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How to Switch off From Work and Enjoy Your Home Life More

Woman sitting in front of her laptop covering her tired eyes with her hands with blog title added

I’m sure we have all experienced it. You come home from a busy day at work and feel overwhelmed by what there is still to do. Or maybe we have just had to go into overdrive and plough on until our head hits the pillow, and we go to bed knowing we have to do it all again tomorrow. Life has lost its fun, it’s just work and chores, work and chores. Like a kind of Groundhog Day if you will.


And if we are honest, we are not even really present as we do half the things we do. At work, we are thinking about the kids, and what we have to do when we get home, at home we are thinking about work and what we did or didn’t get done. Our work life spills over to our home life and our home life or lack of it stresses us out at work.


Many years ago when I was at home with two small children I noticed my neighbour, who had a very long narrow garden that went up past the back of our garden, we were only separated by a low wire fence and some trees, therefore I couldn’t help but see into his garden. I noticed that quite often I would see him taking a slow walk through his garden with a glass of whisky in hand, no tie and a loosened collar, stopping every few paces to admire the fruits of his labour. He did it every night throughout the spring and summer and on any other good weather days all through the year. I couldn’t help but notice how calm and thoughtful he seemed as he took his daily tour of his garden. I came to the conclusion this was his down time, a transition from work life to home life.


I have often thought about my neighbour and admired the way he found his ‘thing’. It was his form of meditation, focusing on his garden and enjoying the plants and flowers. He had created his own little oasis to escape the world and its stressors.


Woman laying in the grass smiling and relaxed with quote below added

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. - Anne Lamott


We are all different, and we all have different ways of unwinding and letting go. If you are not a gardener (like me), a garden may only make us think of all the jobs we have to do to get it how we want it, but to him it was a beautiful calming place where he could unwind after a busy day.


One lady I knew was always stressed and was complaining that she never had time to do anything she liked to do; she was always at work or ‘doing’ for her family. I gave her a worksheet where she was to list all the things that made her feel relaxed, that brought her joy.


She found that they were simple things that cost nothing, one of which was walking on the beach. I asked her when the last time she had done that, she couldn’t remember. Her son went to day care after school for half an hour each day and always got upset that he had to miss some of the games they played there when she collected him.

I asked her if it would cost her more to leave him there for an extra 10 mins once or twice a week, which would not impact the child negatively. It didn’t, so she took time out twice a week, just 10-15 minutes on her way home from work, she stopped at the beach and took off her shoes and felt the sand beneath her feet, she could smell and taste the salt in the air, listened to the waves crashing on the sand and took in the beautiful colours of the ocean against the pale sandy beach.


Woman in a field of yellow flowers with arms stretched up with quote below added

Do one thing today, just because it makes you feel good.


By the time she picked her son up from day care (who was so busy playing he hadn’t even noticed the extra time) she was relaxed and ready to enjoy and make the most of her time with her son. By taking time out for herself to switch off was not just beneficial for her own wellbeing but for the wellbeing of her family. They all noticed the difference and they all enjoyed their evenings together much more, and all it took was 15 minutes of time out in her happy place twice a week.


Having that transition, something between work and your family time helps you to let go of the work mindset and be there with the people you love, fully. Otherwise, we can be sitting at the table eating dinner with the family, talking about their day, but our mind may be wandering back to the email we meant to send before we left work or the conversation we had with a colleague that was left unresolved.


You don’t have to take a walk in your garden with a whisky in hand, and if you don’t live near the coast, a walk on the beach will be tricky, but all of us have something that we enjoy that would help us relax and unwind after our days’ work.


Others I know, go for a walk in the park, some go for a run, or to the gym. You could find a lake or a river to sit by to unwind. Maybe a yoga class, or take the dog for a walk, play with the cat. Anything that focuses your mind on one thing, whether it be the sound of your footsteps pounding the pavement, the feeling you get with a good work out or the sounds and sights of the waves on the beach or the beauty of the park or your own garden.


For me it is writing, I write down the ideas I have had throughout the day or write down things I am grateful for today. If the day has been particularly stressful I either walk, do some yoga or even just have a warm shower to wash away the negativity of the day so I can start my evening off afresh. Whatever helps you switch off from one part of your life to allow you to enjoy the other parts freely is all you need.


I know what many of you are thinking ‘But I have chores to do, dinner to cook, children to feed and look after, washing to get done, tomorrow’s lunches to prepare etc.


If you have to rush home to pick the children up from school, try and arrange for your partner, a family member or friend to collect them one day a week and look after them for half an hour to give you that little break from routine and if that’s not possible, try taking them to the park, feed the ducks, kick a ball around, get out in the fresh air for 20 mins before going home.


I know it’s hard to take time out when you are so busy, but that’s exactly why you need to take the time, and if you can’t find the time you must MAKE the time, even if it’s just 10 minutes twice a week.


Woman meditating in her home study with quote below added

You should sit in meditation for 10 minutes a day. Unless you are too busy then you should sit for 1 hour. – Old Zen Adage

Think about this: you spend your morning rushing around getting yourself and the rest of the family ready and organised for their day, you go to work and spend the day focusing on the needs of the job in hand, you get in the car to travel home, what are you thinking about? Work? Events that happened in the day, events that might happen when you get back in tomorrow, or maybe you have started to switch over and you’re thinking about what to cook for dinner, what time you have to drop off and pick up little Jonny from afterschool sports, what you have to pick up from the shop on the way home.


Your poor mind has not had a single second to transition from one situation to the other, and you wonder why it feels overloaded. Stop. Just for a second, stop and think what you can do to help calm and re-adjust your mind.


And if you do, you may well find that when you get home, even though you still have all the chores to do and children to feed and look after, you will probably look at it all differently.

Instead of being overwhelmed by everything you have to do and all the responsibilities you have, you can enjoy your children, and the chores will seem less demanding and easier to tackle.



The word FUN spelt out on the beach with quote below added

Sometimes the best therapy is just take a break from routine and have some fun.



What do you do to switch off after a stressful day? Comment below to give ideas to those who have not yet found what works for them.

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Lisa Edwards meditating by the ocean with signature attached

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