Ask the Therapist: I struggle to disconnect from work

Dr Annette Schonder
Filed on November 19, 2020 | Last updated on March 19, 2021 at 02.00 pm

To maintain good physical and mental health, it is important to have work-life balance.

My job keeps me on the edge — to the point that I am unable to disconnect even after work hours. What can I do? — Name Withheld

Dear Writer,

I am glad to read that you are recognising the need to disconnect from your job after work hours.

To maintain good physical and mental health, it is important to have work-life balance. If you do not achieve this balance, you run the risk of setting yourself up for hypertension, heart disease, depression, anxiety or burnout syndrome. You also risk distancing yourself from your family, loved ones and friends. Not having meaningful social interactions with them will eventually have a negative impact on the relationships with negative consequences.

It is very important that you have a set time in your day when you put work aside. What I mean by that is to disconnect mentally and digitally. Initially, you might have the urge to check your email and messages. You need to refrain from doing this. You need to do something else instead, even if it is a household chore, to begin to break the habit. At first, it is likely that you will feel anxiety, loneliness, or boredom, because your preoccupation with work has filled your time, and possibly warded off fears about job performance. However, this is an important first step.

I’d also encourage you to think about what you would like to do after work to increase enjoyment in life and clear your mind from work-related thoughts. Many professionals will clear their minds with exercise, even if it is just a short walk, or some yoga, or a proper trip to the gym. Since you are a unique individual, only you will know what you find enjoyable. Have a look at hobbies you might enjoy, people you would want to spend time with, recreational activities, mindfulness and meditation. Wishing you better mental health.

Doctor Annette

Dr. Annette is an integrated therapist at