10 Ways You Can De-Stress After Work
Even if you are normally a very calm person, a long day at work can leave you feeling stressed out and frazzled. While it might be tempting to pour yourself a glass of wine or zone out in front of the television for hours, there are a number of healthier ways to go about de-stressing after work.
Below, find 10 ideas that will help you stay calm, healthy, and happy even after a trying day at work.
There is a reason that doctors, chiropractors, therapists, and other health professionals suggest yoga as a healthy way of de-stressing after work: it actually works. According to the Mayo Clinic, “yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation or relaxation.”
When it comes to practicing yoga, there are a number of different styles to try, and poses can be modified to accommodate your current fitness level. If you are looking for maximum relaxation following a long workday, consider hatha yoga. Hatha yoga is one of the best places for beginners to start because it has a slower pace and it incorporates controlled breathing that may lower stress. As an added bonus, as your stress level decreases, your fitness level will increase, leading to an overall healthier lifestyle.
Yoga does rely on good form and controlled breathing, so it can be helpful to take a class at least once to help you understand the basic principles. Many community centers offer yoga classes at little to no cost, or you could search the internet for free instructional videos to guide you through poses as you begin.
Garden in Your Yard
When you are stressed, your body releases a hormone known as cortisol. If cortisol levels in the body remain high, you could be at an increased risk for depression, heart disease, weight gain, and more. The good news is that simply spending time outdoors can lower your cortisol levels.
If you need a way of de-stressing after work, doing some lawn maintenance is a way of doing so. There are some tips that can help you get the maximum benefits from gardening, and the first tip is to leave your phone inside the house. Unless you need it for an emergency, leaving your phone inside allows you to step outside and unplug from technology while you tune into nature.
Not only does gardening give you time away from electronics, but being outside in the sunshine gives your body a boost of vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial for healthy bones, and some studies suggest it can boost weight loss, fight diseases, and reduce depression.
Call a Friend or Family Member
Sometimes, just hearing a loved one’s voice can be a way of de-stressing after work. A study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University found that when people reached out to loved ones or friends to talk about their problems or stress, they were avoiding unhealthy coping mechanisms like drinking or doing drugs. One of the reasons that giving your friends or family members a call can help lower your stress is that your loved ones offer emotional support, which improves your psychological well-being.
In addition to receiving support from your friends and family, you also are able to provide them with a support system during conversations. If you have a parent who is in an independent senior living facility, they may not have as much social interaction as they used to. By giving them a call to check in with them, you are reminding them that they are loved and cared for. When you do something for someone else, it can fill you with a renewed sense of purpose.
Give Yourself a Facial
Your life is full of responsibilities and stress, and it can be difficult to take time to care for yourself. Practicing self-care can be a great way of de-stressing after work, and facials are easy to do at home.
Not sure how to do a facial at home? The first thing you want to do is to create a relaxing atmosphere. Consider lighting your favorite candles or enjoying ice-cold spa water with cucumbers and lemons; anything that helps you feel relaxed is perfect. Next, make sure your skin is clean, and if you want to steam your face, now is the time to do so.
Once your skin is clean, consider exfoliation. You want to be gentle on your skin, so do not choose any harsh scrubs, rather choose a gentle chemical exfoliation. Next, pick a face mask according to your skin type or the results you want to achieve. If you are looking for a purifying mask, choose a clay mask. If you prefer more moisture, a sheet mask might be your best bet. As your mask dries, consider other ways you can practice self-care. Maybe you want to do a dental treatment for whiter teeth, or you can take a bit of time to paint your nails.
After your mask is dry, and it has been removed, you want to hydrate your skin. Massage a moisturizer into your skin and finish your facial with a refreshing facial spray. If you are used to getting facials at a spa or salon, you know that they typically do extractions as part of the service. For an at-home facial, experts suggest you skip the extractions to avoid doing damage to your skin.
Try a New Hobby
When was the last time you tried something new? If you want ideas for de-stressing after work, why not try a new hobby? Whatever you are interested in, you can take the time after work to sit down and try your hand at something new.
Maybe you have always had an interest in jewelry design or you love putting puzzles together. Whatever your interests, trying a new hobby is an act of self-care and will help to reduce stress. When you take the time to focus on a hobby, you are able to better stay present, which can help you to alleviate worrying thoughts and negative emotions.
