Does your life feel like an endless cycle of working and sleeping? Are you beginning to dread waking up every day because you don’t feel like you enjoy life outside of the office?
You aren’t alone. The rates of burnout and depression have been increasing to staggering numbers as people work longer hours, especially due to COVID. To combat this frustrating reality, it’s important to reassess your priorities and make time for self-care.
You need to relax after work in a way that’s fulfilling and reminds you to enjoy life, but how? After a long day at work, read these relaxation tips to get your life back on track.
1. Go Outdoors
There’s something about nature that makes us whole again, and science has proven its benefits on our physical and mental health. Even with scientific evidence, the effects that the outdoors have on us are mysterious.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or sad, sometimes you just need to get out of your confining home and get fresh air. You especially need to get out if you’ve been cooped up in an office all day under artificial light.
Our bodies need sunlight and fresh air. We need to stretch our legs, see our neighborhood, and remind ourselves there’s life outside of our daily routine.
2. Revisit an Old Hobby
It’s easy to lose ourselves when we get wrapped up in a routine. Demanding work projects and bosses can take up so much of our time and mental energy. It’s no surprise when we forget about what used to make us happy.
Before your life became so busy, what did you enjoy? Did you have a hobby or an activity that you used to do in your free time? Now is as good of a time as ever to revisit your favorite things.
You might feel too tired or not in the mood at first, but once you push yourself to start doing what you enjoy, you’ll remember why you loved it in the first place.
3. Get Started on That Reading List
Most people have a growing pile of books on their bookshelf with the good intention to read, but they never find the time. It’s true, reading is enjoyable, but it still takes some mental effort. After a long day of work, often the last thing we want to do is think some more.
Reading a book can actually be very relaxing, and you already have the books sitting there waiting to be read! At first, you’ll have to push yourself. Once you get lost in a good book, though, you’ll go into a trance that passes the hours.
The added benefit is that you can learn new things and be inspired. Maybe you’ll even find advice that helps you improve your work life!
4. Spa Night
Going to a spa can be expensive, and not everyone can find spa treatments that are open after work hours. Thankfully, many department stores sell affordable alternatives. DIY a spa night to relax after work.
Find a candle with a smell you really love. Get a comfy robe and maybe even some fuzzy socks. Treat your skin with exfoliation and moisturizers.
Whatever makes you feel pampered, splurge a little and treat yourself. After all these long hours at work, you deserve to take care of yourself. This is especially effective if you’re dealing with the Sunday scaries, treat yourself so you don’t have time to worry about the week ahead.
5. Find Something That Makes You Laugh
Laughter is the best medicine, it’s true. Thanks to the internet and streaming services, finding a few laughs is easier than ever. After the frustrations of professional life, a good belly laugh will help kickstart your relaxation for the night.
Scroll through your favorite streaming service, search for podcasts, or follow some comedians on social media. An hour-long comedy special is a great way to unwind and take your mind off of your worries and to-do list.
6. Make Plans on Weeknights
Most people keep their work-life to the weekdays and their social life to the weekends. While it’s okay to want to stay focused and get to a good night’s sleep, it’s draining to only think about work for five days straight.
Humans are social animals, and we need each other for support. A great way to relax after work is to make those plans for the weeknights, too. It will give you something to look forward to during the workday and help you unwind at night.
You don’t need to plan anything huge, but try to go out to dinner or invite some friends over for an hour or two.
7. Make Your Favorite Meal or Dessert
Food is healing for our souls. With busy lives, we don’t always take the time to nourish ourselves properly. It’s common for us to rely on takeout or snacks rather than creating diverse and satisfying meals.
In return, we begin to feel run down. We don’t have enough energy to make it through our days and we don’t look forward to mealtimes.
You don’t need to be a chef. You don’t even need to perfect. Search for a recipe for a meal you’ve really enjoyed in the past, or find something new, and give it a try.
Cooking and baking can be very therapeutic. It can take your mind off of everything else and force you to pay attention to the present moment. Then, you get to enjoy what you made!
Food seems to always taste better when you make it fresh at home, anyway.
8. Stretch and Meditate
Many people who have tried yoga and meditation swear by it, and it’s no coincidence. These practices utilize two very important techniques that our bodies use to thrive: deep breathing and stretching.
We often hold our breath when we are tense and stressed. We also often hold our breath when we are physically exerting ourselves. Holding our breath is bad!
By not breathing properly, you are depriving your body of oxygen and raising your blood pressure. Therefore, one of the best ways to relax is to learn how to breathe deeply.
