If you’re in a stressful job, it can be hard to come home and unwind. Your mind will still be buried deep in that project you’re working on. However, that’s a sure ticket to burnout. You need to recharge in the evening. Here are a few tips to help you unwind when you get home.
How to unwind after work
Write down your achievements at the end of your working day
When it’s time to head home, you might feel as if you’ve got nothing done that day. However, that’s rarely true. Take 2 minutes before you leave work and make a list of things you’ve achieved. They may be as simple as ‘not snapping back at your boss when you were under pressure’, but it’s an achievement! Leaving work knowing that you did achieve something will help you feel less stressed and put you in a better mindset when you get home.
Don’t feel guilty
Sometimes we feel guilty if we see our colleagues staying late at the office, and we’re heading for the door. Don’t! If your workmates want to burn themselves out, that’s their issue. If you are already stressed, you will not do better work the longer you stay in the office. Go home, power down, get a good night’s sleep and go to work in the morning with a fresh perspective. Also, your colleagues might be staying late because they did not use their day productively. If you’ve given it everything between 9 to 5, it’s doubtful that your overworked colleagues are actually surpassing your work productivity.
Put work away
This is increasingly more difficult now that we all have smartphones and are connected 24/7. You need to set boundaries when you get home so that you can enjoy some relaxation time and spend quality time with your loved ones. Put your phone on ‘Do not disturb’ mode. Use an app like Boomerang for Gmail that allows you to specify a time that emails arrive into your inbox. If you have to do some work in the evening, communicate with your other half that you will need a certain block of time to concentrate on work, but don’t go over that time.
Have an unwinding ritual
Habits and rituals trigger the brain that something is happening. If you start creating an after work ritual that signifies the end of the working day, your brain will learn to power down and relax over time.
For me, my unwinding ritual is to take off my makeup. I only wear makeup when I know that I’m going to be leaving the house. So for me, taking off my makeup means the end of the working day. I have this elaborate double cleansing ritual and then I take the time to put on various moisturisers and serums. The whole thing takes about 10-15 minutes, but after it, I feel totally relaxed and like a pampered goddess. Find the ritual that works for you and use it to spell the end of the working day.
Don’t use multiple devices
I am guilty of this nearly every evening. I honestly can’t remember the last time I watched something on TV or Netflix that had my undivided attention. I’m always checking Twitter, reading something on Facebook or Googling actors that are in the show. This kind of information overload means that your brain never has a chance to rest. If you are going to watch TV, put your phone in the other room. Or if you are reading on your Kindle, turn off the TV in the background.
Take time to be alone
Having some alone time may help you decompress after a long day. However, your other half or even your housemates may wonder why you are ignoring them. Explain to them that you need 10-15 minutes undisturbed alone time, just so you can remain a sane individual. If you communicate why you need this time alone, they should be more accommodating.
Pick things you love to do
We’ve all found ourselves at times binge watching some TV show, only to realise that we didn’t think the show was that good all along. We just kept watching because it was on. Our unwinding time is so precious that we shouldn’t waste it on the mediocre. Try and find things to do after work that you really love. Maybe it’s reading or painting? Maybe you love to go to the cinema? Whatever it is, try and make that your default activity after work. This will help you make the most of your relaxation time.
So how are you going to unwind after work? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below!