Work-Life Balance: 4 Techniques to Shift From Work Mode to Family Time
Picture this: It’s the end of a long day that was filled with meetings, deadlines, Skype calls, and to-do lists. You’re now attempting to make the transition from work mode to family mode; yet for some reason, you’re really struggling to make that break!
You can’t seem to stop dwelling on that meeting, the next call you need to make, or all the other things you didn’t manage to get to. You find yourself living in yesterday, tomorrow, and three years in the future; making it impossible for you to slow down and be fully present; here in the “now”.
If you answered “yes” — you’ll be glad to know that you’re not alone!
This is a common scenario for many. It’s like you’re constantly focusing just bits and pieces of your attention. You’re never fully on, yet you’re never fully off either. This also means you’re unable to place your full attention on the things that matter most: your partner, your children, or even just the sight of the sun setting outside your window.
Here are 4 techniques to help you more skilfully – and easily – shift from work mode to family time:
Put Away Your Phone
The large majority of people in our world today have developed a nasty behavioural addiction to their cellphones. The science shows that every time you pick up your phone, you get sent a little surge of dopamine — a neurotransmitter in the brain linked to pleasure. This fleeting “high” is what keeps you coming back for more.
Just like any other serious addiction, overcoming the attachment to your device calls for next-level restraint. I’m talking about putting your phone in another room. Switching it to airplane mode. Locking it away in a safe if you must!
Just do whatever is necessary for you to release yourself from the strong hold it has over you.
Create A Transition Ritual to Shift Your Mindset
The pace of the average workday leaves you with a kind of mental residue. You spend all day planning, strategising, and trying to squeeze out the maximum amount of value possible from every single second. This might be the ideal mindset for productivity in the workplace, but it’s a catastrophe when it comes to family life.
The solution? Ending your workday with a short ritual or period of transition. This will be unique for everyone. Try taking a few deep breaths. Maybe you’d like to take a walk around the block. You might even set aside some time for meditation.
Whatever it is — do just one thing at the end of every workday that opens the doorway for shifting your mindset from chasing productivity to settling in with connection and presence.
Pay Attention to Your Breath
Did you know that experiencing emotions such as anger, frustration, and anxiety are closely connected to the manner in which you breathe? So essentially, when you’re feeling tense and out of energy at the end of your workday, your breath acts as a mirror of your mental and emotional state.
So, what does that translate into? Well, all you have to do in order to change your state is to start by changing your breath! The simplest way to do this is by taking long, smooth breaths through your nose. Begin by stretching every inhale and exhale to around five seconds each way.
Be Intentional with Your Actions (Don’t Rush!)
So now that your breathing technique is in motion, you can take things one step further by attempting to slow down everything you do! Bear in mind, this is not generally how things roll out at the end of a busy workday.
As you’re chopping the vegetables for dinner, eating your meal, or washing the dishes — I challenge you to intentionally slow down. See what happens when you Turn each evening into a time of relaxation, unwinding, being present, and experiencing the opportunity to be with the people you love most.