For some of us, getting home from work signals time to turn on the TV or go on the computer to help us relax. Other times we might head for the fridge to get a snack or binge watch a TV series.
These may sound like appropriate evening activities, but in some cases they are used as distraction techniques. Stopping us from thinking about the day or numbing us to feelings of loneliness, these activities aren’t always what we need to reduce stress.
In fact, doing this day after day can have a negative impact on our well-being as we wake up just as stressed as we were yesterday. Instead of reaching for the remote or fridge, try the following ways to really relax after a long day:
1. Check in with yourself
As soon as you arrive home from work, take a few minutes to check in with yourself. Instead of instinctively switching on the TV or checking your social media sites, just sit quietly for a few minutes and focus on your breathing. This brings your mind to the present and discourages it from switching to ‘avoidance’ mode.
2. Try to stay present
When we’re at work, our minds are focused on the job at hand. So it can be easy to really switch off when we get home, not giving any thought to our actions or conversations. It’s important, especially when you interact with loved ones at home, to stay present. Take joy in the simple things at home, like cooking dinner, and really listen to your family during conversations instead of thinking about that last email you received.
3. Embrace the power of ‘maybe’
If you had a challenging day, try to embrace the word maybe. Say to yourself that maybe what is happening will get better. Maybe it will all be for the best. Maybe it isn’t as bad as you think it is. This simple word has a sense of hope about it and acknowledges that we don’t always have to have all the answers.
4. Commit to enjoyable activities
Make a list of different activities that make you feel happy and alive. Maybe it’s a physical activity like running or yoga, or maybe it’s something artistic like painting. Whatever it is, be sure to commit to one of them in the evening when you get home. This will do wonders for your stress levels. And remember, there’s nothing wrong with some TV/computer time, just be sure you’re not using them as a way of distracting yourself from your feelings.
5. Clear your clutter
A simple task that can make your home infinitely less stressful. Keep your house clutter-free with a 10 minute burst of cleaning when you get home. This will make the energy more relaxed, allowing you to truly unwind.