In our regular spot where we chat about mental health and wellbeing, a few thoughts about trying not to take work home with you.

Hello and welcome to Mental Health & Wellbeing Matters, our little bit of the Film Stories site where we talk about mental health and wellbeing.

If you’ve not read one of these pieces before, it’s a place where we write about things that may be affecting you, us, or people around us. We work on simple rules: not every article we run is going to be of use to everyone, but hopefully across this series, there’s something that’s of use to you. And also, comments are very welcome, and appreciated.

A few words this time then, on the eve of a four day holiday period in the UK, about taking a bit of time. Appreciating it’s not possible for everyone to actually take time off, this is more about putting boundaries of sorts in place to stop work seeping into non-work ideas. I’m as guilty of this as anyone, and especially as lots of us adapting to working from home, the lines feel more blurred than ever. But I do believe giving your brain non-work space is really important.

If I can, might I offer just one or two things that may or may not be of use.

  • Your phone is deadly. Can you not have your work email account on it for instance, unless it’s a work phone?
  • Mute work WhatsApp groups when you want to make sure you’re away from office mindset for at least a few hours
  • If you work with a tool such as Slack for work communication, again: do you really want/need it on your phone? Can you silence it at certain times of the day?
  • Laptops and computers aren’t much more help. Know that once you log into your work email, you’re in that mindset. What if you find a message about something that needs doing? Are you the kind of person who’ll instantly have to do it? If so, just be wary of logging in at all.
  • Block out some times on the calendar. If a meeting/event is booked in on a day when you have something else planned, try and put a boundary in there. It’s not always possible, of course, but at least raise it if you can.

As I get older and more cantankerous, I’m a real believer in at some points, you just have to stop working. That you need to put things in that at least equate to some downtime.

I’m lucky that I really enjoy what I do, and to many extents it’s my hobby too. But I’ve got quite careful about slicing off things that are just for me. That are bits of time that are reserved for non-work stuff. It’s not perfect, and I’ve been in a job where that’s near-impossible. But every little bit did seem to help.

You all take care. Thanks, as always, for reading. This column returns next week.

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