10 tips on how to relax after a long day
We all know it can be exhausting to be working a lot over a long period of time. Sometimes when I've been working hard, I can find it hard to relax even though I'm really tired. However, I believe that spending quality time outside work (or in my case, my studies) is important to improve your performance. Whether it is physical labour or hard thought-work, we all need to relax at the end of the day. Here are 10 tips on how to relax after a lovely day of work:
1. Tidy or clean. It may sound strange to start a tip on how to relax with advice to do even more work. I know tidying and cleaning can be exhausting in itself, but for the purpose of relaxing better, I really recommend to spend about 15 minutes to clean the room where you'll be spending quality time. Just put everything into drawers and closets (you can clean them later) and clean the empty surfaces. Use a detergent that smells clean, and you'll fool yourself into thinking that there's no house work to do tonight. It'll be so much better to relax when you are not constantly reminded of what you need to do or should have done.
2. Turn down the light. Not only will this make sure you don't notice the cleaning you should have done, it will also make you more relaxed. When the light is low, there are less sources of distraction. All colors seem more gentle and it makes it possible for you to relax your eyes as well. Light candles instead of electrical light! Spend a little time on making yourself comfortable. It's all in the small things!
3. Use scents. For relaxing, I really recommend using scents. Personally, I love lavender. I have a small bag of dried lavender next to my bed that I sometimes put under my pillow. So soothing! I can also recommend using scented candles or an oil burner. Other relaxing scents include chamomile, ylang ylang, clary sage, bergamot, frankincense, and sandalwood. Scents work differently from person to person, and you should experiment to figure out what works for you!
4. Eat good food. When it comes to relaxing, it is important for me to enjoy a good meal. Try to make the process of cooking a goal in itself. Use the best ingredients available and make the food as tasty as you possibly can! You're gonna thank yourself later when you sit down and eat the treats that you made. Just make sure you don't stress with cooking just because you have to. If you're exhausted, you should consider ordering food just for this night. But don't make it a habit! It's not good for you in the long run. I suggest browsing the recipes on Smitten Kitchen. Yum!
5. Have a glass of wine. If you can drink it legally. I find red wine in small amounts very relaxing with food or a good book. If you can't or won't drink alcohol, I recommend chamomile tea. It's very relaxing, making your body feel heavy and relaxed. Tea is great to combine with a long bath!
6. Invite a friend. Nothing can take your mind off work as a good friend can! Make sure you don't talk about work all night but do something fun together! After work, your friend is probably tired too, so don't plan on doing everything at once and save the adventures for later. Catch up over a cup of tea, play a game or watch an episode of your favorite tv series. The important part is; it's good for you to be social after a long day of unsocial work and your friendship will really benefit from you taking time to be together.
7. Do something that takes your mind off things. Books. A movie. Making art. All are great to keep your mind off everything and let your body relax. For books, I really recommend Shantaram, Norwegian Wood and Never Let Me Go. For films, I really like Lost in Translation, Vicky Christina Barcelona and Once. I can also recommend to create something visual. Be creative! This is really important if your work doesn't give you the opportunity to be creative during the day. Creativity helps us develop ourselves!
8. Wear comfortable clothes. I really do believe that the clothes we wear can help us accomplish something. If I want to feel good, I put on pretty clothes. That's right, I relax better in a skirt than in a comfy pajamas. For me, relaxing is all about doing the small things that makes me happy. Give yourself time to be you. Wear the clothes that help you accomplish this and you'll be on the right track!
9. Write down work-related thoughts. As I wrote in 10 Ways to make your work day lovely, I find it very helpful to write down my thoughts that are not related to what I'm trying to do. Likewise, I find it very relaxing to write down all my work-related thoughts. It helps me let go of the work, as I know that I won't forget something important. It's a very effective way of decreasing stress for me.
10. Sleep. Get to bed early. After you get home, spend some time with friends or some quality time alone, have a nice meal, do something you like. You'll probably be very relaxed and comfortable. Now it's time to sleep! It is important to get a good night's sleep if you are planning on being productive the next day and to have the energy to do something nice after work. If you are working hard for a long period of time, enough sleep is essential to keep you going. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Feel your body relax and let go.