Stress that we carry with us from our work days and let linger into the evenings has been shown to impair our sleep and overall well-being. Most of us don’t even need the scientific evidence as proof. I find if I don’t make time to really, truly separate from my work and unwind, I generally just don’t feel very good as the week goes on.
It’s all too easy to bring work home with us, and technology has only made it more challenging to make a clean cut. To make that transition from work back to home life, try these 3 easy ways to take a little time for yourself after work and relax. Mindful rest can re-change you for the next part of your day.
Spend Time Outside (Even if It’s a Little)
Maybe you open the door, see the couch, and head straight for it. I totally get how tempting that is. However, you probably have been sitting at a desk all day, which means stretching your legs and getting some fresh air are sure to do you good. If you don’t have the energy to take a lap or two around the block before starting dinner, head out after dinner.
Set Aside Time For a Moment of Calm
I’ve gotten into the habit of brewing a pot of herbal tea after the kitchen is cleaned up after dinner. Making time for this ritual of bringing water to a boil, hearing the kettle hiss, and readying my mug is calming itself. Even better, though, is I find that pouring a cup helps settle my stomach after eating and also settles my busy mind, which always seems to run rampant even after I’ve shut my laptop screen. A lot of herbal teas are naturally sweet, like chamomile and rooibos, so sipping a cup can satisfy that late-night sweet tooth. Though I will say it pairs quite well with a square of dark chocolate, too.
You don’t have to brew a pot of tea like I do, but look to incorporate a moment of calm into your routine after work. Maybe you listen to music without using your phone, or you sit in still, write in a gratitude journal, or simply lay down for a few minutes with your eyes closed.
Put Down Your Phone (and Pick Up a Book)
You know what also goes well with that tea? A good book. Put down the television remote and your cell phone and pick one up instead. The bright lights from phone, computer, and television screens have been shown to negatively affect sleep quality. After joining my local library, I’ve gone from streaming something on Netflix almost every single night to only turning it on once or twice a week, and it’s been 100% better for my mind and my mood. Reading focuses my energy in a really good way while relaxing my eyes after hours of looking at screens, which means I sleep better at night.