Free up mental space in a healthy way. Read on to learn how to decompress so you can start and end the day right.
In this article:
- Find a Physical Activity that You Like
- Give Yourself a Moment of Peace and Quiet
- Take a Warm Bath
- Turn Off Your Notifications
- Go for a Massage
Healthy Ways on How to Decompress and Unwind
A quick fact: According to the American Psychological Association, the majority of Americans are under moderate to high stress, with 44% stating that their stress levels have increased over the past five years.
Stress is a normal part of life and the body’s way of responding to events. However, too much stress, often those daily things that pile up exponentially, can have serious consequences to your mental and physical health.
Some people tend to wait for the next big holiday to take a break and destress. Fortunately, relieving stress can be quick and straightforward if you set aside some time and build it up as a part of your routine. Here are science-backed ways on how to decompress after a long day:
Find a Physical Activity that You Like
Moving your body may be the last thing you want to do after a long and tiring day, but keeping active may help release your stress while reaping its fitness benefits.
Physical exercises release chemical messengers such as dopamine, which is responsible for reward, motivation, memory, attention, and even regulating body movements and endorphins that help relieve pain and stress.
If you are not a fan of the gym or home workouts, there are many other things you can try to keep you active. For example:
Joining a Team Sports
Release your stress and unleash your competitive side while enjoying the bonus of having the opportunity to socialize. If you are not into team sports, there are a lot of other sports that you can try or revisit.
Taking a Walk
If you are working indoors, taking a walk allows you to go out, breathe some fresh air, and be closer to nature.
Give yourself time to wander around the neighborhood without worrying about anything. If possible, leave your phone at home and try not to think about anything.
If you have a dog, this can also be a chance to bond and get some fresh air (dogs need exercise, too!)
Attending a Dancing Class
Dancing can be a new after-work hobby slash stress-release you can do. Just like other forms of exercise, dancing is a form of emotional expression and creativity that can make you feel good and alive.
Give Yourself a Moment of Peace and Quiet
Make use of your diffuser, play your favorite music, and light up a scented candle. Take this time to be in the moment and tame your busy mind down. Here are some activities you can do in this serenity:
Journaling is a fabulous, safe, cathartic release valve for the stresses of daily life. Starting a journal is an excellent way of communicating with yourself and lowering your stress levels.
Read a Book
Finding a good book that can engross you and take your mind off work-related matters is a good use of your alone time. According to research, reading, particularly fiction, increases social acuity and a sharper ability to comprehend other people’s motivations.
Meditation has been proven to be an effective way to manage stress, anxiety, depression and promote overall well-being. It can be practiced at your own pace at your own time.
If you are wondering how to decompress through meditation, here are the four basic elements to get you started:
- a quiet area with as few distractions as possible
- a comfortable posture such as sitting, walking, or lying down
- focused attention on the breathing, a mantra, or an object
- an open attitude without judgment
If you are a beginner, 5-10 minutes of mindfulness meditation a day could be a good start.
Take a Warm Bath
A warm bath an hour or two before sleep can have significant benefits for decompression.
If you are stressed from a long day, taking a warm shower can help relieve burnout. Stress causes the muscles to contract, leading to headaches, muscle and joint discomfort. Taking a warm bath may help relieve your muscle soreness and tension.
A warm bath or shower can also help you drift off and improve your sleep quality by increasing your body temperature.
Turn Off Your Notifications
When you finish your task for the day, the first thing you probably want to do is to detach yourself from work-related matters.
For sure, this is possible by going out of the office. However, we are not confined to the four corners of the office anymore. Work can be anywhere as long as you have your phone and the internet. This is especially true amid the current pandemic.
When you detach from work, it also means disconnecting mentally. When you finish work, give yourself a favor and try to stay away from your phone, or better yet, turn off your notifications while spending time for yourself and your family.
Go for a Massage
Massage is an effective treatment that helps decrease stress by lowering your heart rate, relieving muscle tension, and releasing endorphins.
While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage may also be helpful for:
- Digestive disorders
- Fibromyalgia (a condition characterized by multisite musculoskeletal pain accompanied by sleep, fatigue, memory, and mood issues.
- Insomnia related to stress
- Muscle pain
- Soft tissue strains or injuries
- Jaw pain
Positively unloading your stress at the end of the day can greatly benefit your mental and physical health. Learning how to decompress is an essential life hack that you can incorporate into your lifestyle.
How do you decompress after high stress? We’d like to hear from you. Let us know in the comments section below!