leaving ritual:
    Your head needs to understand that work is over now. You can help with a ritual. It could mean, for example, emptying your desk every night. Put your papers in a drawer, shut the computer down completely and put away all your pens and other supplies. Your ritual may also be quite different. It is important that you have one that sends a signal to you and your brain: No more work for today. This chapter of the day is closed. Whatever you do, it is important that you do it the same way every evening. Then, over time, it will act like a ” switch-off pill”.
  2. Write a ” turn-off report”:
    Some people find it difficult to put unfinished tasks aside. Yet the solution is not to work until everything is really done. Instead, I recommend that you write a little “report” for yourself every evening. Take 10 to 15 minutes of your time. You can write down what you have to do the next day. Also write down any unanswered questions and unsolved problems. If you think a lot about conversations with clients, for example, and you ponder on what didn’t work out, write down what happened and what you can do better next time. But also: What worked well and what do you want to enhance? With this report, you can forget about your thoughts for tonight. Tomorrow morning you can start again.
  3. Get some fresh air:
    If you don’t work at home, consider whether you can walk to work or ride your bike. If it is very far, consider getting off one stop earlier and walking the rest. In your home office, a walk around the house might help you simulate a walk home. Movement in fresh air will definitely help you. By the way, it’s not so much about sports, but about the steady, relaxed movement without input or distraction. It helps you clear your head. Thoughts about work may circle one last time for today. But then slowly you can calm down and say goodbye. Maybe you will even find a place on your walk where you can mentally deposit the work topics as if you were putting a briefcase down. Tomorrow is another day. Then you can pick up the mental briefcase again and continue thinking.

Approach slowly. You don’t have to implement all the tips at once. Instead, experiment with one or two at first. You may not like all the ideas either. Of course, that’s fine too. Pick the best ones. The important thing is not to ignore the topic, but to act on it as long as it does not become a constant burden. 

One more warning: If the inability to switch off becomes a permanent topic and sleep disorders are added regularly, this can be a sign of an impending burnout. By now, at the very latest, you should seek support from a doctor, therapist or specialist coach. 

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