09 Jun Clock off, switch off: 5 ways to unwind after work
You’ve had a long day at work so you treat yourself to a glass of wine or a beer with your friends. You start to unwind and relax for the rest of the evening. But as you return home and snuggle into bed, your mind starts filling with thoughts and you become restless. Are you truly as de-stressed as you thought you were?
This is a common scenario for the majority of today’s working professionals. As we continually strive to make a difference to our lives, we find ourselves working harder and for longer hours; but is it of any value if we cannot relax at the end of the day? A study reports that about two-thirds of the working population in the UK, both men and women, are working longer hours. And with 21st Century commerce being more knowledge based than labour driven, we end up overworking our brains. Hence, there is a greater need than ever before to de-stress ourselves at the end of a long day and start afresh the next.
So how can we successfully slow down and switch off at the end of a hard day?
Technology is a double-edged sword. In the ‘always-on’ digital age, we are bombarded with data, information and communication around the clock. As much as we need it, it has also increased our dependency on devices. Whether it is for work, entertainment, social interaction or even personal needs, we are never devoid of a gadget putting information at our fingertips. Get into the practice of switching off your devices (or the least keep them on silent) after you get home, especially before going to bed. Disconnecting for a few hours every evening aids in digital detox. Replacing digital usage with more traditional objects of entertainment, like music or books, can help calm our nerves and help us unwind.
All throughout the day our minds get cluttered with information, from all possible sources. They remain in our subconscious minds and create noise when the body is at rest. To add to it, if you have a cluttered living space, it can weigh you down. A quick re-organising and cleaning of your living space can help you feel clearer in your mind, as a well-organised home automatically makes you feel more relaxed.
In the rigmarole of performing daily chores and our jobs, have we forgotten what we enjoy doing? We don’t have to. Take up a hobby – like reading, cooking, dancing, painting or even something as simple as writing a journal. Or, if you already have a hobby, dedicate some additional time to pursuing it, even if it is for a couple of hours. If you are a parent with younger children, why not use this time to engage in some activity with your child? All these things help to distract your mind from all the monotony and stress of the day and add positivity to your environment.
Once a day, move away from catering to the needs of your colleagues, job or family to catering to the needs of yourself. Dedicate about 20-30 minutes every day to you. Whether it is exercise, meditation, self- grooming or pampering, this ‘me-time’ can help you unwind after a long, tiring day and also help you sleep better.
“Eat well to live well” might be an old adage but it is still effective. Good food, or anything that satiates your palate, is said to release “happy hormones” like endorphins, serotonin and others. And there’s no better way to unwind than to treat yourself to a nice, warm meal after a long, tiring day, followed by a cup of calming herbal tea. After all, there’s no bigger joy than the joy of food. And if you have a happy heart, your mind can take a nice vacation for the night.
The key to successfully ending a tiring day is to de-stress your mind and body before your head hits the pillow. And a good night’s sleep always leads to a good morning after.