Transition from Work Routine
As a RN in the Intensive Care Unit I experienced some gnarly stuff on a daily basis. Caring for people on life support with all sorts of tubes and drains in their bodies, consoling family members in unthinkable pain after losing a loved one, concentrating so hard for 10 hours straight to ensure I didn’t miss a thing. At the end of these shifts I was done. I was an exhausted, stressed out, shell of a human. I would get home and it would take me hours to unwind, replaying things I did or didn’t do in my head and processing the events of the day.
I still do this even in a very different job setting. (When running your own business the lines between work and not work can get really blurry, ya know?) Or I guess I did do this until a few years ago when a practitioner suggested I start a “transition from work routine.” It was really evident that I was carrying around my physical and emotional stress from the work day into my hours spent outside of work. It was taking a toll on my body and mind as I was never really able to turn “off.”
I started a new routine so that when I came home from work I would really intentionally “transition” into the rest of my day. For me this looked like taking a shower with really nice smelling soap and burning some incense/sage while honoring what I did that day and moving on. It’s not like it erased the day, but it allowed me to get into a different headspace where I was able to be present and enjoy the rest of my day before bed without replaying everything I had just done and living in the past.
This transition from work is a simple practice I now encourage all of my health coaching clients to implement. Most of us are busy, stressed and overworked and find it really hard to turn off. We may look forward to getting home after work all day (is it 5:00 yet?) but then proceed to check emails and carry the stress of the work day around with us consciously or unconsciously. (I say unconsciously because sometimes I would think I was just fine and would weep at a touching soft drink commercial because I hadn’t really processed my emotional stress from the previous work days. Please tell me I’m not the only one that does this?). This stress can seep into all areas of life outside of work and affect relationships, mood, sleep quality, health and how you show up as a human in your everyday life.
This transition from work routine will look really different for each person. The only thing required is that you do it mindfully, and with intention. Some ideas for a transition from work routine:
Change into comfortable clothing
Take a relaxing shower or bath
Burn sage or incense to clear space
Breathe in some relaxing essential oils
Deep belly breathing (watch my 4-7-8 breathing video here >>) for 5 minutes
Guided meditation (these are easier if you find it really hard to sit in silence after the work day. I like these ones from Deepak Chopra >>)
Write down some of the most stressful things you experienced in a journal so they aren’t swirling in your head all night.
Light some candles and relax for 10 minutes
Make a cup of tea
Do some hamstring stretches to release stuck energy
Lay on your back with your legs up the wall for a few minutes
It doesn’t have to be anything long or fancy, it just has to work for you. These small shifts make the biggest difference. Try this for the next week and let me know how it goes for you!
If you want to talk more about mindful stress reduction and how to make it work in your life, I offer free 30-minute discovery sessions. Schedule yours by clicking on the button below!