Stretching can also be very relaxing, whether you do it with yoga, pilates, or just some simple physical therapy-approved stretches. The goal isn’t necessarily to become extremely flexible, but just to allow your muscles to release any tension and let your body unwind from its constant sitting position.
Incorporating deep breathing and stretching into your daily routine can do wonders for the rest of your day.
9. Take Relaxation Supplements
If you are having a hard time relaxing on your own, you can try some relaxation supplements. There are many different brands and types of products available that can help reduce stress, improve your sleep, and help you get through your day relaxed.
Some common supplements include:
- B Vitamins
Many people also choose to use CBD and THC products. CBD and THC come in many forms and have been studied extensively with positive results for several chronic disorders and illnesses, including stress and pain.
Consistently using CBD and THC products over time, as with many other products, can lead to a high tolerance for them. It’s recommended that you combine supplements with other relaxation techniques to get the best results.
You can also choose to take a break from supplements when you find they are losing their effectiveness for you. There’s some great info out there on how to best take breaks from your THC products.
10. Start Journaling
If you are having a hard time relaxing after work because you can’t stop thinking about what happened that day, you can try journaling. It is often stressful to bottle up your emotions or vent to others about work, but journaling allows you to write about your day free of judgment.
If you are consistent about journaling, you can turn it into a healthy habit. You’ll be able to get out all your frustrations after work so that you can turn to other activities that you enjoy. You also won’t frustrate your spouse, kids, or friends, which can often happen if you regularly complain about work.
If you find you enjoy journaling, you can keep a work-related journal and a personal journal. That way, you can compartmentalize your work stresses in one area and thoroughly enjoy a more personal journaling experience in a separate space.
11. Listen to Music
Music is magic, there’s no denying it. It can help us focus on a task, make us feel like we need to dance, and even get us excited for a workout. Music has the power to affect our thoughts and emotions, so it’s no surprise that we can use it to relax.
You can find the right playlist that helps you achieve your ideal vision for relaxing. If you need to sing and dance, build or find a playlist online that’s filled with your favorite songs. If you need to zone out into a peaceful trance, there are plenty of playlists devoted to meditation or calming you down.
If music is really a love of yours, you can make plans to go dancing with friends or find some local live music that you can enjoy.
12. Turn Off or Mute Alerts on Devices
It should go without saying, but you need to leave those devices on mute. Many people have their work emails connected to their personal phones and are constantly interrupted by alerts that relate to their profession. When you’re trying to relax after work, the last thing you need is a message from a client or your boss.
If you have a work laptop or phone, lock it away. If you work on your personal computer or phone, find apps, software, or techniques that will allow you to mute your work-related alerts while you at home or out with friends.
Even better, leave your devices behind. If you go out for a walk or decide to cook a meal, you don’t need to be constantly checking your devices. This time should be dedicated to relaxing and enjoying time with yourself and your loved ones.
13. Plan a Trip
You might not have the free time or the PTO right now to pack up and leave, but you will at some point! Studies have shown that planning a vacation can actually relieve stress well before you actually take that vacation.
Knowing that you are setting time aside for yourself is a great way to relax. Planning a vacation can also be really enthralling and take some mental effort, which is a great way to get your mind off of work.
For the weeks leading up to your vacation, you’ll also start to be less stressed and more excited about your trip. In addition, studies have shown that people can benefit from the stress-relieving effects of a vacation for up to 45 days after they go back to work.
14. Learn How to Make a New Drink
There’s something inexplicably relaxing about sipping on a great beverage. We look forward to our morning and afternoon coffee and tea, our ice-cold lemonade in the summer, and the occasional splurge on a milkshake when we need one.
Instead of relying on a shop to make your drink, why don’t you learn to make one? Whether you’re looking to make your favorite drink or learn how to make one you’ve never tried, the process can be a great way to relax.
If you enjoy cocktails, this is a great time to buy a book or watch tutorials that teach you how to make all your favorite alcoholic beverages.
Once you’ve learned, you can invite over some friends to try it with you!
15. Try Something New
Don’t lie: you’ve been building a physical or mental list of things you’ve always wanted to try. Just like that stack of books, the list is growing but you haven’t been making a dent!
Why not use your free time after work to start trying all those things you always wished you would. Looking to learn how to ice-skate, or salsa, or build a table? No matter what it is, taking the time to learn something new is to invest in yourself.
Who knows, you might find a new hobby.
Relax After Work
Now that you know how to relax after work, you can start reclaiming your life. You no longer need to dread getting up in the morning. Go to work with the intention to come home and invest in your self-care.
If you’re looking for even more ways to spend your time or improve your life, look for more articles in this blog for inspiration!