Fact: You should have an end of day routine. Also fact: You can’t scroll through Instagram without seeing 10 different iterations of the same “productive morning routine” from people touting six- and seven-figure incomes in their bios. Sure, productivity is important. But a self-care routine for a chill end of day? It’s not a fairytale. Matcha lattes won’t save you from yourself when it’s 3 AM and you’re still working, blinded by the blue light of your screen.
No matter what you do for work, it can be hard to find a good stopping place — there’s always more to do. Your list of tasks grows by the hour, but it’s time to give yourself permission to log off and recharge. Otherwise, the looming burnout from multiple late nights and too much caffeine is going to rear its exhausted head.
The World Health Organization (WHO) classified burnout as a disease in 2019, and simply closing your laptop at a decent hour is a major step toward preventing it. But we know the transition into Life Mode is easier said than done given the temptation to stay available just a bit longer.
Do we live at work or work where we live?
It’s unclear, to be honest. That’s why we formed the End of Day Society, PWRBLZR’s free community for women who work. It’s a chill, safe space. No mentions of hustle culture. No biohacking. Just real advice and resources to help us navigate work-life balance in a way that feels good.
Because End of Day Society celebrates, well, ending the f—cking day, we created a self-care routine that taps into the five senses to ensure we aren’t staring at a blinking cursor when we could be living life, basking in Offleisure™ (ever heard of it?).
Our sensory method, which is really a mini digital detox, can be summarized in one simple acronym: CHILL.
We know — the word itself oozes calming vibes. The best part is, it’s super easy to CHILL with us. Like, we’re tapping into the five senses and unwinding in under five minutes levels of easy.
Closing the day’s Chrome tabs is radical self-care. Shutting down your computer? Namaste. That’s the prequel to CHILL time, which takes your viable senses on a journey to end the work day right and set a solid foundation for tomorrow. That’s the real productivity hack.
OK so you probably already know that the human body generally has five main senses: sight, taste, smell, hearing, and touch. Our eyes, mouth, nose, ears, and skin and hair send signals to our sensory nervous system, telling our brain what’s up.
Studies show that strategically tapping into your viable senses can promote stress relief. Your unique body might not have all five, but don’t worry, even acting on a few of the CHILL steps can yield results.
Whether you work from a desk in an office or from your couch, routinely cleaning your workspace before you leave ensures you physically wipe away the day and set yourself up for success tomorrow. And let’s be honest: Is there any self-care better than starting the day at a clean space?
Go ahead, toss those LaCroix cans, snack wrappers, and the coffee you paid for this morning but forgot to drink before it got cold. Put away anything else you might’ve accumulated throughout the day like random pens and paper. Then, wipe everything down with a multipurpose cleaner.
Research out of the University of Arizona found that desktops can harbor up to 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. So. Yeah. Maybe wipe everything down twice?
Speaking of snacks, now is a great time to nibble on something. A handful of trail mix, a snack bar, or even a piece of fruit — just enough to give you a boost until dinner and tell your taste buds you’re moving on to Life Mode.
Now, if you frequently partake in Sad Desk Lunches, this step might be less effective because your brain is used to working and eating simultaneously. If this is the case, try reserving one specific snack for the end of the day. Aim for something super flavorful to ensure you’re really targeting your sense of taste.
Calming fragrances like lavender and chamomile are routine for self-care, helping to melt away the day’s stress. Depending on which multipurpose cleaner you use for step number one, you might be able to complete this step simultaneously. Mrs. Meyer’s, for example, has a lavender-scented cleaning spray that’s made with essential oils instead of traditional chemicals.
Alternatively, you could rub a few drops of essential oil between your hands and focus on breathing through your nose for a minute, inhaling for three seconds and exhaling for three seconds.
Not into essential oils? Grab your favorite perfume and give yourself a spritz. The familiar scent might calm you down just as much.
Though the goal is to complete this self-care routine in five minutes or less, you might want listen to something a little longer so the good vibes don’t come to an abrupt end.
Turn on a fun end of day playlist, a soothing breathwork session courtesy of one of the best meditation apps, or a podcast like — shameless plug alert — End of Day Society’s own Five to Unwind™.
Five to Unwind™ explores productivity and work and the complexities of actually balancing it all… if that’s even possible. Each season, we focus on different topics, interviewing experts and getting personal along the way. Season One: Burnout debuts Fall 2021.
Before you leave work — even if that means closing your computer and getting off the couch — take a moment to write down tomorrow’s priorities. Studies show writing things down helps improve your memory and ensures you won’t forget when you start working again tomorrow.
Pick three to five tasks you need to get done, and write them down on a piece of paper. Aim for one to two bigger tasks that require more time as well as two to four smaller tasks you can cross off for quick wins.
Warning: Though it might be tempting to list everything you need to do, try to stick to this three to five number so you don’t get overwhelmed. What good is a list of 10 things if it just makes you frozen with anxiety?
After you CHILL, it’s time for some Offleisure™.
Activating your senses is just the first step of this self-care routine before entering Life Mode after work. Once you’ve written down tomorrow’s priorities, embrace what we like to call Offleisure™. That time when work ends and life begins.
If you don’t already have plans, it can be tough to decide what to do after work. You could take a hot bath à la traditional self-care routines, head to the gym for a HIIT session, cozy up with a good book — the list goes on.
As with anything, however, your post-work routine can get stale if you don’t mix it up. Give yourself permission to try something new this week. And every week henceforth.
Looking to improve your mornings, too? Check out our five-minute mindful morning routine ideas for less stress.
This article isn’t meant to be medical advice. Always consult your doctor before making major changes to your routine and listen to your body.
Photo: KoolShooters / Pexels
Macy Daniela Martin is the Founder and Editorial Director of PWRBLZR.
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