But what happens when you can’t even physically leave work at work?
Since the pandemic many of us are working from home and the lines between work life and home life have become muddied. Pre-pandemic, you may have drove or rode your bike home to create a clear transition between work ending and your home life starting. But now, when you can throw in a load of laundry between zoom calls, and wear pajama pants all day, it can easily get mixed up and feel like neither ever ends.
Although there are some great benefits to working from home (like throwing in a load of laundry between Zoom calls saving you time from doing all 8 loads on the weekend), the downfall is that the lack of boundaries can feel like neither ever ends. Work is accessible 24/7 and housework is always staring you in the face like an expectant toddler impatiently waiting for you to do something for them.
Small rituals at the end of your day help create clear boundaries that mark the end of one part of your life and the start of the other. This allows you the freedom to release one part of your day and enter the other fully.
Without them, our stress continues to snowball throughout the day until you finally take it home with you and it cloaks everything and everyone with its choking tension.
Creating clear transitions stops the snowball effect keeping stress levels down and allows you to be present instead of distracted.
Here’s 9 of my favourite small rituals to end the workday:
- Mindfully close your laptop and lights signalling that the workday is over. Doing the same thing repeatedly with it meaning something becomes a mental trigger for your mind to transition from one task to the next.
- Go for a walk. For me, my workday ends when Magnus’s school day ends. Getting outside for a walk is a natural transition that creates space from one part of the day and helps prepare for the next part with family.
- Meditate for a few minutes. Take a few minutes to clear your mental clutter, let go of the day you’ve had, and allow space for the day ahead so you are open and ready.
- Deep breathing. Pranayama (breathing exercises) is surprisingly powerful at changing your state, clearing your mind, and becoming focused and calm. This small act has the power to change your life.
- Yoga or stretching. A few minutes of yoga or stretching moves the stagnant energy in your body, “un-slouches” your body, and increases energy while calming your mind so you are ready for whatever happens next.
- Planning for the day ahead. A few minutes of reflecting on the workday tomorrow and putting it to paper means you can put it down and move on with your day now.
- Listening to something uplifting. This might be music or a podcast, it doesn’t matter, as long as you feel energized, enlivened, and inspired by it.
- Change your clothes. We have different clothes for the different roles we play and the things we do in them. Changing your clothes at the end of the day is a physical symbol of work ending and home life starting.
- Tidying up your workspace. Tidying up for a few minutes, means putting things away including any work-related issues and thoughts. Time for a fresh start after work and a clean slate for the morning.
Whatever ritual you choose, it helps to do consistently so your mind learns to anticipate the behavior to automatically transition from one part of your day to the next.
I’ve shared this tool with tonnes of my clients over the years and this has always been one of their favourites in relieving stress while creating balance and harmony at home.
I’d love to hear from you now! Do you use a ritual to end your workday? If not, would you try one of the ones above, and which one resonates with you most? Tell me all about it in the comments below!