7 End-Of-Day Rituals To Tell Your Brain It’s Time To Stop Working


Oct. 27 2020, Published 3:36 a.m. ET

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In-office work comes with certain end-of-day rituals that can be hard to replicate at home. When we shut down our computers, rinse out our designated mug, and close the doors behind us, something tells our brains that work is finished meaning time to relax.

As remote employees and business owners, those signals are no longer in place. As a result, sometimes work never truly feels over. A study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the average workday increased by 48.5 minutes, following the stay-at-home orders given in March 2020.

To help create strong boundaries that separate work from off-time, we’ve rounded up some simple end-of-day rituals that you can use:

Blow Out A Candle 

Light your favorite candle when you start work in the morning, and when you’re done for the day, blow it out. Other options include using incense or an essential oil diffuser. You could also light a candle after work is over to signal the start of a calm evening at home.

Change Into A New Outfit 

Much like you can’t wait to switch into your comfy sweats when you get home from the office, put on a similarly comfortable attire for post-work hours. Even merely changing from one pair of sweats to another is just enough to let your body know it’s time to chill.

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Give Yourself A Little Pampering 

Treat yourself! Whether it’s taking a long bath, giving yourself a mini-massage, or making a yummy snack, a little pampering post-work can make your off time feel that much more indulgent. Other ideas include taking a long shower, washing your face, or doing a skincare routine. Putting in this time for yourself every evening will have you feeling refreshed and ready for work tomorrow.

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Lay Out Tomorrow’s Tasks 

If you’re looking for a shutdown ritual that’s a little more productive, spend the last 15-30 minutes of your workday planning out tomorrow’s tasks. You can finalize your calendar, set up your to-do list, and follow-up with any outstanding emails. Not only will this tell your brain that work is done, but you’ll also be more prepared for the following day.

Tidy Up Your Space

Another way to feel more prepared for work is to spend a few moments tidying up your workspace. A Harvard University study found that those who worked in uncluttered workspaces worked for 7.5 minutes longer than those surrounded by mess. The study also found that messy desks can “undermine people’s persistence in completing tasks.” Rinsing out your mug and throwing away unnecessary papers will provide you with a clean area to work in tomorrow.

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Get Out Of The House 

Much like you would close the doors to your office, getting out of your house after work can be a great way to separate productivity from relaxation. According to Forbes,  twenty minutes of outdoor time can lower stress and improve your mood. Whether you go for a walk, grab a treat from your favorite coffee shop, or visit a friend, immediately leaving your work behind is a great way to feel like it’s actually done.

Spend Time With Someone

Working from home can be isolating. What better way to end your day than with a friend? Even if you just call a pal or spend a few minutes DMing memes to your friends on Instagram, a little social interaction is a perfect way to unwind.

Whether you combine a couple of these activities or pick one, consistently practicing an end-of-day ritual can provide more ease and less stress into your work from home life.

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By: Emily Blackwood

Emily Blackwood is a freelance writer living in San Diego. She’s been featured in publications such as  HuffPost, YourTango, Foundr, The Bolde, and San Diego Home and Gardens Lifestyle Magazine. You can find more of her work on her website.

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