I Turned Off My Most Stressful Notifications, and After 2 Weeks, I Already Feel Calmer

It never used to bother me when emails came rolling in after hours. For one thing, it comes with the job when you work in media; they mean it when they say the news cycle never ends. Plus, living in Dubai, I'm used to getting alerts from co-workers a few time zones ahead. So, sometimes I'd scroll through their early-morning Slack messages on my commute, chiming in with ideas while I booted up for the day.

Flash forward a few months and I don't even have a commute anymore. Now when I get an email at 7 a.m. or on a Saturday afternoon, there's really nothing to stop me from pulling out my laptop and hopping online. And even if the computer stays closed, it's like the the notification is still buzzing in the back of my mind, needing to be dealt with.

It doesn't help that after five months of work-from-home, my work-life balance is completely shot. I've been pushing back the end of the workday later and later (so easy to do when you're at home all day), and it leaves me exhausted and strung-out at night. The next morning, the anxiety starts before I'm even out of bed, when I turn off my alarm and the first thing I see are those emails and Slack notifications. Then I look up at my desk, where I'll be sitting for the next eight hours, and my computer, waiting to suck me in. I'm learning that when you work where you sleep, eat, exercise, and relax, it feels like your whole life is one endless Sunday morning with no weekends in sight.

Finally, when the anxiety started bleeding into weekends and PTO days, I decided something had to change. This was unsustainable; I couldn't be stressed every waking hour. And I realized there was one easy, at least partial solution, which involved just a few taps on my phone.

I'm learning that when you work where you sleep, eat, exercise, and relax, it feels like your whole life is one endless Sunday morning with no weekends in sight.

I pulled up my notification settings and, starting with Slack, began turning them off one by one. Facebook? Gone. Twitter? Nope. Email? I hesitated, then pressed the button. I felt a little lighter with each tap. Any notification that caused a bubble of stress in my throat got powered off, from work to social media. The only apps I let ping me were the barest essentials, like texting and phone calls, or the ones that were pure fun, like YouTube and TikTok. And just like that, my phone went quiet.

In the two weeks since, something unexpected has happened. Before, I barely noticed my habit of toting my phone from room to room, and its constant presence made it easy to constantly glance down, catch a notification, and get sucked into an email or social media hole. But now that it wasn't buzzing me all the time, there was no reason for me to have it an inch from my hand all day. Now I'll go hours without looking at my phone, sometimes leaving it in a different room or on silent all day. In breaking up with my most stressful notifications, I've also gotten less dependent on my phone in general.

Yes, there are still days when I'll need to check my email or messages after dinner, but I try to be aware aheadRead More – Source