As we look to the New Year and a “new normal” version of work-life balance, many people are looking for ways to rest and reset.

Vanessa Bohns, a social psychologist and professor of organizational behavior, says there are ways – starting with intentional rest and recovery – to recalibrate after nearly two years of a pandemic-induced, always-on work mindset.

Bohns, author of “You Have More Influence Than You Think: How We Underestimate Our Power of Persuasion, and Why It Matters,” offers tips for getting 2022 off to a healthy start.

Bohns says:

“Trends in the data indicate that burnout is on the rise. In a 2018 survey, 23% of employees reported feeling burned out, but in a survey from 2020, the number was 41%.

“When we set goals for our time away from work, we tend to spend that time doing things that have been consistently shown to be associated with increased happiness and well-being, such as spending time with friends and family, or pursuing a new hobby. Indeed, research shows that simply anticipating and planning ahead for weekend or holiday plans can increase positive emotion, rather than waiting until we have some time off and then wondering what to do with it. 

“Taking breaks from work is crucial for both well-being and productivity. One simple thing we can do is to avoid sending work emails on weekends or holidays. Or, if we do feel the need to send a work email to get it off our own plate, clearly indicate that we don’t expect an immediate response from the recipient so that they can enjoy their time off without guilt.

“Many of us got into bad habits during the pandemic as we tried to fit in work whenever we had a chance, often at home, during the evening and on weekends. To reverse these trends, we need to reset and start to be more intentional about protecting time during our week for proactive recovery.”

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