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7 Easy Ways to De-Stress After a Long Day
You know what the worst part of a long day is? Coming home. Sometimes it feels impossible to just leave a stressful situation behind us. We carry it with us even as we’re supposed to be unwinding and relaxing in our homes. Unfortunately, that situation or event that’s causing stress may not go away. It may be there waiting for you in the morning when you go to work, or have to deal with people, or whatever else it is you need to do. But that doesn’t mean you need to spend every waking moment thinking about it. In fact, doing so it extremely unhealthy.
Why it’s Important to De-Stress
Stress can cause a ridiculous number of health problems. There’s a reason doctors tend to ask about a patient’s job or personal life. We all know stress can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes, but that’s just the long term, major health effects. Short term, stress can cause a lot of inconvenient health effects. If you’re stressed, you may experience gastrointestinal distress, which, let’s be honest, is not helpful in any situation. You may also have inflammation, which can be painful and keep you from sleeping. Even without inflammation, stress can lead to sleepless nights. And all of these conditions can in turn cause more stress.
So what can you do to try to lessen your stress?
How to De-Stress
The key to unwinding when you get home, is to leave those stressors at the door. Don’t carry them in with you. One way to do this is to practice mindfulness. Tell yourself, out loud if you have to, that you are at home. Draw your focus onto the tasks that you have to complete now that you’ve arrived, like taking off your shoes, changing your clothes, or getting dinner set up.
You may feel that same, pressed for time rush that you feel when you get stressed out, but resist it. When you’re eating dinner, remind yourself that there is no set time limit; you don’t only have a few minutes to grab a bite. Take it slow. Savor the food, and really think about what you’re doing. If you’re finding this difficult, start by counting the amount of times you chew. (The recommended amount of chewing for softer foods is around ten times, while hard foods should be chewed around 30 times.) Doing so will cause you to focus on the present, and slow down, since you won’t be able to totally inhale your food.
Don’t let yourself think about whatever happened during the day. Set your focus on what you need to do now that your home.
Other Ways to De-Stress
When you feel yourself start to relax a little more, try some of these other ways to de-stress:
Do something purposefully to relax
This may be a song, a specific room or chair, a time you set aside for yourself, or even an object that you like to hold. Whatever it is, use it as a specific reminder for your body to relax. For me, it’s a playlist that I listen too when I start to feel myself get stressed out. As soon as it comes on, my body relaxes because that’s my signal that it’s time to take a break.
Stretch/ do light exercise
If you already have an exercise routine, then that’s great! You’re already on the right track. If you don’t have one, or even if you do but it’s not enough, consider doing some stretches, or something light like going for a walk. Both of these help you focus your thoughts on something else, and they can help release endorphins.
Drink some tea
Chamomile is probably the most popular de-stress tea, but ones that contain peppermint or passion flower work well also. Whatever you choose, try to avoid caffeinated teas. Too much caffeine can cause anxiety, which can lead to more stress.
Do some aroma therapy
When you’re stressed, it’s important to engage your physical sense. With aroma therapy, certain scents are known to calm people down. Lemon, lavender, jasmine, and cypress are good ones to consider. You can use essential oils, scent diffusers, room sprays, or whatever else you want. However, I recommend body lotions. I love putting aroma therapy lotions on at night. The scent is strong without being overpowering, and it’s a nice, final reminder to relax before I go to sleep.
Find a nice texture
Speaking of engaging the physical senses, your sense of touch can have a surprising effect on your stress levels. You can start to feel less stressed simply by touching a pleasing texture. If you’re not sure how to accomplish this, go to the store and play around with all the throw pillows to see which ones feel the best to you. For me, it’s reversible sequins. There’s just something relaxing about running my hand up and down reversible sequins. You can also find plenty of stress relieving clay or slime online.
Do some deep breathing
This one is so simple you may overlook it, but don’t. Taking a deep breath can actually deescalate your stress the moment you encounter a stressor. You don’t have to full on meditate to practice deep breathing (although that can help relieve stress as well). All you have to do is inhale slowly–and I mean slowly!–and exhale slowly. Do this for as long as you want, and you should start to feel the stress ease up little by little. It’s an accessible and fast way to calm yourself down.
When you find something that works for you, make sure you do it often. Don’t wait for stress to build and build until you feel overwhelmed. By de-stressing often, you can help lessen the impact of those really long, really awful days. Imagine how much easier it will be to cope with your stress when you already have a routine in place. You can go home and know immediately what’s going to help you unwind. For many of the things on this list, you won’t even have to wait until you get home.
Tips to De-Stress
You can’t avoid stress in your life, but you can help change what you do in the aftermath of a stressor. Big or small, when you encounter something that causes you stress, take a few deep breaths, or have some tea. Maybe use some aroma therapy hand cream, or do some basic stretches. The point is, you shouldn’t let yourself dwell on stress all the time. You may not have solved whatever issue came up during your long day, but that doesn’t mean you have to take it home with you. Focus on what you’re doing in the present, and make an effort to de-stress. You’ll be doing yourself, and your body a favor.