Having the chance to unwind after a stressful day can seem impossible in a life that has us wired to go-go-go. It seems we wake up and go to work. 8-10 hours later, we fight traffic to get home and almost immediately start dinner. Then there is the cleaning, fitting in a workout, and possibly helping the kids with homework. In the blink of an eye, it is time for bed. We try to get some sleep before waking up and starting the cycle all over again.
Taking those minutes for ourselves is essential, though. Even if it is for just a few minutes, doing something for ourselves to relax and unwind can make all the difference in the world. It can help to get you back to feeling like you.
Here are 9 ways to unwind after a stressful day.
1. DO NOTHING
There is absolutely no harm in not doing a dang thing! Just sit back, close your eyes, and try to block out all thought. Try to go to a room that is quiet so that there are no distractions. If need be, set the alarm for 10,15,20 minutes (or however long you choose). Don’t look at it until it goes off. There is something so calming about laying back and resting while blocking out all of the outside world. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
2. TAKE A NAP
Maybe doing nothing for 15 minutes turns into a nap that lasts an hour. That’s okay too. If you are feeling particularly drained mentally and physically, getting some extra sleep could be just what you need. It has been shown that lack of sleep can heighten feelings of stress. Perhaps you wish to go to sleep early and get some additional, uninterrupted shuteye. Hopefully, you’ll wake up feeling more refreshed.
3. GO FOR A WALK
I’m not talking about power walking or sprinting a half marathon (unless that is your calm). I mean casually strolling your neighborhood. Taking even just 5 minutes to get out and clear your mind while walking can help. At my last job, when things got hectic, I did just this. I would use my breaks to go outside and walk around the block. When I went back in, I felt better and ready to tackle the rest of the day. Maybe for you, it’s taking the dog out for a walk through the woods to unwind after a stressful day. The key is to try not to think about what is stressing you and momentarily forget about what needs to be done.
4. LISTEN TO YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC
Put in your earbuds and play some of your much-loved songs. This can be anything that speaks to you and will put you into a relaxed mindset. Whatever your musical tastes are will work, whether it is rock, classical, country, or jazz. Oddly enough, mine is hard rock. Something about the harsher beats helps me to get out my frustrations. I always feel calmer after jamming to some Disturbed. Music has also been known to spark creativity, which is a bonus if you are facing a lack of inspiration.
5. TAKE A WARM BUBBLE BATH
Grab a glass of wine, load up the tub with hot water, and sink into sudsy relaxation. There are also all kinds of bath bombs you can add to your soak for an extra touch. They come in different aromatherapy scents such as lavender, peach, or rose petal. Bath bombs also have moisturizers in them that will help soften your skin. You’ll get out of your bath (once the water cools, of course) to silky skin, leaving you feeling pampered and calm.
6. READ A GOOD BOOK
This is one of my personal favorite ways to unwind after a stressful day, but not something I do often enough. There’s just something about sinking into a good book that helps you to escape. You immerse yourself in the characters and settings. It almost feels as if you are actually there, and the characters are your friends. Reading a book that you can really get into could be just what you need to forget about your stresses for just a little while.
7. PAMPER YOURSELF WITH YOUR FAVORITE FOOD
Whether it’s meeting up with friends or grabbing a cupcake from the bakery on your way home. Maybe it’s going to your favorite restaurant and tucking yourself away in a corner booth. Indulging in some good comfort food could be just what you need to de-stress after a hectic day. For some reason, indulging in favorite foods makes things seem okay and can spin the day into a better one. Some of my favorites are chicken alfredo and strawberry cheesecake.
8. GET A MASSAGE
To me, getting a massage is one of the best ways to unwind after a stressful day. This one will take a little more planning and scheduling, but there is nothing quite like a massage. From hot stone to deep tissue, there is a massage for pretty much anyone. Some benefits of getting a massage are reduced muscle tension, relaxation, and reduced anxiety. Find a massage therapist that specializes in the type that you want and get that appointment scheduled!
9. WATCH SOMETHING FUNNY
Laughter truly is the best medicine. To de-stress, watch a funny movie or go to a comedy club. Every day should include something that makes you laugh. One of my husband’s favorite ways is to watch funny animal videos on YouTube. At the end of his workday, he’ll get on and watch animals doing dorky animal things as a way to unwind. Can we all agree that animals are just the cutest?!?!
Taking time for yourself doesn’t mean neglecting your other duties. On the flip side, you shouldn’t sacrifice yourself for the sake of feeling like you can’t fit it all in otherwise. Those other duties will be there waiting for you after you take time for yourself. Who knows, maybe the Magic Kitchen Fairy will show up on your doorstep with an already prepared meal. Can I get a woot woot for no dishes?