The Importance of Unwinding: 6 Strategies for Transitioning from Work to Home

Over the last few years, many of us have achieved greater flexibility and freedom in the workplace as a result of widespread remote or hybrid working. While this shift in the way we work has had (and continues to have) many benefits, for some, it has created blurred boundaries between professional and personal life. Even for those who have returned to in-office work, it can be a challenge to compartmentalise you’re your two worlds and to unwind from your day at the office. Catching up with colleagues, endless to-do lists, and back-to-back meetings can make switching off and transitioning to home life feel impossible. So, let’s discover some key strategies that might help you to decompress when the workday is done.

Why is Unwinding Important?

Unwinding after a day’s work can support your wellbeing in multiple ways. By recalibrating your brain and nervous system each day, you stand to gain greater resilience, a higher level of focus, more productivity and an overall healthier version of yourself in and outside of work. Not winding down after work, on the other hand, can be detrimental to your physical and mental health. Over time, the inability to relax and switch off can lead to chronic stress, which in turn, can lead to insomnia, high blood pressure, headaches, and anxiety. Not only is this bad news for your health and state of wellness, but it can also have a negative effect on your personal relationships. When you’re unable to mentally disconnect from work, connecting with friends and family and the ability to be fully present with your loved ones can become hampered.

Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do help unwind and transition from work to home…

6 Ways to Unwind After Work


  1. Break Down Your Tasks

One reason why you might struggle to unwind after work is because of unresolved issues or incomplete tasks weighing on your mind. This can lead to excess rumination and undue stress after the workday is over and may even lead you to want to work overtime. Understandably, when you’ve got a busy schedule and many important projects to prioritise, getting everything ticked off the list isn’t always possible. So, it can help to break down projects into smaller and more manageable tasks. This way, you can finish work each day knowing you’ve completed what needs to be done and the project is underway as planned. Sometimes, just knowing you’re on track to meet deadlines and that you’ve had a productive enough day can be all it takes to allow you to switch off.

  1. Leave Work Behind

Getting into the habit of staying online or at the office an extra half hour every few days, or logging on earlier than you need to simply because your desk is in eye sight can quickly spiral into consistently working overtime. Alternatively, you might find yourself bringing work home from the office or being occupied by your work phone after hours/during family time.

Of course, there are times when you may be required to put in extra hours and effort. For example, if you have a big presentation to prepare for, or a key project deadline is looming. However, it’s important that you’re able to distinguish between work that is genuinely pressing versus work that can be picked up the following day. This can be a challenge to navigate, especially during a busy season, but creating this boundary can result in a better distinction between work and home life, as well as a more sustainable balance.

  1. Physical Exercise

Finding a form of exercise that works for you can be a great conduit for winding-down, letting off some steam, and propelling you into the present moment. Regular light to moderate-intensity sessions can even help you to fall asleep quicker. However, just be mindful that if you decide to exercise in the evening, you might find it best to do so at least an hour before you go to bed. This will allow your body enough time to relax and unwind before deep sleep can begin.

  1. Journalling

You don’t have to be an amazing writer to journal. In fact, the great thing about journalling is that it can be done however you like! Maybe writing a page-long entry of how your day went works for you, or perhaps a ‘brain dump’ is more your speed, where you jot down three things that are on your mind or three things that you’re grateful for. Either way, putting your thoughts down on paper can be an effective strategy for unwinding by providing an outlet to process our emotions and acknowledge our thoughts.

  1. Reading

Reading before bed has several advantages, including inspiring creativity, boosting vocabulary, and helping to improve stress and anxiety. It also a wonderful form of escapism - distracting you from the stress and reality of daily life. And, while watching TV can offer similar benefits, reading offers the added benefit of ditching the screen and lulling you into a state of sleepiness, aiding a good night’s sleep.

  1. Soaking

Just a simple bath can make for the perfect pamper session. Not only does it offer the chance to have some well-deserved alone time, but baths have also been shown to have many health benefits. In addition to helping soothe sore muscles, baths can be great for your mental wellbeing by potentially activating your parasympathetic nervous system. In other words, this is the part of your body that helps you to relax. So, next time you’re finding it particularly difficult to rid yourself of the workday, why not treat yourself to a midweek soak?