Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Night, Heading Home ...

Hi everyone! It's 3:29 pm here in Vancouver and I've just come back from a beautiful walk at the Lake - my favourite transition ritual for closing out the day at work and opening up to life at home. (A bit of a tricky transition when your office is actually the back bedroom!)

When we're engaged in helping work and it's time to head home, it's important to have a formal way of delineating work-time and home-time. (Formal, in the sense that we need to create a particular ritual that marks the transition between work and home.) We all need a way to let our bodies know that it's time to let go and let down, time to ease out of our work-a-day arousal and into relaxation mode.

There are as many of these rituals as there are people and I always love to hear original "ritual" ideas that come up during the compassion fatigue workshops. Here are a few:

  • Taking a walk in the park, really noticing the season
  • Stopping at a church on the way home and sitting for a while in the quiet
  • Taking a shower or washing your hands and consciously washing off the cares of the work day
  • Changing into "play clothes" 
  • Yoga or tai chi in the park on the way home
  • Sitting by the bird feeder for 10 minutes before going into the house
  • Going for a run  
  • Debriefing the day with a workmate over coffee
  • Meditation practice
  • Singing along with your favourite songs all the way home
  • Sitting with a cup of tea in a peaceful part of the house for 15 minutes before interacting with anyone 
  • Speaking a second language when you get home
  • Playing an instrument until your body relaxes 

If you have other rituals that work well for you, please do share them in the comments section as a way of inspiring others to make personal transition plans of their own.

ps  If you are a family caregiver whose "workplace" is at home and whose work never seems to end, try to carve out even 15 minutes for yourself at the end of the day and do one small thing that will mark "the end of work" and the beginning of your 15 minutes of "me-time". I think you might find it's worth the effort.

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