Wellbeing Series: Switching Off

You need to learn to switch off!

Great advice right! And if it was that easy, we’d just flick a switch off in our minds every time we walked out of the office at the end of the day.

The reality is, its really bloody hard to ‘just switch off.’ Our minds are full of unfinished business; to do lists, conversations, actions arising form meetings etc and before the day is done, we are already thinking about what we need to tackle the next day.

Often, we underestimate the emotional impact of our work on our life outside of work.

Here’s a beautiful activity to help you begin to release your mind from your working day so that you can be more intentional about letting go of of what’s been and being more present in your evenings. Give it a try, you’ll only need a pen, paper and a timer on your mobile phone.

Gift yourself with 15 minutes before you intend to leave your workplace. Ensure you’re somewhere where you won’t be interrupted.

Sit with your pen and paper and set your phone timer for ten minutes.

Use a simple sentence starter for your writing such as ‘I am’ or ‘I feel’.

Start writing… get out everything that is going round and round in your mind and weighing heavy on your heart.. Don’t stop writing.. let it come.. let it flow … with no concern for spelling, grammar, handwriting… just keep going. And going. It doesn’t matter what comes out, this is for your eyes only. Let is be emotional, venting, angry, sweary…. Whatever it needs to be. Keep going until the timer stops.

Now, take a deep breath. And another, and another.

Set your timer for a further 5 minutes.

Re-read your writing with a rational brain now. What have you written that is of real concern? What can you let go of? What can wait? Can you label any sentences with the emotions attached to them?

Writing a stream of consciousness allows us to free up more space in our mind, and be more intentional about letting go and switching off each day. By getting those thoughts out of your head and onto paper, you’re doing something intentional and tangible to release and process the emotional baggage (any guilt, fear, resentment, anxiety, inner criticism) built up during the day, to help you switch off and bring you more peace.

Better still, try screwing up the paper and binning it before you leave work. It’s done, dusted, and left behind.