I've learnt to turn off my phone | Verity Lush

The human need to recharge batteries is a very real one.  These folk who live by a work hard, play hard motto, have clearly never met my children nor savoured the depths of a real rest.

Saturday, 2nd November 2019, 6:00 am
An 'always on' work culture driven by e-mails and out-of-hours calls is taking its toll on people's mental health and their ability to juggle their personal life, according to research.

I’ve experienced a job where it’s all-consuming.

The e-mails kept flooding in all day and night. Texts, too. And I mean quite literally all day – I’d wake to find e-mails that had been sent at 4am.

The sense of being on-call is addictive.

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I’d sit on the sofa trying to relax at night, checking e-mails, and feeling jittery if I tried to not work and just chill out for a few hours.

Fortunately, I now work in a place where people work smarter, where well-being has an emphasis, and where, much as there are simply never going to be enough hours in the day, I have learnt the importance of balance.

I also learnt the lesson to turn my work e-mails off on my phone, or to not have my work on it in the first place.

There is something about seeing the little red numbers of unanswered e-mails clocking up that can leave you on edge, even if you’re trying not to think about them.

If you have children, then trying to read them a story while you’re also trying to consciously ignore – and therefore cannot ignore – the incessant pinging on the phone, is dismal.

I once did not reply to a text at 5.30pm on a Saturday evening because I was playing with my kids.

I got another at 6pm asking if I was okay.

As if maybe, rather than just having a life and not immediately answering a non-urgent work text on a day I did not work, I must have ended up in A&E, or maybe even just dead, as opposed to just being busy living.

This – plus a text on Christmas Day – was the final wake-up call.

Enough was enough.

Of course, there are those who may thrive off this kind of in-demand immediacy of living.

But there is something to be said anyway for biding your time and thinking carefully with reflection before giving your response.


Censoring a tame Christmas classic is just a step too far

John Legend and Kelly Clarkson have updated the Christmas classic, Baby It’s Cold Outside, to reflect the era of #metoo.

For the love of all that is festive, what is this nonsense?

Clarkson now warbles, ‘If I have one more drink?’ While simpering Legend responds, ‘It’s your body, and your choice.’ Eye roll.

Baby It’s Cold Outside is a product of its time and the wry ‘what’s in this drink?’ inference is just that – wry – not literally suggestive of being drugged.

In the face of Drill and Grime music, which is littered with violent misogyny, I hardly think censoring a tame Christmas classic, just so Legend doesn’t get his snowballs broken by his fans, is a priority.


Disturbing truth behind the impact of stress on the body

I have a watch with a heart-rate monitor for running but I’ve never taken much notice of the heart aspect.

However, I was somewhat disturbed when, during our recent house move hell, my resting heart-rate gradually crept up by 10 beats per minute. It usually sits at around 56 – 58, but as every ‘will we exchange today?’ date came and then went, up went my bpm accordingly.

I convinced myself this was a coincidence but, now that the estate agents are far behind me, my bpm have indeed dropped down and down, back to normal.

This was a real insight into the direct effects of stress on the body internally as opposed to the anxiety you feel yourself.

Fascinating and disturbing.