Stressful days (or even weeks…): we’ve all been there. Whether it’s because your to-do list keeps on growing or there were a lot of last-minute issues you had to take care off.
Stress can have serious effects on your mind and body, such as increased anxiety, insomnia, forgetfulness and concentration problems. You may also feel more emotional and tired. When stress is piling up, we sometimes forget to take a step back and have time for ourselves. But especially in times like these, it’s important to relax and unwind when you come home to regain some of your energy.
Here are my favorite, simple ways to relax your mind and body after a stressful day.
1. Drink a Cup of Tea
Tea is always a good idea! Especially after a long and exhausting day, coming home and drinking a cup of tea is a great pick me up. Just take a moment for yourself and enjoy the warmth of the cup in your hand. A small effort that can really help you let go of the stress of the day. For me, drinking tea has really become a ritual to relax and feel more zen.
Also try to pay attention to the type of tea you are drinking. Every tea has different health benefits, but if you’re looking for a tea to help reduce stress and anxiety, chamomile tea is your best choice. It can even help with insomnia.
2. Read a Book
What better way to relax than curling up on the couch under a warm blanket and reading a book after a stressful day. It feels amazing to escape into a different world and forget about reality for a second.
My tip: light up a scented candle, preferable a calming scent such as vanilla or lavender, and dim the lights in the room to help you relax a little bit more. The flicker of the light of a candle creates a calm and peaceful ambience that helps soothe the mind, while the scent of lavender or vanilla helps to relax and relieve stress. Speaking from experience, this will make your evening a thousand times better.
Bye Bye Stress!
3. Go For a Walk
After sitting in the office all day, it feels great to stretch your legs and breathe in some fresh air outside. You don’t have to go far, even a 10-minute walk will do. It refreshes your mind and makes you feel good.
An alternative would be to do some stretching or a short yoga practice at home before going to bed. My favorite yoga practices to follow online are from Yoga With Adriene. She makes yoga accessible to anyone and her guiding voice will calm you down and take all your stress away. On top of that, yoga helps relax the muscles and release the tension in your body. Really, try it!
4. Clear Your Mind
After coming home from a stressful day, you probably still have a lot on your mind. You may be thinking about everything that happened that day or what you need to do the next day.
It’s really important to clear your mind and get all the problems and worries out of your head before you go to sleep. I used to have problems falling asleep, because I was thinking about everything that I had to do the next day that I absolutely couldn’t forget. It can really keep you up at night. That’s exactly what you want to avoid, because not enough sleep can result in irritability and even more stress.
What really helps me to break this vicious cycle, is making a to-do list for the next day, so that I don’t have to try to remember everything. You can do this at the end of your workday or in the evening before going to sleep.
Another great way to clear your mind is journaling. Just write down whatever comes to mind about the day, so that you no longer have to think about it. Let go of all your thoughts and you’ll feel a lot better!
5. Take a Long Hot Bath or Shower
Aaah, who doesn’t love a nice hot bath or shower to wash away all the worries after a long and stressful day. I certainly do!
For some extra relaxation, use a shower gel or bath bomb with a relaxing and comforting scent, such as lavender, rosemary or vanilla. If you really want to treat yourself, put on a face mask while taking your bath. I find that when I’m stressed my skin always looks more tired and dull, so I love using face masks to give my skin a boost. My favorite face masks are those from Starskin. They feel amazing on the skin and give me the hydration I need.
What better way to unwind than pampering yourself, right? You deserve it!
6. Meditate or Listen to Calm Music
Meditation has scientifically been proven to help reduce stress and has many other great benefits! Try listening to a guided meditation or meditation music when trying to fall asleep. I love listening to the sound of rain or a crackling fire, but there are many variations out there. My favorite meditations to listen to at night are from Jason Stephenson.
Meditation is a great way to let go of your thoughts and it helps you focus on your breath. You’ll be asleep in no time, I promise!
7. Put Away Your Phone
Probably the worst thing you can do after a day filled with stress, is checking your social media. But let’s be honest: we’re all guilty of this sometimes, including me.
While checking your social media may not require a lot of physical effort, it does require a lot of mental effort. It can increase stress levels and that is exactly what you want to avoid. In addition, the blue light that comes from your screen can disturb your sleep.
I know it’s not easy to stay away from your phone, but try doing something else instead (any of the other things on this list, for example). Or you can start by putting away your phone at least one hour before you go to bed and built it up over the course of a few weeks.
Just one more thing…
Let me know what your favorite ways are to relax and unwind after a stressful day in the comments below. I hope this post gave you some new ideas to try, and will help you as much as they’ve helped me.