How I Unwind After a Stressful Day
Although no one enjoys feeling stressed out, anxiety is a natural response to stressful situations. It helps us protect ourselves and be more alert to danger. However, living in the modern world probably creates more stress than is useful. Sometimes you just need to decompress, and it's important to find healthy, sustainable ways of doing that. Healthy ways of unwinding help to renew you. They don't simply make you forget your problems or make things worse in the long run.
Strategies for Renewing Your Energy
You hear it everywhere these days: Practice mindful breathing. Do you know why everyone is talking about it? It's because it works, and it's not a mind trick. Studies have shown that breathing mindfully can decrease negative thoughts, reduce stress hormones in your body, and help regulate your heart rate and blood pressure.
No, it's not about going on a shopping spree. Instead, nourish your body and mind with something you enjoy, such as a warm cup of tea, a hot shower, listening to your favorite music, or snuggling with a partner or pet. The key is to set aside time to do these things without distractions, even if it's only for 10 minutes. Be fully present in the moment.
Getting your blood pumping:
You may think that raising your heart rate would make you more anxious, not help you relax, but the opposite is true. You don't need to knock yourself out running a marathon after work, but a brisk walk or a round of jumping jacks can reduce stress hormones and raise your endorphin levels.
Temporary Stress Relievers To Avoid
Although having a sweet treat is fine once in a while, reaching for processed foods every day will make you feel worse overall.
Some health professionals recommend a glass of wine for its physical benefits. However, if you find yourself reaching for a hard drink every time something doesn't go your way, you risk forming a dependency that's hard to break. Alcohol also clouds your judgment and is full of empty calories that can leave you feeling sluggish.
If you want to unwind while watching a movie or TV show, fine. If you find yourself staring at the screen for hours on end, though, this probably isn't the stress reliever for you. Too much TV can easily make you feel worse instead of better.
Stress at the end of the day is bad enough. Don't make it worse by procrastinating on prepping for the next day.
As with anything, moderation is your best bet. Too much relaxation can cause you to get behind on things that help your life run smoothly, and once your routine is thrown out of balance, you get more stressed out. The solution here is to get organized, not to take more time off. On the other hand, structuring every minute of your day in the name of productivity is a surefire path to burnout. It's natural to get off balance once in a while. The key is to catch yourself, reexamine your priorities, and make needed adjustments.