Regardless of what you do for a living, the end of your workday leaves you feeling drained and tired. It may also leave you feeling tense. These are just the most obvious signs of stress, which can seriously impact your health. Fortunately, there are easy and enjoyable ways to alleviate stress and feel more energetic away from the office.
Meditation and Yoga
You’ll find this on almost every list for ways to distress and for good reason. Practicing one or both together is highly effective in eliminating stress. Both yoga and meditation give the mind a chance to clear itself. While you turn your thoughts inward, you’re giving yourself a way to escape from the challenges of your life.
We know exercise and physical activity is good for the body. It helps regulate blood pressure, improves heart health, and sheds excess weight. It’s also a great mood booster. Physical exertion stimulates the brain, causing endorphins to be produced and released. Endorphins are also known as “feel good” neurotransmitters, which help elevate mood and gives athletes that natural high.
Cutting the Cord
Another good way to decompress is to take a step back. Start by putting your phone out of reach or turning it off altogether. Try to power all of your electronics down. In fact, take an hour to really get away. Go for a hike in the woods or walk on the beach. Getting away from the grind and getting back to nature helps people feel healthier and happier.
It’s an old saying, but it still holds true. Laughter really is the best medicine. When you’re laughing, you can’t very well feel stressed and tense. Try watching a funny movie or browse stand-up comics on YouTube. If your evening is free, visit a comedy club. A little laughter will go a long way toward helping you unwind.
Listen to Music
Music has a way of speaking directly to our souls, helping us clear the clutter in our minds. Try listening to meditation music, chants, or instrumental pieces. If that’s not something that appeals to you, select some relaxing music you do enjoy. However, stay away from loud, fast-paced sounds, since this type of music will be distracting and may actually make you feel more tense.
Chew Sugarless Gum
Yes, relieving stress can be as simple as chewing a stick of gum. A 2008 Australian study found that chewing gum reduces the level of stress hormones in saliva. Cortisol, which is the name of the stress hormone our bodies produce, is reduced by 12-18% by chewing gum. When you don’t have time to meditate or hit the gym, chewing gum can help you decompress on the go.
If you’re like the majority of people, you’re not getting enough good, quality sleep each night. It’s not enough to lay in bed for eight hours a night, if you spend that time tossing and turning. In that case, you’ll wake up stressed and you’ll only feel more tense as the day wears on. If you are having trouble sleeping, examine your sleeping quarters. If there are street lights flashing outside your window, invest in a sleep mask. Similarly, be aware of noises that may obstruct your ability to sleep soundly. Try wearing earplugs to bed. You may also need new comfortable bedding. The bedroom is one area where you should definitely pamper yourself.
Take a Bath
Taking a relaxing bath can help, especially if you add aromatherapy to the experience. Choose a scented candle that soothes you and light it while you bathe. As you soak in the tub, let your mind wander and lose yourself in the experience. By the time you step out if the tub, you’ll feel refreshed, energized, and happy.
These activities are just a few ways you can decompress, following your workday. If these suggestions don’t appeal to you, look for other activities that you enjoy. Doing things we find fun and entertaining helps the mind relax, so there’s no wrong way to distress.
Adrian Rubin is a writer, editor, and photographer. When he’s not pursuing his creative passions, he can be found giving back to his community. A love for animals inspires Adrian to help out at animal shelters in his Philadelphia community.