Regardless of what type of job you have, it’s essential to take time to relax at the end of a long day. Whether you had a challenging conversation with your boss or a customer, just wrapped up a large project or have just spent the last eight (or more) hours scrambling to get things done, de-stressing is crucial. This is especially true when you have to get up and do it again tomorrow. Fortunately, there are several ways to relax after work. From lighting a few scented candles featuring your favorite fragrances to relaxing in a warm bubble bath, here are a few ways of the best ways to relax after a long day at work. No matter what you enjoy or how much you can afford to spend, there are plenty of things you can do to make all of your daily stress melt away.
1. Surround Yourself with Calming Aromas
Indulging in your favorite soothing fragrances is an excellent way to unwind after work. Our sense of smell is more powerful than most folks realize. A single sniff of a diffuser or candle can mentally transport you to another place and time. Ignite a few country candles to travel back to your home nation or a favorite vacation destination. Or illuminate your space with candles featuring fragrances inspired by states, cities or precious memories.
In aromatherapy, certain fragrances elicit feelings of calm and ease stress. Chamomile is highly relaxing, and lavender is well-known for its anxiety-reducing effects and ability to help one relax. Other soothing scents include mandarin, neroli, yuzu, ylang-ylang, bergamot and frankincense. Make a habit of lighting a few candles or setting up reed diffusers when you get home from work. You could even buy a car freshener to help you unwind on your way home from your job. You’ll likely discover that certain scents wash over you and instantly instil a feeling of calmness.
2. Just Breathe
When work stresses you out, it triggers your parasympathetic nervous system and engages your Fight or Flight Response. Taking even a few moments to focus on your breathing can help you calm down and get some much-needed rest. Learning how to meditate is an excellent option if you want to experience the full benefits of mindful breathing. There are even apps to guide and instruct you as you build your meditation skills. But if you’d rather, you can also keep it simple. All you need to do is focus on breathing in for a count of four and then breathing out for a count of four. Keep breathing mindfully for at least five minutes.
3. Start Journaling
Expressing your thoughts and feelings through writing is a highly effective means of relaxing. There’s no wrong way to do it. If you feel so inclined, just pick up a notebook (or a pretty journal) and start writing. Write about your day, your goals and your emotions. If you have trouble getting started, search for journal prompts online. Journaling is an excellent way to work through difficult emotions and do some problem-solving for work-related issues. Developing this habit can help you better understand yourself too.
4. Escape Reality with a Good Book
Sometimes, you just need a short break from Reality. When you feel you need to get away for a while, try escaping into the pages of a good book. In addition to entertaining you, reading takes your mind off of work stressors and lowers stress levels. It also provides cognitive benefits, including increasing your attention span, enhancing focus and improving your memory.
5. Spend Time in Nature
Research has proven time and time again that immersing yourself in nature lowers stress levels and boosts one’s sense of well-being. And it only takes about two hours per week to experience these benefits for yourself. Spending time in green spaces eases anxiety and depression, and it can provide an instant mood lift. Within minutes of visiting a natural area, your blood pressure, muscle tension and cortisol levels drop. And at the same time, your dopamine production and endorphin levels increase, leading to increased happiness.
If you need some more encouragement, consider this: Being in nature can ease symptoms of ADHD, provide a creative boost and help you get a better night’s sleep. People who regularly spend time in nature tend to be kinder and have more positive attitudes toward life, work and other people. Keep in mind that spending time in nature doesn’t mean travelling to a remote area and going for a hike in the woods. Visiting a local park or hanging out in your backyard can provide the same benefits.
6. Relax in a Warm Bath or Shower
Relaxing in a warm bath or shower after work is an excellent way to melt the day’s stress away. Taking a bath with Epsom salts, bubbles, and fragrant candles is very soothing, but a hot shower works well too. Consider using a rich body wash with calming fragrances if you’re taking a shower.
You can also enjoy aromatherapy in your shower by hanging fragrant herbs (lavender, eucalyptus, lemongrass, etc.) from your showerhead. Shower steamers and oil diffusers are perfect for folks who prefer showers over baths. Reed diffusers work especially well because they provide long-lasting fragrance with minimal maintenance, unlike electric oil diffusers that require daily refills.
Finding ways to relax after work isn’t always easy, but it’s essential. Chronic stress impacts your mental and emotional health, putting your physical health at risk. Taking just a bit of time to unwind each evening benefits your personal and professional life.
The ideas above are just a few of the best ways to relax after work. Keep in mind that these things often work better for some people than others. It may take some time to figure out what helps you relax best. Feel free to experiment with the suggestions above and try other techniques, such as meditating, doing art or exercising. With patience, you’ll discover what works best for you and be on your way to enjoying a more relaxed life.