Disconnect from Your Work Worries

Dreaming About Your Work? Or, Are Your Work Worries Keeping You Awake?

Young woman lying on bed with hands clasped on forehead, looking up in thought
Worried Woman with Insomnia. ZenShui/Frederic Cirou / Getty Images

Are you dreaming about your workplace during your sleep hours? Or, are your work worries giving you insomnia? You must have forgotten to shake off the "work-dust" before going to bed.

Dreaming isn't the best way to bring your work home with you. If you must bring your work home with you, keep it confined to paperwork tucked out-of-sight inside your briefcase. No one needs job-thoughts cluttering up his psyche.

Everyone has probably dreamt about their work at one time or another. For me, it has always been frustrating to wake up from a "work-related" dream only to realize that it was time to get out of bed, get dressed, and head off to another day at my job. Where's the rest?

What is Your Work-Anxiety Dream Telling You?

Dreaming about your job is far from restful. And unless you are one of those rare individuals who loves your job the dream is probably anxiety driven. Something upsetting must be going on at work that you were unable to "disconnect" from before entering your personal space. The dream is a message that it is time to bring a better balance into your living. It is important to have well defined boundaries between your personal life and your work life.

The worst on-the-job dream I ever had was when I was in my twenties. I was employed as a meat-wrapper at a meat counter in a supermarket.

The pork ribs had been on sale that day and I had probably wrapped up at least fifty orders for customers. Each order had to be double-wrapped because the boney ribs would rip through the first layer of butcher paper. That night, in my exhaustion, I found myself double-wrapping pork ribs during my dream state (or rather in my nightmare).

I always envied the coworkers who could easily leave their work day behind them at the punch of the time card. Oh, I punched a time card just like everyone else did from that office. But the only thing that I left behind me was the card that got punched. I had a difficult time dumping from my mind any duties left unfinished on my desk that day that I would be facing the next morning at work. It took more that stepping outside of that building to get work off of my mind.

Disconnect: Shaking off the "Work-Dust"

I soon learned that the best way for me to shake off any work anxiousness after returning home would be to take a quick shower or indulge in a more-lingering bathtub soak. Afterwards, I would put on some comfortable clothing and head off to the kitchen to begin preparing supper for my family. I simply could not easily transition from work into the home without that ritual of washing off the "work-dust."

On days when a bath or shower before supper were out of the question because of hectic family schedules I would sense a stressful tightness creeping into my neck and shoulders throughout the evening. Before retiring to bed each evening, I made certain that my delayed bath ritual would eventually take place to ease those tightened muscles.

Having this alone time for myself helped me to unwind and release any lingering thoughts about things left undone at the office that would need my attention later.

Although a cleansing bath works for me, I realize that a bath or shower isn't the answer for shaking of the "work-dust" for everyone. I know of one man who rides the city bus to work each day. He makes it a habit of getting off the bus two stops earlier on his return ride home. This enables him to walk off his "work-dust." A few blocks of walking amidst the fresh air helps him transition from work to home.

Even though I no longer work at an office outside of my home, I will occasionally revisit my old workplace during my slumber. What a relief to wake up and realize that I haven't worked at that place in years. But it does make me wonder why that particular dream theme has surfaced.

My best guess is that a message is being conveyed to me that my work and personal boundaries are getting blurred.

Defining Boundaries Between Your Work Place and Your Personal Space

It can be especially difficult for people with home offices to have well-defined boundaries between work and personal spaces. Since I'm now self-employed and work out of my home office I understand this all too well. Were I to have a work-anxiety dream about my current workplace upon waking and taking a few footsteps across the hallway from my bedroom I'd find myself right smack in the middle of my dream scene--my home office! It can be tricky for the self-employed individual to separate his work and personal spaces.

My sister once told me about a friend of hers who simply could not handle operating a home office. This woman would sometimes get caught up in her work so much that she tended to neglect her family. At other times she would find it difficult to stay on task with the many home life interruptions. Her family life was disrupted enough that the woman ended up renovating their garage into her office. She would lock herself in and out of her office during predetermined hours. Basically, she had to create a physical boundary of a "locked door" so that she could leave work behind her and go home to her family. I'm glad she recognized her need for clear boundaries and found a remedy.

Home offices are often operated 24/7 by workaholics. Weekends? What is that? Why won't mommy or daddy come out of the office to spend some quality time with the kiddies?

Even if you don't have a spouse or children who would like you to spend more time with them, how about your Me-Time? Please don't get swallowed up with your work and forget to take breaks.

Finding Ways to Disconnect from Those Nagging Job-Thoughts

It's not a good habit to bring your work concerns home with you, mentally or otherwise. Get creative and find a daily ritual that helps you to disconnect from your job-thoughts and bring more balance to your life. Shoot some hoops, play with your cat, take a brisk walk in the fresh air, refresh your mind/body with a quick shower. Do yourself a favor and keep trying different things until you find whatever action works best to help you shake off that "work-dust." Good luck and sweet dreams!

You might also like:

  • How to Deal with a Difficult Boss
  • Managing Your Job Stresses

Copyright Feb 07 2006 © Phylameana lila Désy

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Desy, Phylameana lila. "Disconnect from Your Work Worries." ThoughtCo, Jul. 23, 2016, thoughtco.com/disconnect-from-work-worries-1732102. Desy, Phylameana lila. (2016, July 23). Disconnect from Your Work Worries. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/disconnect-from-work-worries-1732102 Desy, Phylameana lila. "Disconnect from Your Work Worries." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/disconnect-from-work-worries-1732102 (accessed November 23, 2017).