5 healthy ways to unwind after a hectic work day

08.04.14 |

How do you unwind after a long day at work?

For many of us, the answer to this question is not one we’re proud to admit. Maybe we sit down for an after-work drink (or three), or maybe we coast through the drive-thru for a sugary treat to reward ourselves after the long day we just endured.

These actions, while effective in the short-term, contribute to the development of Habits of Disease, and they can wreck our bodies and our minds!
A recent report from Reuters Health published on said that people who unwind after work by watching television or by playing video games might be damaging their self-confidence and their overall happiness. These strategies for coping with their work days actually make them feel worse, not better!
While there is nothing wrong with playing video games or watching TV in moderation, it’s better if we remove the temptation to binge altogether and focus on healthier techniques for relieving the stress of a difficult day in the office.

Tips to help you unwind

Use these tips the next time you need to unwind after a particularly stressful day.

  • Go for a walk or a jog.  I propose this idea in my Stop.Challenge.Choose. e-Book, and it remains, in my opinion, the best substitute for unhealthy coping strategies in our lives.

    Going for a walk or a jog releases endorphins, sparking a sense of accomplishment and sending good vibes throughout our bodies and our minds. This will help push the stress away, and it establishes a healthier routine to help us out when we need a boost.

    Even better, you’re also benefitting your physical health by choosing this option over a sugary dessert or a calorie-loaded alcoholic beverage. In this way, going for a walk or a jog provides the perfect pick-me-up after a long day at work while also aligning with your overall mission.

  • Read a book. If you crave the storylines and drama of your favorite TV show but want to get away from the screen, read a book instead!

    Reading offers a more relaxing alternative to TV or video games, and it inspires creativity while keeping your brain active and sharp. This strategy is particularly effective around bedtime.

    If you’re stressing out over a big project at work and you can’t seem to unwind and fall asleep, turn to a book for the comfort and therapy you need to get some rest.

  • Meditate. I talk about the value of meditation in my books, including in my most recent e-Book, and I constantly receive positive feedback from clients and friends regarding this activity.

    When I posted the Reuters Health study on my Facebook page and asked what you do to relieve stress, many of you said you meditate. That’s great! It shows that the technique works for you, and, hopefully, your feedback inspires others to give it a try.

    By focusing on your breathing and taking a brief inward journey, you can relieve stress and rejuvenate yourself in remarkable ways. If you haven’t already, give meditation a shot. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

  • Take up a hobby (or work on one you already have!). Indulging our hobbies is a powerful method for relieving stress and for creating a happier, healthier life.

    Personally, I love sailing, and I just can’t be in a bad mood when I’m on the water with my loved ones, basking in the sun and breathing in the salty breeze. Sailing isn’t for everybody, of course, but I highly recommend you find something you love to do so you can use this strategy to eliminate stress in your life.

    Maybe you like sports or maybe you’re more of the indoor, artsy type. Regardless of what you personally like to do, what’s important here is that you take time to do it! Work to master your craft of choice, and you’ll find your world a much happier, more positive place to live.

  • Have a snack. You can still enjoy the after-work snack, but make sure it contributes to your overall big-picture goal of Optimal Health! Instead of going through the drive-thru for a milkshake or an ice cream cone, stock up on fresh fruits and veggies at home, and reward yourself after you step through the door. Fruit salads and veggie trays can provide the same reward of a tasty treat while eliminating all the negative side effects of the high-sugar, high-fat offerings at fast-food joints and convenient stores.

Which of these strategies do you already use? Do you find anything particularly useful that didn’t make the list?