From the moment the alarm goes off in the morning, till you lay your head down at night, it’s a constant marathon of go, go, go!
Stress is a fact of life, and that’s ok. The question is not how to get rid of stress completely (because you can’t), but rather how to manage stress in the most healthy way so it doesn’t rule your life.
To combat stressful energy, you need to be proactive and neutralize it with relaxing activities. Particularly at the end of a long day, learning how to relax after work will bring stress levels down and help you better enjoy your family and leisure time. We all know how important it is to relax, but when you’re overly stressed, coming up with ideas for relaxation can be difficult.
Look no further than these 10 relaxing activities that will help you de-stress and make it easier to achieve inner calm:
1. Walk barefoot on grass
It might sound strange, but walking barefoot on the grass actually offers stress-reducing benefits. There are several theories as to why. It is believed that the negative electrical charge in the earth can help fight against free radicals, giving you a healing dose of antioxidants directly through the skin. Another theory says that physical contact with nature helps settle the body’s circadian rhythm, leading to a calming sensation. Whatever the reason, it works – especially if you’ve spent all day walking the carpeted corridors of the office. Give it a try!
2. Body scan meditation
Meditation is a popular method for relaxation, and there are good reasons for it. Meditation is scientifically proven to promote a calmer, more balanced mind, which can help reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety. You don’t need to spend a long time meditating; even just 10 minutes a day is enough to reap the benefits. We recommend body scan meditation.
During the session, focus your mind on every part of the body, moving from head to toe, and let the calmness wash over you. Here’s a quick guide for how to do it.
3. Home spa treatment
A luxurious spa treatment is a classic self-care activity, but it can be expensive. Instead of breaking the budget, treat yourself to a DIY home spa experience. With a little effort, you can recreate the luxury of a spa, but with an important difference – you’ll be investing your time, energy and emotion in caring for and pampering yourself.
That is both soothing and empowering. So grab some fluffy towels, your favorite face mask or foot scrub, dim the lights, put on some soft music, and enjoy.
4. Do something creative
Neuroscientists already know that being creative is a key to relaxation. Brain waves slow down, and large amounts of feel-good hormones, such as endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin, are released into the bloodstream.
It doesn’t really matter what you choose to do, as long as it gets your creative juices flowing. Write a poem, practice an instrument, crochet a sweater, and build a sandcastle. Express your creativity in your own unique way, and feel yourself unwind and relax.
5. Cook something delicious
Instead of ordering takeaway, try cooking as a way to relax. Yes, cooking is known to have a calming effect on the mind and body. For many people, preparing food returns us to the primal sensations of our childhood, associated with nurturing and comfort.
Repetitive actions such as chopping and peeling are very soothing and don’t demand any thinking. Cooking is a creative activity, and being creative is a great stress reliever. Plus, the aromas and tactile sensations can also calm the senses. So pull out your favorite recipe, start chopping, and start relaxing!
6. Break a sweat
Movement and exercise are great stress relievers, but if you want to get really relaxed, make sure you exercise hard enough to break a sweat. Apart from being an effective way to release pent up energy, strenuous exercise will increase the level of endorphins in the bloodstream, leading to that amazingly relaxed post-workout feeling.
If you’re looking for something more exciting than jogging, try dancing, kickboxing or even power yoga.
7. Connect with someone you love
Connecting with people is one of the most important things you can do to reduce stress and boost your mental health. Having deep social ties gives us a sense of psychological safety, positivity and meaning. Particularly after a hard day at work, a simple chat (in person or on the phone, no typing!) with a family member or friend is a great way to strengthen your relationship and de-stress at the same time.
Try not to focus on the stressors of the day – instead, laugh together, talk about something that interests you both, or share some happy memories.
8. Do a biofeedback session
Stress leads to a host of physical and emotional symptoms, like high blood pressure, headaches, and anxiety. Biofeedback is a proven technique to track your physiological responses in real-time, giving you information to help understand and control your stress level.
A short biofeedback session at home after work is a great way to promote relaxation and curb stress, and the Reflect biofeedback device is the perfect companion. Just place your hands on the orb and it accurately measures your heart rate, breathing, and more.
9. Have a quick lie down
Everyone’s heard of the ‘power nap’. It’s what you do to get your energy level back up and make it through the day. But napping also has relaxing benefits. A short nap can help you better regulate your emotions and de-stress. So, when you get home from work, why not head straight to the bedroom for a short soothing nap? If you can’t fall asleep, even lying quietly for 20 minutes in a darkened room can provide the mental and emotional shift necessary to leave the workday behind and get into relaxed evening mode.
10. Do nothing
Sometimes, the best way to relax is to do nothing at all. And it is often the most difficult. Our lifestyles are busy and active. There is great value placed on doing and achieving. There is very little time to simply sit, stare out the window, and just ‘be’. No TV, no social media, or mobile phones.
No background music or conversation or reading. Do nothing! Ironically, by doing nothing, you may just reach untapped levels of inspiration, creativity and calm.
Relaxing activities are your best friend
Remember, relaxation is a skill, and it takes practice to achieve the mind-body balance that leads to inner calm. Don’t wait until your stress levels are too high. Focus now on how to relax after work every single day.
Soon, getting relaxed will become an essential part of your routine, like brushing your teeth. Use the ideas for relaxation listed above, and it will also be fun and rewarding!