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Shutdown Rituals

Author: Michelle Mamerto

What is a shutdown ritual?

Many of us have sleep rituals, or practice sleep hygiene- the steps we take before bedtime that help us relax and get a better night’s sleep. Those rituals might include turning off electronics an hour before bed, having a warm drink, reading, journaling, etc.

A shutdown ritual is similar to a sleep ritual. It’s an end of the workday self-care ritual; a series of actions one takes to create a mental barrier between work and personal life. It helps give closure to your workday. It gives your work brain permission to leave work at work, allows you to be more present with your family and friends, and more attentive to your hobbies, endeavors and life outside of the office. This is especially important to those of us who work from home, where it can sometimes be difficult to separate work and home life.

Some cues for shutting down include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Checking your inbox one last time.

  • Cleaning your workspace before you shut down your computer.

  • Turning off your work notifications for the day/turning on out of office message.

  • Creating your to do list for the next day.

  • Turning off your computer.

  • Announcing aloud that you are done for the day.

  • If you normally walk or go to the gym after work, changing into your workout clothes and shoes before you leave.

What’s my shutdown ritual? I check on my to do list to see if I’ve missed anything, check my emails one last time, let co-workers know I am logging off, turn off my computer and announce to my teenager and pets that I am done for the day, put away all my work where I will not see it again until the next workday, and then I go about making my family’s dinner.

A shutdown ritual provides the transition between work and personal life. It helps you to focus on work during office hours, and prepares you to be fully present for your friends and family during personal time, giving everyone the best of you.

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