Ever find yourself thinking about work at home or vice versa? As a leader under high pressure it can sometimes be challenging to switch off when you walk in the door at the end of the day, or worst still when you jump into bed at night!!
The brain LOVES to think over (or overthink!!) events of the day and will do this unless you consciously take steps to manage this and be fully present wherever you are.
There are several strategies which are very effective in reducing the impact of these thoughts and will allow you to enjoy your life more at home. I’ve labelled these the four Rs to help you remember them.
Routines - these are so important because they tell your brain what needs to be your focus and when. When you set aside time for the important things in your life your brain can rest knowing it will get time to think or deal with events at a designated time. For instance, writing a ‘to do’ list before you leave work each day can really help your mind let go of the day knowing it can return to dealing with any pressing issues whenever you’ve scheduled them in for tomorrow.
Rituals - are symbols to your mind that tell it to relax also. Having rituals which you use on the way home, before/or as you walk in the door at home send a strong message to your mind what you expect it to do to help you let go of the day in readiness for the evening. Things like; listening to a podcast on the way home or some powerful music which gets you in a good frame of mind, leaving your work bag in the car or office, switching off your mobile, having a shower and changing your clothes are all symbols to your mind (boundaries if you like) which tell it - ‘I’m home now, it’s time to be present at home’.
Reflection - this one is so important. Your brain NEEDS reflection time. If your day is so busy you don’t have time to think, your mind will try to do it when it thinks it does! Your brain is ALWAYS trying to process events - this is a healthy thing for it to do. This is part of what makes us the intelligent beings we are, analysing, making sense of events and planning for the future are important both in our daily lives and our leadership. There’s no point trying to push these thoughts down. Instead we need to MAKE TIME for this to occur when we say it’s time!! Setting aside a designated reflection time and limits around this helps us process things in effective ways whilst also avoiding getting stuck and overthinking things. For example, writing in a journal for half an hour and using prompting questions to help us move through this rather than going around in circles.
Restoration - restoring your body and mind to a calm state is essential to effective transitions too. Using a mindfulness mediation or an activity which helps cultivate presence and peace of mind like yoga or tai chi can enable you to both notice the thoughts which are troubling you whilst also letting them go in the here and now so you can get on with what’s most important to you in the present moment.
Now please note, don’t try everything in here at once!! The key is to try one thing at a time and find what works best for you.
If you’d like more ideas and assistance with any of this let me know. I’m thinking of doing a free mini challenge on this topic as it’s powerful in helping us enjoy life more both at work and at home. Leave a ‘like’ or comment below if you’d like me to put something together?
Em x 💛