#5: Disconnecting after work

Disconnecting after work: Episode Notes

This episode of the Stepsero podcast is about disconnecting after work and finding the right mental balance. With mental health being such a personal matter, individuals need to focus on themselves and the reasons why they are not feeling well in the first place.

In the first part of the conversation Mirela speaks openly about the chance to address mental health concerns from the very recruitment phase. She also brings our attention to a UK survey where 56% of respondents would not hire someone with depression despite having the right skills for the job (see our References section).

In the second part of the episode we touch upon ways in which individuals can take a break from stressful situations, and specifically the importance of disconnecting after work. Below are a few take aways:

  • Disconnect in order to reconnect.
  • Look back at what you already tried and examine why it didn’t work.
  • Find your own balance. Do not embrace any solution just because others told you it would work. Take the time to listen to yourself and discover what works for you.
  • Mindfulness does not come through meditation only. Look for alternatives that suit your mood or your personality. In this sense, taking a bath, listening to music, going for a walk or just being silent can be as effective.
  • Connect with people in person or on the phone, attend parties and social events. When you engage in social interactions you have a better chance at regulating your emotions compared to when you are working. 
  • Exercise regularly and take up activities that are new to you.
  • Set boundaries. Resist the temptation to check your phone or answer work emails unless it is an emergency.
For individuals who are required to make constant cognitive efforts (such as knowledge workers in Tech), activities related to challenges and learning new skills can be highly beneficial. Here are some suggestions:
  • Code and learn new softwares.
  • Attend courses.
  • Learn a new language.
  • Learn how to play an instrument.

Our Guest: Mirela Tocco

Mirela Tocco Profile Picture

Mirela is a psychologist with professional experience both in HR and clinical psychology. Following the beginning of her career in HR, she started facilitating peer support groups for people diagnosed mainly with schizophrenia, with a focus on individuals dealing with social stigma on a daily basis.
Currently, she works as an IT recruiter for tech startups, and she is also providing psychological counseling in her private practice for cross-cultural, TCK, and global nomads. Thanks to her background, she realized that there is still a big stigma around mental health in the workplace. More specifically, she sees a lack of  psychological safety in business environments, which is the reason why individuals may put on a mask and set their feelings aside, further aggravating the stigma itself.
Ultimately, Mirela wishes to improve the wellbeing of individuals, to the point that mental health finally gets the same visibility and recognition that physical health has.



Mirela Tocco Linkedin profile

Time to Change – Mental Health Awareness week 2020 (PDF file)
(Pag. 7 to see the exact reference to the mentioned survey)

Papers recommended by Mirela:

Fehrmann C & Depenbrock F (2014). Recovery from Work-Related Stress: A literature review. Maastricht Student Journal of Psychology and Neuroscience. 3, 85-96. 

Colombo, V. & Cifre, E. (2012). La Importancia de Recuperarse del Trabajo: Una Revisión del Dónde, Cómo y Por Qué. Papeles del Psicólogo, 33(2), 129-137. 

Hu, X., Santuzzi, A. & Barber, L. (2019). Disconnecting to Detach: The Role of Impaired Recovery in Negative Consequences of Workplace Telepressure. Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 35(1), 9-15.

Verbeek, J. et al. (2019) Interventions to Enhance Recovery in Healthy Workers; a Scoping Review. Occupational Medicine, 69, 54-63.