Stress is very hard to avoid and is a big part of life, especially your work life. It is very normal to experience it from time to time, whether it be a tough day at work, an upcoming deadline, or an unexpected change. Stress, however, can take a pretty big toll on our health and wellbeing.
While stress is mostly unavoidable in work and is a normal part of life, it is possible to manage your stress in a healthy way. There are ways to mentally refresh after a stressful day, whether that be journaling, exercising, or meditation. If you are trying to figure out how to relax after work, there are plenty of ways to de-stress after a long day. Let’s see how to relax after work.
What happens when you’re stressed
First, let’s take a look at what happens to our bodies when we are stressed. Stress is the body’s natural way of helping us respond when it thinks we are under attack or threatened. The central nervous system essentially instructs the body to release adrenaline, cortisol, and noradrenaline which cause a variety of physiological changes.
These changes are supposed to help us deal with the perceived threat. Some of the changes when the body is in “fight or flight” include a racing heart, shortness of breath, and tense muscles. Some amounts of stress can be good for you as it can develop resilience and keeps you alert, but when you are consistently stressed out, it can take a big toll on your body which is why work life balance is crucial.
When we’re constantly under stress, it can negatively affect our overall health and wellbeing. Chronic stress can lead to ongoing migraines, higher blood pressure, and a slower metabolism. It can also wreak havoc on the immune system, which can lead to a greater risk of illness or infection.
Chronic stress doesn’t just have an impact on the body. It can also affect mental health. Stress puts us in a state of hyperarousal, which means we can experience trouble getting to sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to a lack of motivation, impaired concentration, and greater irritability or mood swings.
Because of these side effects, it is crucial to manage stress in a healthy way and learn how to relax after work. Luckily, if you’re feeling stressed out, there are plenty of ways that you can respond to stress and prevent it from taking a toll on your mental and physical wellbeing by finding ways to decompress after work.
How to destress and relax after work
Now that we know how stress affects your body and mind, let’s see how to destress after work to respond and prevent it.
First, when thinking about how to relax after work, regular exercise is one of the biggest pillars of good health and can also help you unwind after a long day. While exercising is a form of physical stress, it can actually reduce the level of stress hormones in your body. Exercising between the prime hours of 5pm to 7pm gives your body temperature enough time to drop before bed.
This is important to be able to sleep properly. Along with that, exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, which are a natural mood elevator. Try to get some form of exercise every day, particularly on days when you are feeling very stressed out. Even walking for just 20 minutes can reduce feelings of anxiety and clear the mind.
Try doing nothing. This is a lot harder than it sounds but try just sitting and clearing your mind to learn how to relax after work. Instead of thinking about work all the time, set an alarm for 10 minutes and just sit without feeling that something has to be done. It will take some time to master this and will take practice, but once you do, this peaceful feeling will spread to other parts of your day.
Along with this, meditation and yoga can help you recognize the power of healing breath, which is also great for learning how to relax after work. People who are anxious tend to breathe from the upper chest but try and control your breathing to come from your abdomen and be slow and deep as it will help you calm down.
Sometimes simply writing down your thoughts or any to-do lists can help. Journaling comes with a wide variety of health benefits, from clearing the mind to helping process strong emotions. Journaling does not have to take long, even a simple five minutes of journaling every day can have a positive impact on your mental health and can help you relax after a hard day of work.
If you just can’t stop thinking about the things you need to do at work, get them onto some paper and out of your mind. Write a to-do list which should give you a little mental clarity that you need to relax by getting all those work-based thoughts down on paper in a structured plan. The best part is that a to-do list can also give you an opportunity to visually see all of your progress as you tick items off when you get back into the office on Monday.
Avoid caffeine later in the day. Caffeine can help you remain alert throughout the day, but it also increases blood pressure and the heart rate, making it even harder to relax. Even if you’ve had a really stressful day, it might be best to avoid caffeine about six to seven hours before your planned bedtime. Caffeine includes caffeinated teas, coffee, and even caffeine in chocolate. To relax in the evening, opt for herbal tea or decaf coffee instead after a long day at work.
Another idea for how to relax after work is giving someone a call who can make you feel happy to kick start a state of relaxation. Are you curious as to why calling a friend or family member can make a difference? When you connect socially with someone that you care about, you engage your Limbic System in a positive way, and it is responsible for emotions. By changing your emotional focus from stress to quick, friendly socializing, you will end up feeling calm and relaxed by the time the phone call ends.
When trying to unwind and learn how to relax after work, consider treating yourself to a glass of wine or a delicious dinner. The Pourhouse in Minneapolis is a great place to relax after a long day at work with friends to take your mind off of the stress that is built during the day.
Meeting with friends and enjoying some great food is always enjoyable, so it’ll help you calm down and enjoy your time instead of stressing at home. It’s a great way to decompress after work. A little break like that can give you the reset you need to feel refreshed the next day.
Try getting out in nature when thinking about how to relax after work. Getting out in nature has been shown to have a positive effect on your mood as it is fairly calming, and the focus on greenery and trees can help you distract your mind from negative thinking. Breathing fresh air can also leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.
How to relax after a stressful day at work
Stress can create a lot of negative impacts on your health and wellbeing, which is why it is so important to find ways to unwind from work. Stress is inevitable, especially when work is such a big part of life, but figuring out how to relax after work can make a big difference in your anxiety. Finding ways to decompress can bring benefits to not only your mental health but also your physical health.