Sometimes it seems impossible to control work-related stress given the increasing work demands. How do you get your head to think straight amid looming deadlines, demanding bosses, and heavy workloads?
The American Institute of Stress says that over one million people miss work every day because of stress. A staggering 83% of US workers suffer from stress. Luckily, there’s help.
An effective way to manage stress is to figure out how to relax after work. Rather than carrying the entire weight home, find a way to set your mind free. Try switching off from a working-mode to a relaxing one.
Read this guide for relaxation tips to use after a workday.
Leave Work in the Office
Stress affects your performance because your mind becomes too cluttered to concentrate. Work can feel monotonous and boring. You can even become dissatisfied and lose motivation.
If your workplace stresses you in any way, it’s time to create boundaries. Know that there’s a time and place for everything. Leave work in the office both mentally and physically.
Dedicate a transitioning time. Before you call it a day, prepare the tasks for the next day. List uncompleted tasks and postpone their completion to the next day.
Doing this can help you feel that you’re in control of things and prepare your mind to detach from work. Then switch off all work communication and store away your laptop and work phone. You don’t want to take home anything that will remind you of work or prompt you to work.
As you log out, remind yourself that all work-related matters are better off left in the office. Shift your thoughts to the after-work activities and try to filter out all work-related thoughts. Avoid talking or complaining about work issues outside the office.
Set Aside some Family Time
Family hurts more than anything when you’re spending many hours in the office. Your child may feel depressed when they don’t see you throughout the workweek. There also won’t be peace with your spouse.
A study of 11,000 Brazilians aged between 35 and 74 found a huge link between lower cardiovascular health and work-family conflicts. Dr. Itamar Santos, a professor at the University of São Paulo says, “There are very consistent results showing that people under higher stress have more cardiovascular disease. We wanted to specifically study the effect of work-family conflict”.
Make Time to Reset Your Mind
Figuring out how to relax at home can be difficult if you’re used to carrying work home. If you work remotely, you may find yourself working long hours. You won’t have the time to relax or revitalize which can lead to many health problems.
An effective way to ensure you’re relaxing after work is to set aside time to relax and reset your mind. After logging out, have some time to let go free of the stresses of the day. Go for coffee, a walk or listen to content that can revitalize you.
Commuting workers will find that positive content (podcast, audiobooks, etc) helps them sweep away work thoughts while preparing for home. If you work from home, some refreshing music can help you beat the stress and transit with a clear mind.
Create an After Work Ritual
It takes discipline to cultivate a constant habit of relaxing after work. Many people lose momentum or find the transition to be a huge challenge. No surprise 50% of business executives believe that a work-life balance is an impossible goal.
Even so, transitioning from work to home can be easy if you build your life around must-do tasks. Think about creative or interesting tasks to work on after work or when you don’t feel like relaxing.
Get everything in order as soon as you reach home. Change out of your working clothes for something casual like pajamas. If you work from home, get away from your desk and do a different task like clean dishes.
Some rituals like yoga or exercise can also shift your mind from work to home. Studies show yoga can reduce the symptoms of excess stress and may help soothe anxiety. Physical activity can also help you distress and reduce mental fatigue.
Without awareness, you won’t react on time to your thoughts. You will frequently lose focus and stick to an unhealthy working lifestyle. Practicing mindfulness improves your awareness and control over your thoughts.
Research associates mindfulness with lower levels of psychological symptoms. Many times, you feel tempted to extend working hours especially if you’re facing backlogs. If you’re mindful, you can easily realize that the temptation is your mind reacting to the situation.
Instead of continuing to work, you can pause and use your sane mind to switch to a relaxing mode. Examples of mindful exercises include breath awareness, meditation, and Yoga.
Make a Healthy Meal
Stress and unhealthy eating are highly interconnected. American Psychological Association says people seek high fat or high-calorie foods when stressed. 38% of adults say they overeat or eat unhealthy because of stress.
The period you take to know how to relax won’t be smooth. Adaption is usually difficult and to stay in good shape you need to eat healthily. Some foods can worsen stress while some can boost your moods.
Nutrient-rich foods like sweet potatoes can lower cortisol levels and help you respond better to stress. Your body absorbs refined carbs super-fast which can spike insulin levels and cause hunger pangs. This can affect your concentration and make you lose sight of your goals.
Use the Time to Explore Hobbies or Grow Your Skills
Some people work two jobs to make ends meet. Others fear losing their jobs and believe that the extra work hours can protect their jobs. Some are passionate about their jobs.
Whatever your reason for working excessive hours, the result is burnout and possible breakdown. You have to learn how to relax if you will stay productive for many years.
If you’re a workaholic who wants to make use of every minute, consider growing your skills. Instead of working non-stop, maximize after-work hours by learning something you enjoy.
Learn How to Relax After Work to Improve Your Life
Working long hours not only leads to stress but also health and relationship problems. The best way to overcome it is to know how to relax after work. Get started with our relaxation tips.
For more tips and discussions on improving your health and wellness, check out our wellness library.