Everyone is familiar with long, stressful days. Between work, class, family responsibilities, friendships, chores, and all of the other activities that can make up a day, it can be overwhelming. In the evening, when you finally have a chance to breathe, how do you relax and recharge? Techniques vary from person to person, but these suggestions may help you unwind and provide some peace of mind at the end of the day.
1. Drink or Eat Something You Love
When your mind just won’t settle, it can help to immerse yourself in a task that requires your immediate attention for a period of time. Making your favorite dinner, or even baking cookies, takes your mind off your daily tasks and provides an incentive to look forward to. If you enjoy tea or a certain kind of warm drink before bed, preparing it might provide comfort in the action. Eating or drinking something that provides warmth or evokes positive memories can help distract your mind from the rush and stress of a long day.
2. Turn Off Electronics
In a world where it is hard to be separated from your cell phone, it might seem counterproductive to put your phone down for even a few minutes. All of your reminders, calendar alerts, text messages, emails, and social media updates may help you feel like your life is under your control. And that may be true, but recognizing the distraction and added strain they can create, will allow you to focus on what’s important. Take a few minutes, or an hour if you can, to unplug and enjoy your own company without constant reminders or updates.
3. Do Something You Enjoy
Read, draw, color, play an instrument, workout, swim, cook, meditate…what do you enjoy doing when you aren’t consumed by work and other responsibilities? Think about the things you enjoyed doing as a child on a Saturday. Set a timer and indulge in whatever makes you smile and doesn’t remind you of daily pressures. Try to do something alone. You don’t need other people to provide happiness, and you might even feel more satisfied knowing that you were able to relax without anyone’s interference.
4. Make a Progress List
You have been up since the sunrise and finally get a chance to sit down and breathe. If your day was full of to-dos and tasks, chances are you finished several of those. Grab a scrap of paper or a Post-It and scribble out an informal list of your day’s accomplishments. Nothing is too small in this case. Are you a step closer to a work goal? Personal progress is important to make note of, too. What actions did you take today that can help you reach a future milestone? Seeing all you have accomplished will help you reward yourself with time to relax and unwind.
5. Take a Bath or Shower
While a bath or shower cannot physically wash away tension, it can provide time and comfort that will ease your mind and body. Cleaning is methodical and doesn’t take much mental effort to do, but it gives your mind a break from long day’s work. Heat relaxes muscles, and a familiar soap scent provides comfort. While your worries won’t wash down the drain, a shower or bath can give you the time to reorganize your thoughts and consider the positive aspects of your life.