Battling end of day chaos - 9 mindful transitions to end your workday

transition Jul 16, 2022

Workdays can be long and stressful. For most of us, the end of the workday arrives not because we’re finished with our work and deliverables, but because we have other obligations to tackle that we need to transition to. To-do’s and action items set up camp in our mind, robbing the evening of enjoyment, keeping us distracted and preoccupied. 

It can be difficult to transition from the workday to the evening and find some peace, especially when there is still so much left to do both at home and at work. 

How can you switch gears and unwind at the end of a long day? 

Here are our 9 favorite ways to transition, harnessed from the wisdom of amazing working moms. 


9 Mindful Transitions 

  1. Turn off your devices - Are you even done work if you keep checking your emails, notifications, and chat messages? Make a habit of turning off your phone, turning on your “Do Not Disturb”, or putting your phone somewhere out of reach (like a drawer, another room, or a “phone jail”) to curb the instinct to pick it up and check what’s going on. Phone free evenings are a revelation (more on that in this Digital Detox blog post).
  2. Meditate - Meditation is a wonderful way to recenter to the present moment and to get a handle on swirling thoughts. There are meditations specific to transitioning from one part of your day, like this one
  3. Go outside - For many, the workday is synonymous with being indoors and breathing indoor air. Step outside and experience the fresh air and feel the sun on your skin. Try taking a walk, taking some deep breaths, spending some time in your garden, or lounging in a comfortable chair. There is great evidence to support the wellbeing impacts of exposure to sunlight. 
  4. Try a non-alcoholic transitional beverage - We’re certainly not opposed to an occasional glass of wine, but there are some wonderful non-alcoholic options that can be a great substitute for an evening transition. Try a mocktail made of non-alcoholic spirits, bitters and sparkling water. Some brands with rave reviews: Hella bitters, Curious Elixirs. There are also some non-alcoholic wines, and seltzers with adaptogens like HiYo.
  5. Create a comfort ritual - Even the simplest rituals can help honor the transition from one part of the day to another. Changing into more comfortable clothes, taking a shower, splashing some water on your face, even brushing your teeth can be a marker that the workday is over, and it’s time to move on.
  6. Exercise - 10-15 minutes of movement can bring you back to yourself, ready to tackle the second shift. There are loads of quick workouts of all kinds available to stream (Peloton, YouTube). A walk is also always a winner. 
  7. Connect socially - Before getting on with your evening to-dos, call a friend or loved one, and spend a few minutes chatting. 
  8. Easy Art & Games - Lock yourself in your closet (kidding, sort of) and spend a few minutes playing. Paint by number apps, Word games (like Wordle), or low-key games (like dot connect) can be time just for you. 
  9. Indulge in some entertainment - Give your brain a break from thinking by immersing in entertainment, whether that’s reading a novel, listening to a captivating podcast or audiobook, watching some trashy television, or listening to music that makes you feel great. 


When to plan your transition

It’s worth giving some thought to when you do your evening transition. You might be expected to be “on” as soon as you walk in the door (or if you work from home, out of your office). Give some thought to when the best time for you to spend some time transitioning might be. Here are a few options. 

  • At your workspace - If your home environment isn’t conducive to being able to downwind, think about adding 10-15 minutes at your workspace before you head out. 
  • During your commute - If you have a commute, experiment with some ways to shift, like connecting socially or listening to an entertaining podcast or audiobook. 
  • Before you walk in the door - Perhaps you can go for a walk around the block, sit outside for a few minutes before you walk in your door. 
  • As soon as you arrive - It can help to set expectations with anyone you share your home with that your first few minutes home are a “transition period”, and you’ll be needing a few minutes to yourself. 


Are there any of these transition techniques you are interested in exploring? When might you try it? 

When you choose something to try, pilot it for a week, and see how your evenings feel. If it works for you, great! Otherwise, try something new. 

Evenings can be hard enough without taking on something that feels like a burden or more work, this is all about finding ways that are supportive to your wellbeing. 


Further reading

Here is a sampling of some of our favorite Mindfulness Incubator blog posts that focus on cultivating more spaciousness, ease, mindfulness, and battling overwhelm:

Want a nudge to be more mindful? Grab the Mindful in 5 Phone Wallpaper!

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