2018 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?
Picture via Stencil.