Go confidently from work to play with a shut-down ritual 📿
Have you ever struggled to switch from work to play mode?
Maybe a crisis erupted during your workday and it consumed your thoughts long after work was over. Or a dauntingly large project with lots of complexities left you feeling so uneasy that you were unable to unwind.
On days like these, it can be hard to “turn off” work and get the mental rest and rejuvenation we need.
I know from experience.
I’m not proud to admit it, but I have ruined more than one weekend ruminating on *big deal* work projects…that a few months later, didn’t seem like that big of a deal at all!
And as the pandemic necessitated more people to work from home, the struggle to “shut off” on nights and weekends got even more challenging. The line between work and personal lives became blurred without having a physical building to walk away from at the end of the workday.
I experienced that very thing and it was absolutely exhausting! 😩
That is, until I instituted a shut-down ritual at the end of my day.
By taking just five minutes to end my day with purpose and intentionality, I’ve drastically reduced my stress levels. And in case I needed more proof, I noticed that my stress goes up on the days I skip my shut-down ritual.
By purposely uncluttering my mind, I feel primed to be present in my personal life…so I can actually enjoy it. If you struggle with knowing when to call it quits here are three of my favorite ways to confidently transition from work to play:
Quick Confidence Tips for Creating a Shut-down Ritual:
Embodied: Tidy your space. Did you know that a study by Princeton University reported that a cluttered, disorganized environment disrupts our ability to focus, lessens our capacity to process information, and ultimately keeps us from doing our best work? Yup, it’s true. That’s why it’s a great idea to carve out a moment or two to scan your immediate environment and see if you could put your items in their rightful place. Maybe that means putting items in a drawer or straightening up your desk. In my case, it means organizing my haphazard notes and papers into folders. “Future Me” is always relieved when it’s easy to find the right paper in a clearly labeled folder! For you, this might be a digital organization process, for example, closing Internet browser tabs or saving and closing documents.
Mindset: Acknowledge your “Done list.” In our obsession to be productive and focus on our to-do’s, we often forget to stop and reflect on what we’ve accomplished! So, before you close your computer or leave work, take a moment to look at your calendar or task list from the day. Then choose at least one win you’d like to savor, even if it’s tiny. This can mean giving yourself a nod for making some forward progress, completing a task, or even starting something you’ve been avoiding or putting off.
Interpersonal: Give someone else acknowledgment or recognition. My friend, Michael Felberbaum, a longtime mindfulness meditation practitioner, teacher and cofounder of Causativity.org offers this wonderful advice: He says ending our day with the acknowledgment of someone else’s contribution offers us closure and points toward hope. So to end your day in an intentional way, Michael recommends that you “reflect on someone who lightened your load”. Write a quick note to acknowledge them if you like. Especially when you have a heavy workload, this small act can offer closure and allow you to transition to wind-down mode. If it becomes a ritual, it offers as much or more closure than physical acts like powering down a device or leaving an office. I love this advice! In addition to acknowledging a “helper,” you can also simply recognize someone through encouragement. For example, adding a positive comment or reaction to their LinkedIn post or telling them you appreciate something about their work.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."
There's a sense of comfort that comes with giving ourselves permission to let go fully, knowing the world won’t fall apart and that we’ll actually be better equipped — mentally and emotionally — to tackle a new day.
Do you have a shut-down ritual? Let me know in the comments how you move confidently from work to your personal life!
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