1. SCHEDULE IN YOUR DOWNTIME
Make downtime a specific goal and prioritise it by scheduling it into your day. It could be as simple as setting aside 5 minutes to do nothing after work. The same applies for date night or planned activities for exercise and play. Perhaps you can set a goal of achieving 3-5 relaxation activities during the work week and build them into your calendar.
No matter how you choose to unwind, it will be difficult to do if you are still thinking about work even when you’re out of the office. The first thing you should do as you step out of the office is to turn your work phone off. Avoid bringing work home with you. You deserve to save some time for yourself and your family after putting in most of your energy for the day into the office.
3. TAKE A WARM SHOWER OR BATH
The best way to leave work behind you is to wash away the tension from your body. Water has a calming effect on the mind and soul. Try a nice hot shower to help your muscles relax followed by a cool splash of cold water to energise the cells in your body. If you have a bath tub, light some aromatic candles and soak your body with some Epsom salts. Don’t forget to moisturise after a long soak!
4. UNWIND WITH EXERCISE
Work off the stress – literally. Exercise releases endorphins. You can’t argue with the science. Aside from that, regular physical exercise will help you feel happier and more energetic in the long run. Team sports have a great social element to them, but if you prefer to exercise alone, a good playlist can be just as good!
5. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE
A change of scenery after being cooped up indoors all day will help you relax. In fine weather, try seeking out nature – you don’t even have to go farther than your garden. Breathing in some fresh air and looking around the greenery can let your mind wander away from the office.
6. RELAX WITH MUSIC
Seek some peace and quiet with some soothing tunes. The music you listen to influence your mood substantially. To promote calm, avoid fast and loud genres of music as it may only aggravate you and give you a headache. Slower music that you can close your eyes and breathe along with, will help to reduce your heartrate.
7. READ A BOOK
Sometimes the best way to escape the chaos of the day-to-day is to slip into another one. Research suggest that the part of our brain that feels empathy gets a great workout when we read fiction, for example. So, try reading about a powerful character, or a positive situation. If you are not an avid reader, you can opt for an episode or two of TV series you like.
8. HAVE COMPANY
Some of you prefer to be alone at home after a long day. Solitude and silence can be the ultimate way to relax. For others, there is nothing more diverting than enjoying the company of your loved ones. Whether they provide a distraction or they help you to ‘hug it out’ shifting your focus with the help of a friend or loved one, can really help to reduce stress.
You don’t have to sit in a lotus flower pose and chant “ohm” to meditate. Some people find formal meditation a great way to channel their energy from stress to positivity and calm - others find a comfortable chair and a heated eye mask more beneficial. If you’re keen to try meditation, try searching free podcasts. There are plenty out there.
10. SLEEP TIGHT
There’s no better way to restore energy than getting a good night’s sleep. This can be challenging for many of us. To set yourself up for success, prepare early. Ensure that your bedroom is a place for sleep only by removing distractions that prevent you from sleeping. Once you’re in bed, you are there to sleep. Avoid checking your phone and power down your electronics at least half an hour before going to bed.
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