We have all experienced coming home tired and even stressed after a long and hectic day. I have those days regularly, where I feel exhausted, tired and often a bit stressed as well. I've lately seen a pattern for how I spend the first hours when I come home these days. All I want to do is to relax and calm down and what I frequently do, and I think many of you can probably relate, is to sit down in front of my laptop or TV. I often think that by watching an episode or browsing the web is going to help me relax and unwind. Sometimes it does, but I have discovered that most of the times I just feel more tired and just as stressed.
The reason is simple. We are constantly taking in new information during our day! We are constantly browsing the web, reading news, articles or watching incredibly funny cat videos that never seem to get old! And when we’re not on our phones or on our computers we’re watching TV. I am no exception here, I actually really enjoy working online, blogging and watching Netflix, but I have discovered how important it is to not use these things as a way to escape the everyday worries, stress and tiredness. That being said, the last couple of days I’ve been pondering on ways to relax after a long and tiring day.
1. Clean up
This is certainly not the first thing that comes to my mind when I come home tired after work! To start my relaxation by cleaning up and “working”. For me this is one of the most important things to do for me to be able to relax! Studies have shown that people generally are more comfortable in a clean and tidy environment rather than a big mess. So you will feel better in a clean environment and also when trying to relax, knowing that you later have to do the dishes from yesterdays dinner or vacuum the apartment, won’t give you the same feeling of achievement and relaxation as being done with them and being able to sit down knowing there is nothing waiting for you.
Yes, close the laptop, put your phone away and turn off that tempting TV. Instead of taking in new information, try to process the information and thoughts that are already there instead! We are constantly receiving new information everywhere from our environment, but we rarely take the time to process it. Take time to enjoy hearing your own thoughts, thinking about what you are thankful for and enjoy just being with yourself. If we don’t take the time to process, how are we ever supposed to be able to relax and find out what triggers our stress us and worries us in the first place?
3. Take a walk
Why pay a shrink when you can take a walk for free? Kidding, but seriously though, taking walks can be so soothing and calming, I’m amazed every time! In my experience it helps me clear my mind along with getting much needed fresh air!
4. Take a bath
Taking a hot bath can be a great way to de-stress yourself and regain some strength! It will help your muscles to relax and also give you the opportunity to do nothing and just reflect on your day and current thoughts. The trick here, at least for me, is to not bring my phone with me to “entertain” me! We have got to learn to be comfortable with ourselves and our thoughts! This may sound strange, but truth is that many of us, and me included, are so used to getting fed by media or other distractions and stimulates that when we are suddenly alone with our thoughts it feels strange. A hot bath may just be our savior.
5. Read and drink soothing tea
Now I know I’ve talked a bit about us having to learn not to rely on outside stimulates to help us relax and escape stress. I do think that is important, but by now you’re probably a relaxing ninja and I think you are ready for number 5! Read a book and drink relaxing tea. When I say book, I mean a book book, not a ebook on your phone or laptop. The reason why, is that a book is easier on your eyes as it doesn’t glow and it’s also not likely to redirect you to youtube! Regarding the right tea to relax, I would recommend staying away from black, green and white tea as they all contain caffeine and rather pick a herbal tea, for example chamomile tea.
6. Take a nap
Sometimes we just need a nap, and that’s Ok! Just remember not to nap for too long. According to Wikipedia, the perfect power nap is a brief 10-15 minutes and it can improve your alertness without you experiencing any sleep inertia. Basically you don’t get grumpy after it like you might get after longer naps. But let’s remember we are all different and what works for us may not work for the next person. So try to find your ideal napping time without it affecting you’re ability to go to bed in the evening.
There are tons of other good ways to unwind and relax, these are just a few I have found work well for me, and hopefully you too.
I would love to hear what you do to relax after hectic days and get your suggestions in the comment section below!