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When you come home from work, it’s often hard to unwind: Your mind may be running over all of those reports you need to file, or worrying about that upcoming review or meeting you need to prepare for.
But it’s crucial that you don’t bring that stress home with you. “If you don’t, your adrenals drip cortisol,” Mary LoVerde, a work-life balance expert, told TODAY.com, noting that increased levels of stress hormones like cortisol can in turn lead to health problems down the line.
To prevent this, Mary instructs her clients to engage in what she calls a “power hour” ritual when they come home. After you get back from work, try to engage in a series of rituals that will help you de-stress and switch gears from work to home mode, LoVerde suggested.
For example, LoVerde used to be an emergency room nurse. When she would come home, she would greet everyone in her family and then go straight upstairs to bathe and wash off all of the germs, pain and stress of her past few hours in the emergency room.
After that, she would brush her teeth, get dressed and go down to spend quality time with her kids. Without that ritual, Mary said, she would still be in work mode when she came home — shouting orders at her kids, asking them about their homework and bringing her persona as an ER nurse (along with her stress) back with her.
“Lots of us are different people at work than we are at home,” she explained. “We’ve got to take off our superman suit and put on our regular, loving, normal, ‘here’s-our-real-life’ clothes and persona.”
Other rituals could include putting your phone away, taking your dog for a walk, or even sitting down to discuss your day with your kids. “Everybody has their own way — trust your instincts,” she advised. Just make sure that the power hour is a ritual, and doesn’t require, for instance, planning a new activity every day.
But by engaging in these rituals, you’ll have an easier transition from work mode to home mode. You’ll become more mindful, and ultimately spend your time at home in the moment, not stressing about work.
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