Letting go of work over the holidays

December 16, 2011 2:07:06 PM PST
Most of us welcome a few days off around the holidays, but everyone can't leave work at the office, holidays or not.

Scott Bea is a psychologist at Cleveland Clinic. He says some people struggle with time-off.

"Because some people approach work in terms of a tension reduction strategy. As long as they're working they're able to reduce their tensions. When they step away they experience an increase in tension and they may actually be trying to solve work dilemmas when they're away from work. So, it takes some practice to let things go," he explained.

Dr. Bea says when people are engaged outside of work, like at a party, it's easier to let work go.

But he says when things quiet down, the work-a-holic will start checking the emails.

If this is you, Dr. Bea says you should try to recognize it's happening.

He says one of the first steps you can take to get it under control is to set limits on when you can answer emails or handle work-related issues during your off-time.

"Not looking just because you have an intrusive thought or impulse to check. This checking behavior becomes really consuming for people. It's really what obsessive-compulsive disorder is all about, so much of the time. So, having specific times when you look and times when you're absolutely not going to check your smart phone, your e-mail," he said.

Dr. Beas says you can also do some exercises at home to become more mindful.

Set aside five minutes in the morning and at night to sit quietly, notice your breathing, but also notice thoughts that come up and let them pass.

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