At the end of a long (maybe stressful) day, it can be hard to just let go and unwind. However, giving yourself the chance to relax can be important for your mental and physical health.
Here are 10 tips to help you de-stress after a long day.
It’s something you do automatically. However, focusing your full attention on your breath can help bring you relaxation and a heightened sense of calm. While deep breathing can be useful for some people, if you’re feeling anxious, just shifting your focus to your breath for a few minutes is enough to help your body relax.
Just how kids can go from sitting to sixty, we adults need to learn to just have fun. Playing can mean getting artsy with your favorite medium (painting or knitting), getting out your sudoku or adult coloring book, or maybe actually joining your kids or pets in a game. Whatever you do, get lost in the moment and just enjoy yourself.
Two practices that can help you unwind are writing down each day the things you are grateful for and the accomplishments you’ve made. Showing gratitude is beneficial to your physical and mental health.
The other is physically writing down the things you want to remember to do or the worries that keep you up at night. By writing things down, your brain can stop replaying all your worries and to do lists.
This can be going for a brisk walk during your lunch break or making sure to stick to your gym schedule after work. Besides keeping you healthy and fit, exercise is a great way to put yourself in a good mood. Get out all that pent up energy and then unwind.
Read about the full benefits of exercise here.
Stretching helps relax your muscles and bringing balance to your body. Get some feeling back into those muscles, especially if you tend to sit for most of the day. Stretching can ultimately increase your blood flow and posture, things that your body will appreciate.
6. Get Outside
Being outside boosts your mental health. It also gives your brain a break from being overstimulated. Swap your screen for the green countryside, enjoy your lunch or dinner al fresco, and breath the clean air only Mother Nature can naturally create for you.
You can also fake it by looking at pictures of stunning scenery and the great outdoors.
It’s not even necessary to talk about what you did, what’s stressing you out, or what you’re feeling anxious about. Just having face-to-face time with friends or loved ones can help relieve your stress and anxiety from the day. Call up an old friend or invite someone out for ice cream or coffee.
Don’t forget to give them a big hug – another way to release good oxytocin and make you feel good.
Laughter relaxes your whole body and triggers the release of endorphins, your body’s natural pain-reliever. Take the time to watch a funny video, look up your favorite puns, or find a good joke to tell your friends.
9. Treat Yourself
Whether that means grabbing your favorite smoothie or a quick drink with a friend, treat yourself to something special. Think about what you would do for a friend or what you would want someone to do for you, and go do it.
10. Create a Ritual
Doing something that helps your relax every day will help your trigger your brain to unwind. This is a great way to tell your brain it’s time to relax or go to sleep. Anything from having a cup of tea, taking a bath with lavender, or reading a book for a few minutes.
These types of triggers have been used by professional athletes to wind down before jumping back into things, but can also be used to switch stations on your brain.
Post by Barbara Lee.
Barbara is a world traveler who is passionate about sustainable food systems, responsible consumerism, and holistic living. Her professional background and interests include writing, cooking, non-profit work, and eco-conservation.