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How to Let Go at the End of the Day

image of bicycle in street with text above reading: How to let go at the end of the day

With unrelenting minds, we clench our writing, our art, our tasks ahead. As if there’s the possibility that if we let go, they’ll somehow slip away from us or float beyond reach.

We worry and wonder about what we’ve finished and what still needs to be done. Always a mountain of to-dos.

I suppose this is the creative’s angst. For me, it feels heavier at the end of the day. I have to consciously focus on letting these thoughts go, setting them down to be taken up again the following day.

At the end of the day, I struggle to let go.

Here’s what’s worked for me lately. (I’m hoping it’ll work for you, too)

You’ve planted your seeds

There are a number of physical things I do that help (I’ll share those next), but the #1 thing is to remind myself that the seeds have been planted. I think of my work as planting seeds.

If you plant seeds, you don’t then keep digging them up. 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 let them be 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.

A few more ways to let go

As for the physical things that help, each evening, I pick one or two of the following (except meditation. That, I do daily):

      • A burst of exercise (even if it’s just a few minutes long). Something that is particularly challenging, where I need full focus.
      • Doing something totally unrelated/not involving the computer. If I’m sitting at the computer, I’ll think about work. Getting up and out of the house and doing something that cannot be done while using something digital is best. Yoga + my storytelling are both perfect for this. When I am telling a tale, I am nowhere but there. It shifts me from over-thinking, puts me back into my body, and then afterward, I can begin to unwind for the evening. Yoga has a similar effect.
      • 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. For example, I imagine something large, like a slowly bridge (without people on it) collapsing into a body of water.
      • 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.

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– will be better off for it.

-Alicia-Joy

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Filed under: creative living, writing habits

Comments

  1. I need to be better at this, so hard to turn my mind off in the evenings. The kids help but you’ve inspired me to pull out my 15 min evening yoga video. Thank you!!

  2. You’re welcome, Andi. It’s an on-going journey. I have to be conscious of this or I just keep going and going (my mind and my work).

    Enjoy yoga. You’ll be glad you did it!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I’m usually not bad at switching off, but I do really need to focus on getting out from in front of the computer to do other things. I think that spending so much time there is stopping me from being really effective in the hours that I do spend there, so I might need to put a working/blogging/exercising/going out routine into place to get some balance!

    • Hi, Jo.

      I can so relate. We call can. How I spend my time away from the screen impacts my work in front of the screen. It’s all so connected. A wind-down routine definitely helps.

  4. I love that metaphor of planting seeds and needing to let them be-definitely be using it tonight! I fit in all of my writing/drawing/blogging in the evening right before bed, and it can be so hard to turn it all off. Thanks for the advice. 🙂

    • Hey, Rebecca

      Thinking of my work as planting seeds definitely helps me. Glad you can relate. Working all evening (right before bed) must be challenging, indeed. Our brains just don’t wont to stop, do they?

      You’re more than welcome. I hope my suggestions help. 🙂

  5. I need to be a lot better at this as well. Last night I just laid in bed and thought about clients, emails, marketing, strategy, etc. It took almost 3 hours before I finally drifted off (maybe even with a bit of Melatonin). I think I definitely need to try meditation and stepping away from the computer at least an hour before trying to sleep. I find that if I stare at the computer and then crawl into bed 5 minutes later, I never sleep.

    My latest trick (which I forgot last night) is to drink some hot (non-caffeinated) tea. The warmness soothes me. Definitely need to come up with a nightly routine.

    • Laura, great trick! Non-caffeinated tea helps me, also. It’s also a trigger for me. I know that when start drinking it, it’s time to start winding down. Triggers work for habit building.

      I so know what it feels like to lie in bed over-thinking. It’s a daily effort to start turning it all off. Little steps and awareness of what helps. You’ll get there.

      Thank you for sharing.

  6. Yes to ALL of this. It’ s so tempting when you own your own business to push and just do one last thing all the time. I learnt the hard way that I had to step back from the computer. I try and implement no heavy computer tasks after 7pm/

  7. Hey, Zoe

    That’s the same for me. If I don’t go out (yoga class or exercise or something else) & am still on the computer working in the evening, 7pm is about my cut-off time, too (most days). I had to force myself to make this a habit. Now, it’s pretty routine, but sometimes I still find I have to push myself and LOG OFF! LOL I need that time to start my wind-down routine.

  8. Thank you so much for these tips! I struggle so much with this. The recorded meditation is the icing on the cake!

  9. You’re welcome, Rachel! Glad they helped.

  10. I, too, love the planting seeds idea. Leaving it undisturbed long enough to germinate. Maybe there’s pruning to do later on when its more mature, but leaving it alone at least for awhile is crucial.

    I’m finding I need to make myself get off of the computer earlier in the evening even though that’s my favourite time of day to write and study. I enjoy working late into the night. In the long run, however, I find I don’t do well with less hours of sleep, and sleeping in in the morning does not make me feel good. Out of sync with nature. So, I’m shutting down the laptop, and playing card games with my kids in the evenings, going for a walk, or climbing into bed early to read or listen to meditation or energy work.

    P.S. Love that you included a meditation clip.

  11. Pulling myself away from the computer earlier is a must. And a struggle at times, too. Like you, I am a night owl. For years I stayed up late working and scrolling and writing (et al). I’ve finally adjusted to a more natural rhythm, where I sleep and wake early. The key is to disconnect early and go to sleep early. Easier said than done, right? But it can be done. Keep chipping away day by day, logging off earlier and earlier. It’ll happen.

    Thanks for mentioning the pruning. I love that! We do go back and prune but only once the seeds have germinated. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

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