Being Present at Home: Creating A Ritual You Can Be Proud Of

personal development Oct 30, 2019


Tim Braheem kicks off this latest video with a metaphor derived from an American Indian story that shares a simple but powerful message: people need time to decompress after difficult or stressful situations before they re-enter calmer environments. Much like the American Indian men who would relax and talk amongst each other until they felt ready to go back to their families, mortgage loan officers can also benefit from developing a ritual to help them transition from work to home.

If you often find yourself worrying about work when you should be focused on your loved ones, this guide can give you the personal development tools and tips you need to strike a healthier work/life balance.

Benefits of an After-Work Ritual

Believe it or not, millions of people struggle to leave work in the workplace where it belongs. Instead, the daily worries and stressors of the workday tend to follow people home, causing them to feel tense and disconnected from their families.This is especially true when we’re running on little sleep. According to stress-management trainer and author, Jordan Friedman, fatigue can make people more susceptible to remember and reflect on negative experiences rather than positive ones. However, a consistent after-work routine can help you feel more upbeat during the evening, even if you’re tired.

Psychologists actually refer to this type of daily ritual as “boundary work.” The idea is to develop your own unique routines and rituals that create “mental space” between the day’s various stressors and the pleasant evening awaiting you at home. Once you begin experimenting with different boundary work strategies, you’ll soon be able to seamlessly shift your mindset from stressed or frustrated into calm and refreshed.

Suggestions for Your Work-to-Home Transition

The important thing about boundary work is that one size does not fit all. What works for one person may not be helpful or appealing to you, so you’ll have to be willing to do some experimenting before you find the routine that “clicks” for you. For example, some people like to be completely disconnected for a certain amount of time between the end of their shift and entering their homes. If you feel like you also need to have some quiet moments to yourself after work, you might find the following transition processes beneficial:

  • Taking a leisurely walk around your neighborhood before you go inside your house.
  • Meditating or reading (no business-related material, though!).
  • Listening to calming music on your commute home.

However, some people feel like going from a high-stress workday to a totally quiet, distraction-free environment would be too jarring for them. If you don’t think meditation or quiet reflection is what you need, you may need to refocus your intense focus onto a different activity that will engage your mind as much as your work does. If this sounds more like you, these activities may be great choices:

  • Going to a work-out class, such as martial arts or Zumba.
  • Participating on a sports team.
  • Learning and practicing different art forms like calligraphy, painting, sculpting, etc.
  • Doing word finds or crossword puzzles.

Uncommon Advice from Experts

Sometimes, it’s the littlest details that can make the biggest impact in a person’s unique daily ritual. High-ranking business executives, for instance, have admitted that playing certain games on their smartphones is the most relaxing transition process for them, whereas others may feel ready to go home once they have organized tomorrow’s to-do list. If you’re in need of some extra advice to help you improve your presence during your off-duty hours, consider one of these slightly unusual tips:

  • Consider taking public transport. According to the former CEO of Chanel, Maureen Chiquet, her daily commute in New York City allowed her to take some much-needed time for herself. “I had this nice, long commute home. I would answer email, get necessary phone calls out of the way, reflect on the day’s problems, and then sit and meditate for a moment,” Chiquet recalls. If you have the option to take a bus or train home from work, give it a chance! Bring along a book, headphones, or whatever else you need to mentally transition from work to home.
  • Designate a specific “transition point.” Michael Kahn, a psychologist, author, and executive coach, describes someone who used the Chesapeake Bay Bridge as a symbolic bridge between her work and home life. Another executive he worked with viewed the front door of his home as a symbolic way to re-enter his personal life and “close the door” of his work life.
  • End the workday feeling accomplished. If negative thoughts still plague you at the end of the day, Dr. Kahn suggests taking a few minutes to write down a list of things you successfully did instead of ruminating on things you “should have” done. Then, create a game plan for the following workday and then imagine placing this plan into a box and closing it until the next day.

With a bit of creativity and experimentation, you can reap the benefits of a daily ritual, and your family will be delighted to see you fully engaged and present whenever you walk in the door!

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