No matter the job you have, there is a level of pressure, stress, and burnout you carry with you from time to time. This doesn’t mean your job is bad, either! Even when you do meaningful work that you care about, it’s hard to leave work at work. Instead, you may accidentally you’ll bring parts of your job home with you, contributing to anxiety, sleeplessness, and mood swings.
In a positive work environment, usually the issue is a poor work-life balance. You’ve heard this before, but essentially it means you need to take more time to invest in your social life, hobbies, and wellness. Instead of doing those things after work, you’re jumping straight into housework, important phone calls, and heading to other commitments.
How do you stop the madness?!?! Well, decompressing after work is a great place to start! So, our post today is all about why it’s important to unwind after a hard day’s work. We’ll also share some easy ways to schedule in that relaxation after you clock out. Let’s do it:
How to Decompress After Work
Why is it important to unwind after work?
When you go from work right into a long to-do list, your body doesn’t really realize you’ve ever stopped working. Your stress levels don’t have time to regulate! So, after an exhausting day at work, you’re left feeling overwhelmed and unhappy—even when you’re out of the office and doing something as simple as laundry!
The anxiety you feel means you’re not present with your loved ones and you’re not investing positively in your physical and mental health. This is a big problem! And, it can be even worse if you work from home when your two worlds are so interconnected. In the long run, this can make you hate your job, and it can even worsen parts of your personal life.
The solution is simple. Your body needs time to release the tension by decompressing after work. When you do this, you create a clear distinction from where your job lives to where YOU live. If you do this, you won’t gain resentment for your job and your home will remain a sanctuary. It’s the perfect balance!
So, take time directly after work to do some quiet self-care. (Learn more about self-care here with the hosts of Being Bumo!) Cut through all the noise, and for just 10-60 minutes engage in little pleasures and healthy habits that make you happy. They don’t have to be productive. They don’t have to involve anyone else. And they certainly don’t have to be expensive. Do something just for you! Here are some great ideas:
10 Great Ways to Unwind After Work
Binge a podcast.
Do you have a commute home after work? This is the perfect time to unwind! Instead of clicking endlessly through the radio stations and thinking about what you have to do at work tomorrow, listen to a podcast!
You’ll get lost in the engaging episodes and totally release whatever you had going on at work. When you arrive home, you’ll be excited to ponder the podcast and NOT jump back into work stress. You could even continue binging the podcast as you get home and start cooking dinner or doing housework.
Not only are podcasts a great way to decompress after work, but they’re also the perfect way to invest in yourself, learn something new, or better your mental health. Here are some short podcasts you can binge after work:
Getting in touch with your crafty side is another productive way to unwind after work. Being creative will help you exercise a different part of your brain, and it’s proven to help you destress. Crafting leaves you feeling more confident and totally fulfilled!
Just don’t put any expectations on it. Don’t worry about how your craft looks as a finished project—this is all just for fun! If you want to learn more about the benefits of crafting, listen to the episode of Caviar Dreams, Tuna Fish Budget called Crafty AF.
Everyone knows meditating helps reduce stress levels, but so few of us actually do it! We don’t like to slow down long enough to do this mindful self-care practice. But, you have to be willing to take a timeout and invest in your mental health if you really want to make a change in your work-life balance.
We get that it’s hard! So, take a super approachable path to mediation with Jackie Schimmel on her podcast Mind Body No Soul. You can also check out the Dear Gabby episode 5 Minute Guided Meditation that Will Change Your Life. Both hosts will lead you through each mediation until you get your flow.
Read a book.
Another great way to relax after work is by reading a book. There are so many benefits to reading books, including improved concentration, vocabulary, sleep, and just general knowledge of the world. And, reading reduces stress too!
If you need a little motivation, read along with the Readheads Book Club. It’s a podcast-style book club where you can join in on the discussion and hear all about what the podcast hosts think of the story too. Or, if you just want some motivation to start reading, listen to ILYSM’s episode called How I Read 100+ Books in One Year!
Listening to music while you read can help you create an immersive experience too. Sitting down with a book and a great playlist after work is the perfect way to reset, relax, and refocus on life outside of work.
Practice deep breathing.
Maybe you’re feeling like you just don’t have a lot of time for a lengthy decompression activity. That’s totally valid! When you have time for nothing else, just practice deep breathing. The Heal Podcast discusses the power of breathwork in this episode—and, spoiler alert, this simple practice packs some serious benefits!
In addition to relieving stress, deep breathing can reduce pain, stimulate detoxification, benefit immunity, increase energy, and even make your posture better. So, after work, close your eyes and take some deep breaths. It’s the least you can do for yourself.
Watch a little TV.
After a long day of productivity, there is no reason you can’t do something that’s just plain fun. Watching TV is relaxing and definitely decompressing, so pull up Netflix and watch an episode or two. (Just don’t get hooked and binge all night.) If you want some great recommendations, listen to the podcast Best of Both (formerly called The Snatchelor.)
Journal about your day and feelings.
Journaling is like meditation. We know it’s good for us, but so few of us actually do it! Practicing gratitude specifically while you journal can help you achieve a more positive outlook on your work and home life, which gives you deeper contentment and appreciation for your life. What better way to decompress?
For more ways to journal, listen to the episode of The Dream Bigger Podcast called “A 101 Guide on Journaling, Using Journaling for Manifestation, Journaling Prompts, and More,” It’s a great way to get started! And, if you want to listen to someone else’s journal, listen to the MOOD podcast where Lauren Elizabeth shares her daily feelings in an honest and hilarious way!
Cook or bake something fun.
You’ve got to make dinner, anyway. Why not make it an event? After a stressful day, pick out a fun recipe to try! Cooking not only saves money, but it engages all your senses in a way that brings you to the present and delivers all the good vibes! Find a great recipe on Food Heaven or What’s Gaby Cooking . . . in Quarantine? They’re both relatable food podcasts that give you more than just a dinner menu. You’ll love it.
If you really want to feel good, moving your body is a must. Whether you go on a walk, do a little yoga, or dance it out, moving your body is a productive way to shake out the stress, unwind, and prepare for a night away from work. For ideas on how to exercise, listen to this episode of The Art of Being Well where Dr. Will Cole discusses the latest wellness trends.
Have a glass of wine.
What’s the age-old unwinding tool? WINE! Having a glass of wine after work definitely signals to your brain that the long day is over. You could even enjoy your wine while doing another practice on this list, like listening to the Wine Face podcast.
Decompressing after work will help you attain a better work/life balance!
If you’re feeling stressed after work, and you just can’t seem to settle down and get in a better mood, you need to create a boundary between your work life and home life. The best way to do this is by unwinding after work! Choose one of these decompression ideas and browse our blog for more ideas on how to better your life and increase your satisfaction at work. You deserve the best!