The Best Ways to Relax After A Stressful Day

The Best Ways to Relax After a Stressful Day2018 Update: We still think this is a great discussion about the best ways to relax after a stressful day, but you may also want to check out our recent discussion of how do you deal with overwhelm.

Here’s a fun topic: what are the best ways to relax after a stressful day? We had an open thread about ways to relax a thousand years ago (well, 2010), and we’ve talked about ways to turn off work mode and how to turn a bad day around, but it’s been a while there too. So let’s hear it, ladies — what are your favorite ways to relax after a stressful day? What things do you do on the daily to help you unwind — and what things do you build into your schedule regularly to help reduce stress and help you relax? Do tricks like rituals or compartmentalization help you relax?

For my $.02, as I’ve mentioned before I read super silly brain candy books at bedtime, which usually helps me with whatever anxiety is ailing me that day (or unwind from whatever outrage-inducing thing I read in the news or on Facebook that evening) — and if I’m really stressed out I may just get into bed after the kids are down and read my book or play on my iPad instead of settling in front of the TV. I can never quite get the hang of doing serious exercising at night, but a long walk & talk on my cell phone often helps me relax. If I’m skittish and overthinking things, making lists sometimes helps me relax because the list becomes a brain dump — and it lets me know that I can hit the ground running the next day. I’m not really a bubble bath person, but a long hot shower at the end of the day is also a good way to unwind. This is probably as close as I get to a ritual — if I’ve had a stressful day I actively think it’s time to “wash the day off and start fresh.” In terms of semi-regular things, a massage always helps get rid of knots — if I’m really tense and can’t get away I sometimes try to do foam rolling with the guidance of videos like this one from Livestrong/Ashley Borden. Also in terms of semi-regular things (I guess?), I recently started going to Mass again, mostly because I’m forcing my 6 year old to do PSR and his classes are at the same time — and it’s been interesting to note how just sitting quietly for 45-60 minutes is relaxing, even if I’m not really listening or following along with the Mass — no phone to play with, no 10,000 tabs open (either mentally or literally), no to-do lists… (I know, bad Catholic!).

How about you guys — what do you think is the best way to relax after a stressful day? What do you do on a daily basis, a weekly basis, a monthly basis, and a quarterly basis to keep stress away? Are there things you AVOID at the end of the day because you know they’ll stress you out?best ways to relax after a stressful day - image of towel, tealights, and a rose

Picture via Stencil.

What are the best ways to relax after a stressful work day -- and what are the best ways to keep stress at bay (or to a minimum)? We rounded up some thoughts, and then asked the Corporette readers...



  1. Calibrachoa :

    For me, a big thing is getting into comfy clothes asap. Bra off, socks off, preferably spend rest of the evening with a blanket. (Granted, I also work west coast hours from Europe, so I come home around midnight…) but yeah, put comfortable textures on my body.

    My more active de-stresss things are video games (achievement hunting is really gosh dang satisfying when work is going nowhere) and fanfiction.

    • s in chicago :

      I haven’t played video games since I was a kid. But now that you mention it, it was a great way to zone out and not focus on anything else and did feel totally satisfying to “get to the next level” find the “coin” or what have you. What are your favorites to play?

      • Calibrachoa :

        Right now, the two games I play the most on my phone are Marvel Puzzle Quest and Rebuild 3 – one is a match-3 with daily and weekly challenges, and the other a strategy game in the spirit of Civilization, etc, where zombies happened and now you… rebuild.

        On the PC; I mainly play RPGs because I like immersive stories + quests. Currently replaying the Dragon Age series, and in the same vein I’d recommend mass effect, fallout, skyrim, assassins creed… they all have a good, solid story to them with a lot of quests you can tick off for satisfaction :)

  2. A cat cafe recently opened on the way to my house so if it’s a really bad day, swing by there for one hour of silence and kitties!

  3. Do something with my hands – knit, cook, rearrange my drawers for the hell of it, origami – it draws my focus to my body and the moment and away from the stresses of the day. Also, medieval church music which my husband hates but I find deeply centering.

    • Ann Marie :

      I second knitting. The reason I knit is actually because it is so relaxing. You kind of go into a meditative state when doing it. I also like to watch shows on PBS, like the Great British Bake off. I find them soothing. No loud obnoxious commercials, flashing lights, etc.

      If I have had a really stressful day, my back will usually hurt because I carry all my tension there. In that case, I will try to do a gentle yoga sequence I find either on YouTube or on the TV OnDemand and that really helps.

  4. Anonymous :

    My drive helps me switch from work to free time- I like to listen to music or make phone calls to friend and family on that drive to disconnect. I also try to not check my email after a certain time (7pm-ish).
    If it has been a min exhausting day: faking on the couch, a super simple home cooked meal and lots of tv or reading a book (love my local online library for free books!).
    I also enjoy walks with my husband after work though our neigbourhood, just chatting, no phone or tv helps us relax, catch up and disconnect.

    • I agree with you. After a hard day, I also like to watch TV and eat a meal. I wish I had a husband to go for a walk with, tho dad makes me do 10,000 steps a day by myself, often down Park Avenue when Lexington is to busy. YAY!!!

  5. I love soaking in the bath with a bath bomb or candles (not original, but relaxing!) trying to convince my DH to get us a hot tub… also listening to some worship music really changes my outlook.

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