Virtual Primary Care

Strategies for the End-Day Office Shutdown Ritual

Healthy Habits for Professional Productivity and Well-Being Pt. 5

Welcome back! In our previous Healthy Habits series, we discussed the importance of and provided empowerment strategies for sleep hygiene, establishing a healthy morning routine, and goal setting. In our last article on self-care at the office, we touched upon a shutdown ritual to bring a satisfying and positive finality to the workday. As the Director of Behavioral Health at Lyric Health, today, we will go in-depth on five strategies for the end-of-day office shutdown ritual and why and how to establish the shutdown routine at work.

Why do we need daily rituals?

Rituals have been significant in our society and our lives. They can be described as a sequence of actions that become formalized and repeated in a way that brings meaning and significance to our daily existence. Rituals help us make an emotional or even spiritual connection to our activities, protecting, inspiring, and energizing us to keep moving forward with a sense of purpose in all we have achieved.

In many ways, the morning routine that I addressed in one of our previous Healthy Habits articles is a prime example of a ritual to get us started on what we hope is a productive and successful day. On the other hand, the shutdown ritual allows us to end the workday with a profound sense of accomplishment and finality. Our shutdown ritual can be important because if we cannot take measure of our achievement and progress, it is difficult to become inspired to keep moving forward in our work and pursuit of success.

As in any ritual, the office shutdown ritual should be emotionally and behaviorally declarative. In other words, it is not just something you do in your head but should involve intention, action, physicality, and repetition. You can compare the shutdown ritual to reading the ending of a delightful book or movie. It ties up all the story’s loose ends and leaves you with a sense of completion and satisfaction.

You are probably already performing an office ritual. Below are a few strategies for formalizing it and making it more valuable and powerful.

5 Strategies for the End-Day Office Shutdown Ritual

  1. Set a definitive end-of-day work time and, if possible, stick to it. Knowing you have a finite amount of time will give you a deadline for ending the workday with a final push.
  2. Review your to-do list and cross off your completed tasks. Next, write the next day’s list and include what you still need to accomplish or is brand new. The most important tasks you may want to engage in for the next workday can also be placed on a sticky note on your computer as an essential reminder. Reviewing your completed list is a clear record of your hard work, while your new list gives you a direction for the coming day(s). Refer to our goal-setting blog for more information on why setting goals for your sense of accomplishment is important.
  3. Clean up your digital and physical workspace. Clutter and disorganization can easily distract us from our tasks and our accomplishments. However, a digital and physical clean-up can help you feel more organized emotionally and cognitively. There are many studies that show how clutter affects your health. So, clean up your physical workspace by putting paper files and notebooks away, throwing away scrap paper, and emptying your garbage pail. I have known some people who even wiped down their desks and computers! Also, close all the windows and files on your computer, as they are probably eating up memory and slowing down your computer’s processing.
  4. Shut down your computer, turn off the office lights, leave your workspace, and enter a non-working space to transition to regular or leisure activities. This sets a clear boundary and establishes work-life separation and balance, a crucial aspect of our mental and emotional well-being. Not to mention the many benefits of why your computer needs to shut down each night, it is not just about ending the workday but about starting your personal time, which is equally essential for a healthy and fulfilling life.
  5. Reward yourself for a productive workday with a favorite activity, such as unwinding with a cup of tea, having a bite of chocolate, turning on your favorite TV program, or connecting with family. After all, rewards reinforce and promote positive and productive behaviors.

Finally, you should reward yourself for a well-done job and practice self-care and forgiveness. Remember, we are all human, and we make mistakes. It is important to forgive yourself for any mistakes you have made or any tasks that have not been accomplished. Besides, you always have tomorrow to try again. This aspect of the shutdown ritual is about self-compassion and understanding, which are essential for our overall well-being and productivity.

DR. JEFF GARDERE – AMERIAMERICA’SHOLOGIST Dr. Jeff is a monthly contributor for Lyric Health and one of the most widely sought-after experts in the mental health field

Dr. Jeffrey Gardere
Dr. Jeffrey Gardere

About Lyric

Lyric’s virtual primary care improves employees’ lives with personalized primary care, urgent care, mental health services, and caregiver support leading to better health outcomes while reducing employer costs.

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