After a long day of working from home, it natural to want to rest, relax, and destress. If you are like me, you might find it challenging to unwind and let go of the pressures of the workday. What makes working from home even more stressful is that even after we are done with our work duties, we still have our everyday responsibilities at home. It’s stressful to work from home when you know that “being done” isn’t really. You still have to take care of the kids, make time for cleaning, cooking, and gardening.
Relaxing after long hours of working from home is problematic because it is easy to cheat and get a head start on the next day’s tasks by working late into the night. If you don’t make time to relax after working from home, it can be mentally and physically taxing as you don’t allow your body to rest. Failing to rest can devastate your overall wellbeing.
To help your mind and body relax and distress every day after working long hours from home, we have found the best ways to enjoy some “me time.” Try doing some of these things to unwind.
Schedule After Work Downtime
You schedule Zoom meetings, phone calls, and business trips. Why not design your downtime the same way? Build your relaxation activities into your calendar the same way you would schedule business commitments. It could be as simple as scheduling an hour gardening, taking a relaxing bath, or going for a 30-minute walk to relaxing music, or a trip to the gym after a long workday at home.
Reduce Work-Related Stress with a Stroll
Physical activities keep us fit and reduce stress. Even a short walk can clear your head and reduce work-related anxiety. And if walking isn’t your thing choose a more vigorous workout such as running or tennis to burn stress along with calories.
Here are some of the most effective stress-relieving workouts you can try after work:
- Dance – Dance has the ability to act as a stress reliever, it makes us feel free and relieved. After dancing the endorphins cause our body to feel calm.
- Tai Chi – Developed in China based on the ancient Chines philosophy of Taoism. Tai Chi sometimes referred to as “a gentle way to fight stress” is an ancient martial arts form with a series of meditative movements intended to connect mind and body. Research found Tai Chi to be a safe and inexpensive workout option for people experiencing work-related stress.
- Neuromuscular Integrative Action (NIA) – NIA is a mix of dance, martial arts, and healing arts. This workout is done barefoot, and it features a flowing blend of movement. NIA combines deep breathing exercises to keep your heart rate up, your mind calm, and your body moving.
- Qi Gong, another ancient Chinese art form, centers around the repetition of one movement at a time. Qi Gong is an easily adaptable form of mind-body workout routine that can be practiced both indoors and out. It is commonly practiced to manage anxiety and reduce stress.
- Ai Chi – Combining elements from Shiatsu, Qi Gong, and Tai Chi, Ai Chi is generally performed standing in a shoulder-deep pool. This workout combines large forceful movements and deep breathing.
- Stress Relieving Yoga – A mind-body integrative practice, yoga combines controlled breathing, various physical poses, and meditation. Yoga can lower your blood pressure and reduce anxiety. Hatha yoga is a great option for stress management, but any form of yoga can help reduce anxiety.
- Chi Running – If you prefer a higher energy workout, Chi Running might be your best option for stress-reducing. Chi Running, usually done barefoot, is also referred to as “spiritual cardio,” and it combines running with Tai Chi. It wields resistance-free, relaxed, forward momentum to work your core muscles and minimize the risk of injury.
Relax Away From Home
You worked at home all day long; a change of scenery can do wonders for your stressed mind. A great way to relax is to get out of the house: go alfresco. In good weather, or even on a rainy day, go for a walk or a run, or spend time gardening. Make spending time outdoors a goal because it has so many health benefits. Spending time outside will elevate your mood and reduce your stress level.
Read a Book to Relax After Work
Many times the best way to escape the chaos of the workday is to carve our regular reading time. Even if you have to force yourself to sit down and read, it will help you wind down before going to sleep. A calming book can reduce anxiety and calm your heart rate. Note to workaholics and overachievers: self-improvement and business books don’t qualify as calming. Reading such books won’t help to relax you because they might get your mind set on starting a new project or pull an all-nighter because you’ve got a great idea.
Here are some book ideas if you want to relax and feel less anxious after working from home:
- ‘The Little Prince’ By Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh
- The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to Be Calm and Mindful in a Fast-Paced World by Haemin Sunim
- The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
- Collected Poems by William Wordsworth
- Consolations of the Forest: Alone in a Cabin on the Siberian Taiga by Sylvain Tesson
Relax with Company
Not everyone wants to be alone to calm down after a stressful workday. If silence and solitude isn’t your idea for after-work relaxation, you could enjoy the company of friends and loved ones. Spending time with company is a welcome distraction from the stresses of the workday. Whether you want to “talk it out,” “hug it out,” or “cry it out” after a particularly bad day, spending time with others is a great way to reduce stress.
Relax with Music After Working from Home
Music is a great way to wind down. The right kind of music can make you feel soothed, help you release the stress of the workday. A slower tempo instrumental playlist can quiet your mind and relax you after a demanding workday.
Music has been found to help reduce anxiety in working adults. Listening to a relaxing playlist can help make us destress and feel at ease. When your body is stressed, it may feel tense. Listening to music can facilitate decompression.
For maximum relaxation, consider the following music for your after-work playlist:
- “Message in a bottle,” Enzo
- Weightless, Marconi Union
- Gymnopedies, Erik Satie
- Yann Tiersen: J’y Suis Jamais Allé
- “How Far I’ll Go,” Carmen da Silva
- “It Must Have Been Love,” Herb Keys
- “Free Fallin’,” Midtown Stories
Meditate to Relax After Work
Everyone understands the hefty weight of stress after a long day working from home. Even if you love your job, work politics, and deadlines, and project expectations can create anxiety. When you are done with your workday in your home office, you want to distress and relax, but it isn’t easy to do.
All the little stressors of the workday build up the end of the day. When you shut down your office computer at night, you want to relax, but your brain is still processing the problems you dealt with during your workday. That is the ideal time to turn to meditation. By practicing after-work meditation, you can reach a peaceful state of mind that will help you feel at peace and process the stresses of the day.
There is nothing wrong with taking 20-minutes out of your day to calm down and decompress. You need time to recharge. If you don’t have 20-30 minutes at the end of the day to meditate, you need to reshuffle some things and make time for yourself. There are many activities every day that can help you relax. Suppose you enjoy gardening, great go for it. Would you rather go for a walk or take a relaxing bath? No problem.
Time spent free of tension, or time spent on your favorite activities is critical, but it is also important to process the things that have brought about your stress. By practicing after-work meditation, you can feel productive by processing your stressors, and you can feel peaceful and at ease by calming your mind and taking time for yourself.
Sleep to Restore Your Energy
To live a happy and healthy life, we need to spend a third of our lives asleep. Sleep is not a luxury. It’s needed for our overall health and well being. Restorative sleep is a definite stress booster. Nothing relaxes you more after a hard day of work than a good night’s sleep.
Sleeping enough, which is about eight hours every night, is required for restorative sleep. For restorative sleep to occur, your body requires both deep sleep and REM sleep. If you sleep fewer than 7 to 9 hours, you don’t give enough time for your body to go through the required sleep cycles for truly restorative sleep. Sleep well, and reduce stress through the power of restorative sleep.