As evening rolls around, do you start to worry about what you’ve finished and what still needs to be done? There’s always a mountain of to-do’s, right?
I can relate. We all can.
At the end of the day, I struggle to let go of what wasn’t done and what still needs to be completed. It’s not a good feeling and makes it difficult to relax and unwind.
But, there’s always something we can do to shift these feelings.
What’s worked for me lately is letting go.
And I’m going to share with you the steps I take to let go at the end of the day. Try one or two or all of them.
For any of these to work, you’ve got to shift your perspective. Take the perspective that you’re planting seeds throughout the day.
No matter what work you do, all work is planting seeds.
When you plant seeds, you don’t then keep digging them up to think about them and see them and worry and wonder over them. You have to leave them alone, and let them grow. Nighttime is my rest time and time for seeds I’ve sown to mature.
It’s not just my work that I think about this way. My ideas and thoughts about my projects are all seeds, too. They’ve been planted. I need to leave them alone – at least overnight – and allow them to germinate.
The mind also needs time to rest. It’s impossible to create through a mind that’s worn thin from overthinking.
I remind myself of this every.single.evening.I’ve been doing this for years and yet still, I have to remind myself or my mind won’t let go.
Now that you understand that perspective, let’s move on to the specific steps to letting go and unwinding.
I pick one or two of the following (except meditation. That, I do daily). Having more than one thing to choose from is key to sticking with my self-care. I like having options. By having choices this allows variety and also allows for me to be flexible when needed (such as less time on a particular day).
Here are the five steps
- Stretch. Most of us sit all day to work. Even if you exercise, there’s nothing like stretching, especially after a long day. While stretching I focus on my breathing and take, long deep breaths. The key is to be fully focused on being present with the stretches. Relax your mind. Imagine the tension you’ve built up all day slowly leaving the body.
- Descreen for at least 30 minutes. Do something that does not involve a screen (computer/phone/TV). Most times, just sitting at the computer triggers thoughts about work and productivity. This isn’t productivity time. This is time to wind down. Doing something that cannot be done while using something digital is best. Reading a book works. So do arts + crafts, journaling, drawing, painting, walking. So many options.
- Visualization. I love visualization (I’m thinking to record and share a few visualization exercises with you one day. They’re powerful). For letting go, I imagine the concept of letting go, like something that is weighing me down releasing, floating away. Sometimes I take slow, deep breaths and imagine placing my to-do’s and worries on clouds and watch them float away. Try it.
- Meditation. This is my magic-ninja-superhero weapon. Like many people, I internalize tension and can feel the tightness in my body. Meditation helps relax, soften my body and ease my mind back from the edge of over-thought.
- Journal write. Of course, that one was coming. And I wrote a new prompt for you.
Here’s a prompt from the evening reflection prompts in the Resource Lounge:
Prompt: If you could choose your dreams, what’s the most peaceful place you’d visit in your dreams tonight? Think of a place (real or imaginary) that feels calm and serene for you.
Think about it in detail. If you can, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths and really see, hear, feel it. Then envision dreaming about it tonight. Write about the place and how it would feel to dream about it.
Remember, journaling doesn’t have to take long. Even if you’re sometimes lazy (like I am), you can still reap the benefits. If you only have a few minutes or can only think of a few sentences, it still matters.
If staring at the blank page intimidates you or you’re just getting back into the habit of journaling, use journaling cards. For me, having a little card to write on sometimes feels less daunting than a full page.
I created printable journaling cards, along with a video tutorial showing how to edit them for your own inspiration. Watch the video and access the journal card template HERE.
Whatever tools and tactics you find to help, use them regularly. Consistency matters.
At the end of the day, you’ve planted your seeds. Let them grow. Your mind –and your work your loved ones– will be better off for it.
P.S. Don’t forget your unwind meditation in the free resource lounge. Sign up below. See you there!
This post was originally published on my writing site aliciajoy.net and updated here May, 2019.
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