After you’ve worked all day, you’re probably tempted to just park on the couch and stare at the tv. You’ve had a hard day, you deserve to do absolutely nothing at all, right? Actually, there are a few things you can do to better prepare your mind and body to actually relax.
10 EFFECTIVE WAYS TO RELAX AFTER WORK
1. FACIAL MASSAGE
Your face is full of nerves and muscles that you’ve straining all day. There’s a reason we tend to rub the bridge of our nose or forehead when the day gets hectic or we get tired: it feels great. Take a few minutes to close your eyes and give yourself a slow facial massage to relax those muscles and nerves and bring yourself some comfort. Try to work specific reflexology pressure points for the best effects.
2. ELEVATE YOUR FEET & LEGS
Experts recommend you elevate your feet for 30 minutes every day. This is especially important if you’ve been sitting at a desk for the past 8 – 10 hours. Putting a strain on your circulation can cause muscle cramping, swelling, and leg fatigue. Give your body and energy level a boost by raising your feet above your heart (on the couch is the easiest way) promoting healthy blood flow.
3. SOAK IN THE TUB
We often hear the benefits of a long, hot bath. You get alone time and you can clear your head. But, the hot water (and adding Epsom salts) also relaxes tired, tense muscles which improves circulation, eases pains, and prepares your body to relax. A study by the Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology and the Cardiovascular Risk Factor Reduction Unit at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada even showed that hot baths have the potential to lower your blood pressure.
4. SIT AND SIP
One of the best ways to transition from work to home is to grab your favorite relaxing beverage and just sit still for a few minutes. Some prefer coffee or a glass of wine. Another great relaxation beverage is a hot cup of chai tea. Besides being delicious and a great way to treat yourself after a hard day, chai also has many benefits for your body such as helping your digestion, and all of the enjoyment of coffee without the higher caffeine. Of course, you’re tired so the last thing you want to do is make an extra stop at a cafe or spend 20 minutes making a chai latte once you get home.
5. STRETCH IT OUT
It’s the end of the day and your back is KILLING you. Tension can build up during the day in your back and neck – caused by everything from your chair to your boss. It might be caused by stress but, luckily, there’s a physical release. Stretching is an immediate and effective way to bring on the relaxation. Taking a few moments to do basic stretches or easy yoga poses can go a long way in helping your body ease out of the tension of your work day.
6. MAKE THAT SNACK COUNT
It’s so tempting to grab an energy drink or protein bar when you’re moving from office to home. You still have things to do, after all. However, there are natural foods that you can snack on that will increase your relaxation along with giving you a vitamin and mineral boost to help you through the rest of the day. Try foods like: avocado, honey, berries, oranges, or walnuts which are known for their stress lowering properties.
7. GO OUTSIDE
One of the most common causes of anxiety in otherwise healthy adults is a Vitamin D deficiency. And what is the best (and most fun) source of Vitamin D? The sun. According to Dr. Michael F. Holick, M.D., Ph.D. in an interview on Huffington Post, we get between 80 to 90 percent of our Vitamin D from sunshine exposure. Weather permitting, take time to go outside after work. Take the long way to your car or go for a short hike once you get home. But that’s not the only benefit – it just feels awesome to go from the confines of your work location to the great outdoors and it helps stretch out those tense muscles.
8. CHANGE YOUR CLOTHES
One of the strongest motivators against relaxing is your own mind. When you get dressed in the morning, you’re putting your mind into work mode. It’s only natural that your mind will continue to associate what you’re wearing with “Hey, I must be at work. Be on alert!”. Once you get home and situated, take the time to change your clothes. Put on your favorite socks and your most comfy pajama pants with that ratty old t-shirt that you just can’t make yourself throw away. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t actually going to bed for hours – your body will be able to let go of that mode and you’ll feel more comfortable.
9. WORK OUT
Yes, I said work out. While exercise may amp you up physically, it can do just the opposite for you mentally – causing release of tension and induction of relaxation. “Regular aerobic exercise will bring remarkable changes to your body, your metabolism, your heart, and your spirits. It has a unique capacity to exhilarate and relax, to provide stimulation and calm, to counter depression and dissipate stress.” – Harvard Health
10. WRITE IT DOWN & LEAVE IT THERE
If you’ve tried all of the relaxation techniques, put on your comfy socks, and still can’t get work off your mind: it’s time to write it down and leave it there. Grab a piece of paper or buy a small journal and write down everything you need to accomplish tomorrow. Then leave it in your bag or wallet until it’s actually tomorrow. To Do lists are more than convenient, they also provide a connection between your mind and the paper, letting you relaxing, knowing everything is in order and ready to go the next day instead of worrying all night.
Looking for some more tips on how to destress and ways to relax after work? Check out our article “Stress – 12 Ways to Keep Your Sanity” .