how to emotionally detach from work

How to Emotionally Detach from Work to Preserve Your Wellbeing

18 December 2019 | by Gina Lucia

I’m a highly sensitive introvert.

This means whatever I do, the work I produce, or the path I choose to pursue, it all gets attached to my emotions. 

It’s either a blessing or a curse.

If things go well, I feel like I’m on top of the world and my outlook on life is wonderful.

If it’s going badly (even if just for a day), it’s quite frankly, the opposite.

I can take things personally, overthink the simplest things and as a result, allow my emotions to be influenced by things I can’t control.

If you’re highly sensitive, you know where I’m coming from.

Even if you’re not, you’ve probably felt this way at least some point in your journey. 

So, to combat this, I’ve made the decision to detach myself emotionally from work to preserve my mental and emotional wellbeing

Don’t panic though, an explanation is coming…

working at desk

Why detaching from work emotionally… works

First, a disclaimer.

When I say ‘detach from work emotionally’, I’m not saying you should become a robot who doesn’t care about what you’re doing.

In fact, it’s the opposite (the points below illustrate this). 

By detaching emotions from certain aspects of your work, You’re allowing yourself to think objectively, serve others better and sustain your business while keeping your wellbeing in mind. 


Note: Also, when I say ‘work’, I’m talking about the stuff that gets you paid. Of course, there are some aspects of work this doesn’t apply to, so take what you like from this article and just apply that.

It helps you serve others better

When it comes to whatever you’re doing, the likelihood is, your work is in service of other people. 

Whether you’re a designer, an online guru, a photographer or writer, whatever you produce is made for somebody else.

emotionally detach service

When you attach your own emotions and sense of self to that work, it’s not really made for them, it’s for you.

Your goal should be to help and serve others in the best way possible, if you’re not, you’re letting your ego(your sense of self) get in the way.

By detaching your emotional sense of self from your work, you’re able to put others first and serve them better. 

It makes selling easier

When it comes to selling online, I know more than any introvert sales don’t come easy.

Going to networking events, sending emails to strangers, and making phone calls are all hard things to do.

I truly believe these are all hard because we’re attaching too much emotion to doing it. 

When you detach emotionally from these tasks, you:

  • No longer put emphasis on your nerves.
  • You ignore any shame or guilt you might be feeling.
  • And you view it as a process – it’s simply part of the job.

It’s okay to hate doing it.

You simply don’t have to like every aspect of your job!

It allows you to live your life outside of work

When you’re so invested emotionally in your work, it makes it very hard for you to have any emotional investment into anything else in life.

I can bet your hobbies have dwindled over the years because you’ve been focusing on work.

If this is the case, you’ve been doing yourself a great disservice.

have fun

Your emotional wellbeing depends on you having areas of your life that are pure fun.

When you detach emotionally from work (even just a little bit), it allows space in your mind for other fulfilling activities.

It helps you bounce back from setbacks

I can bet that if you’re an online business owner, your business is basically your life.

It’s your baby.

So if something were to happen to it, you’d feel devastated. 

When you’ve created something from scratch, it’s very hard to detach emotionally from it.

But you must place less emotional attachment to your creation because when it comes to setbacks (and they will probably happen), you need to be able to bounce back and keep that baby going.

When you’re not so attached, you can see clearly and objectively what went wrong and work to fix it quickly. 

emotionally detach from work

How to emotionally detach from work

So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

We’ve talked about why you should detach emotionally from work, now let’s talk about how.

Talk to someone who does it already

I bet there’s someone in your life who does a job that pays the bills so they can have the spare time to focus on the things they love outside of work.

ask a friend

Approach them gently and with caution.

Fill them in on your situation, be honest and tell them how you’re struggling and then ask them how they handle it.

You can bet they will have some nuggets of information that will help, and if not, you’ve just become closer to a friend for sharing. 

Be intentionally objective

One of the best ways to train your mind to detach your emotional self from work is to do it deliberately.

Once you’ve decided this is the path you want to take, take note of each situation that comes up and try to be as objective as possible.

be objective

For example:

  • A client doesn’t reply to an email as quickly as they usually do:
    • It’s not something you said, they’re just busy and they will get to it.
  • Someone leaves a rude comment on your video:
    • If it was constructive, use it to improve.
    • If it wasn’t, ignore it and go do something you love.
  • A customer sends you a personal complaint about your service:
    • Again, if it was constructive, use it to improve.
    • If it wasn’t, be polite but let it wash off your back.

Remember, you have the power to choose how you react to certain situations.

You can decide to let them influence your day, or you can use them as tools and grow.

Create your own mantras/phrases

If you need a little extra help in reminding yourself to not be so emotionally attached to work, here are a few phrases that could help:

  • I’m more than my work.
  • I will not let someone else have power over me.
  • I need to save my energy for the people I love.

Use these when you’re feeling low, stressed or anxious and if all else fails, tell a friend what you’re trying to do and let them help.

It’s time to establish your identity outside of work and approach the work you currently do a little more objectively.

As a highly sensitive person or just someone who’s struggling, you owe it to yourself to put your wellbeing first.

Are you trying to detach yourself emotionally from work?

Have any stories or tips you’d like to share?

Leave me a comment.

Illustration by Freepik Storyset


  1. Chris Benton

    19th December 2019 at 1:01 PM

    Really agree with your points. It is too easy to become too close to your business and you need a fresh perspective.

  2. Claudia

    10th December 2020 at 6:05 PM

    Thank you for taking the time to write this, Gina! It is just what I needed to read right now and start detaching myself from work.

    • Gina Lucia

      11th December 2020 at 9:41 AM

      Thank YOU so much for your comment. I hope it gives you some peace of mind!

  3. Jan

    30th September 2021 at 9:41 PM

    All of this rings so true with me, but I also need to emotionally distance myself from my boss, an ESTJ who is…well, an ESTJ.

    I care too deeply about my work, and that passion causes friction. It’s now at the point where I feel unsafe being fully honest with her (and she was a friend before she became my boss).

    There’s so much more I want to do with my life outside of my job. It seems like my only move is to do the work while keeping my head down and mouth shut. I feel as if I’m right on the edge of being betrayed, as dramatic as that might sound.

    • Gina Lucia

      1st October 2021 at 3:08 PM

      Ah I see what you mean Jan. Hopefully this article helps you then. I know for me, if I’m too attached to the thing I do for money, the rest of my life absolutely suffers. Working on yourself outside of work sounds like an excellent idea to me.

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