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Study: Checking Work Emails During Off Hours Causes Anxiety, Relationship Strain

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – New research shows the potential dangers of checking work emails when you're not working.

The research says it's important to have downtime, so when you work during your off hours, it can take a toll on your health.

When you're home or someplace away from work but checking work emails, it can cause great anxiety, according to the new research.

"The expectation that you be available either via email or text or phone or whatever creates stress and strain on people even if nobody ever contacts them," said Joseph Rock of the Cleveland Clinic. "Just the idea that they have to be in that situation it keeps a level of vigilance and a level of tension going on with them."

The study found that people who check work emails after hours experienced anxiety and relationship strain with their significant others.

Even when employees did not engage in actual work during their off hours, they still had negative health effects.

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Doctors say our brains are naturally wired for short periods of stress, and long periods of recuperation.

When you work at home a lot it interrupts the brain's ability to recuperate, putting people on edge all the time and many don't even realize it.

Experts say it's important to find balance and establish boundaries.

"My phone [is] going to stay in the office when we're eating dinner," said Rock. "After 7 o'clock, I'm turning it down, and even if I go check it later for a few minutes, there's going to be a period of time that I'm not available so I can actually be where I am with you guys, instead of being with you, but distracted with something else."

Researchers say feeling like you're always on-call can affect people both emotionally and physically.

Experts say this is a habit that many already have established so breaking the pattern can be difficult. They suggest having a conversation with your boss or manager so they know what's going on.

They say downtime needs to be work-free.

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