You’re prepared for yet another day in the life of a working adult; You arrive at work to find that the coffee machine isn’t working, the “Karen” of the office is giving you a stern glance, you were just reminded of a meeting that you’re now underdressed for, the workload begins to pile up, and by lunchtime, it already feels like 6:00 pm. Yet, when the time comes to unwind and relax after your stressful day, Netflix creeps its way into your mind and there’s no way of getting out of that one.
But we have come up with a list of five ways to relax after a stressful workday that doesn’t always include reruns of Friends or another roommate viewing of Tiger King.
Now before you say, “I’m not the art type,” keep in mind that painting isn’t exclusive to good painting. Art is art, whether it comes out looking like a dog or an alien.
Painting is the most therapeutic form of art and once you start, you can’t stop. The brush starts to feel like a sixth finger, and you become undeniably attached to your work. The more of yourself that you pour onto the canvas, the more vulnerable you begin to feel.
The soft strokes, the bright acrylic colors, the comforting dip of the brush into the paint, the unusually rich but strangely calming smells, the gradual shift of one image morphing into another until the final product looks back at you, the pride, the love.
Art therapy has been changing lives for nearly 80 years and it can change yours.
Not only is it rewarding and fun but it has some incredible health benefits. It has been proven to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
If you don’t believe us, you’ll definitely believe Harvard Medical School. In an article titled The healing power of art: Creative activities can relieve stress, aid communication, and help arrest the cognitive decline, they claim “art can help people with depression, anxiety, or cancer, too. And doing so has been linked to improved memory, reasoning, and resilience in healthy older people.”
As you begin to bathe yourself in the bliss of painting, you will find all of your stress slowly diminishing, blooming into waves of new emotions that you have never felt.
The final product of your work is just another version of you. It is a reflection of your innermost fears, confidential thoughts, pent-up anger, overwhelming anxiety, and the calmness that lives deep inside you.
And who cares if it doesn’t look like a piece out of a Van Gogh collection. As Megan Carleton, an art therapist at Harvard says, “It’s the process, not the product.”
2) Dive into a Gripping Book
With all the technology swarming around us, sometimes taking a break can feel really refreshing. There’s something heart-warming about snuggling up with a cup of tea and reading a physical book.
The characters come to life and start to feel like family. If you stop reading, you feel like the life packed into those pages stops as well. It’s a bizarre, yet unbelievable feeling.
Whether you like non-fiction, historical fiction, science fiction, romance, fantasy, mystery or horror, diving into a gripping book will benefit you in many ways, especially in the long run.
Reading increases your vocabulary and comprehension, fights depression, prevents cognitive decline as you age, reduces stress, often lowers blood pressure, and surprisingly, will improve your own writing skills.
If you’re looking for some new action-packed books, Cool Things Chicago has a great list that will certainly “get your heart racing” with excitement.
Reading is comforting and entertaining. It will lend you information that will remain with you forever. It’s the perfect way to wind down after a stressful day.
Baking desserts from scratch is hard when you have a box-cake that only requires three quick steps sitting in your pantry. Why get everything dirty and put effort into making some sort of concoction that probably won’t come out great? Because baking is relaxing and will mitigate the stress you’re feeling!
Whether you’re craving some good old-fashioned chocolate chip cookies, a rich, sweet piece of Baklava or a spoonful of authentic Italian Tiramisu, eating it will taste 10,000 times better if you’re the one who made it.
After a long workday, you might be too exhausted to even think about entering the kitchen. But this is a common misconception. Baking isn’t actually tiring. Yes, it takes effort and some sort of concentration, but once you start mixing together random ingredients and notice a dough or batter forming, it feels quite relaxing.
In an article titled A Road to Mental Health Through the Kitchen, published by the Wall Street Journal, it discusses the health benefits of baking and cooking and the reasons why they’re so relaxing.
They mention, “Now, some health-care clinics and counselors are using cooking or baking as therapy tools for people suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.”
If you’re feeling down or stressed after a long workday, baking might just become your best friend. And guess what? You get to eat it after!
Yoga has quite literally saved lives and it continues to salvage broken hearts, stressed minds, injured bodies, and depressive thoughts. Everyone wants to feel that Zen after a tiring, stressful day.
Yoga might seem arduous at first; If you think it’s hard to get into Child’s Pose, wait until you try the King Pigeon pose. But once you break into a technique and learn how to maneuver your body into strange forms, you’ll feel your body slowly unwinding.
Yoga was created with the purpose to train your body and mind to become aware of your own nature and to self-observe. And slowly, people started noticing the benefits that it was having on both the body and mind, in the present moment and in the future.
After only a few weeks of practicing yoga, you will notice yourself becoming more flexible, less stressed, and a lot happier. Yoga has been proven to relieve anxiety, better bone health, help with deeper sleep, boost immune system functionality, and increase self-esteem.
If you feel like the noise is too loud sometimes or the world won’t give you a moment to breathe, yoga will gift you with a lifetime of tranquility.
5) Listen to Music
The moment you leave work, you put your headphones in and drown yourself in the music. Everyone around you has their headphones in, all happy to be done with work for the day.
But music hits differently when you’re in the peace of your own home. You don’t have to think about what stop to get off or who’s around you on the street. You don’t need to think about who’s watching you or whether you need to stop to get groceries. Once you get into your room and put on some music, there are no distractions.
Especially after a stressful workday, music can elevate your mood and relieve stress. Music therapy has been successful in releasing anxiety, reducing symptoms of depression, and even improving sleep habits.
These are all fun and rewarding ways to relax after a stressful workday. If you’re looking for some more fun activities that can potentially relieve you of the stress that you carry with you after a long workday, News Affinity has a great list of 5 Activities to Boost Your Mood.
No matter what your job is or how stressed you feel, these are all great ways to wind down and take it easy for a little while.