If you have a hobby that is physical in nature, such as gardening, dancing, or yoga, your hobby will also help you improve your overall fitness levels. Hobbies that are fitness-related have also been shown to increase feelings of confidence and energy levels.
Clean Your House
It’s said that a clean house is a happy house, and according to a study conducted in 2009, that statement is definitely true. The study found that women with elevated levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, reported disorganized and untidy houses. Conversely, women who reported clean homes also reported higher levels of happiness. Feeling less stressed and happier, in turn, leads to increases in your physical well-being. Women with a clean house who reported feeling happier also ate healthier foods, slept better, and were more active overall.
Whatever state your house is currently in, a deep clean may be the best place to start. Once you have taken care of things like cleaning under your appliances and pest control, it will be easier to make daily cleaning a habit. You can do your deep clean over a weekend, or you can tackle a room at a time by doing a bit of cleaning every night as a way of de-stressing after work.
Play with Your Pet
Do you have your pooch in doggie daycare all day while you go to work? If you are looking for ways of de-stressing after work, take some time to play with your pet when you get home. One reason that playing with your pet can help you to lower stress levels is that pets fulfill the basic human need for touch.
Pets also provide a sense of companionship and offer unconditional love, which can reduce incidences of depression. When you play with your pet, your natural levels of serotonin and dopamine increase, leading to a feeling of calm, happiness, and well-being. Additionally, playing with your pet increases your activity levels, which can lead to physical improvements in your health.
Even if you do not have a dog or cat, simply watching and admiring a fish in a fish tank for a few minutes will lower your pulse rate and reduce muscle tension.
Redecorate Your Bedroom
Sometimes a refresh in decor is all you need to feel relaxed and refreshed. There are even specific things you can use to decorate your bedroom to foster a more relaxing atmosphere. If you want to repaint your walls, consider a muted color like pale blue, gray, gray-blue, or sage. These colors will promote a relaxed environment, which is helpful when it is time to fall asleep.
You can also add artwork in muted colors, and you do not have to spend a ton of money to do so. A simple digital color printing machine can be used for the artwork, and inexpensive frames can make the artwork look more polished and luxurious.
As you are redecorating your bedroom, consider minimizing the electronics you keep in there. While it may be nice to relax in bed with your television on, it can also make it harder for you to fully relax when it comes time to go to sleep.
Read a Book
Whether you prefer a physical copy or a digital edition, reading books is perfect for de-stressing after work. In addition to taking your mind off of your hectic workday and other responsibilities that stress you out, reading offers an impressive number of benefits.
It does not matter if you are reading a book on tips for tending to your flowers or a fictional thriller, reading has been proven to be a way to reduce your stress. A 2009 study by Sussex University found that reading can reduce your stress by as much as 68%. Says cognitive neuropsychologist, David Lewis, “it really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend awhile exploring the domain of the author’s imagination.”
Not only does reading books reduce stress and anxiety, it is also a great way to boost your cognitive function and overall intelligence. Reading helps you build a larger vocabulary, and some preliminary research suggests that reading may improve memory and help build resilience to Alzheimer’s disease.
Take a Nap
While experts advise against taking long naps late in the day, there are benefits to taking shorter naps when you feel you need one. One of the benefits of taking naps is the reduction of stress and fatigue.
If you are planning on taking a nap as a way of de-stressing after work, it is important to heed the following advice. Remember that napping for long periods of time decreases your body’s desire for sleep, which can make falling asleep at your regular bedtime more difficult. You also want to make sure the space you choose is comfortable. You will not feel restored or refreshed if your nap is uncomfortable, and a colder environment may help you fall asleep. Turn on the air conditioning during the summer and snuggle under a light blanket for anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes to enjoy the mental recharge of a nap.
Even if you love your job, there are bound to be days that leave you feeling completely stressed out. Fortunately, there are a number of ways of de-stressing after work that can help you not only keep your sanity but improve your mood. In fact, some methods of reducing stress not only boost your mood but also increase your physical health. Remember that one bad day does not have to lead to another and taking a few calming deep breaths can help you get through your day until you can get home and relax.