Rather than collapse for a night on the couch of TV when you come home from work, try these simple ways to unwind instead. Our bodies need proper relaxation methods to combat stress, fatigue and an unhealthy lifestyle. Relaxation can be one of the best things you can do to prevent depression, disease and weight gain. Check out these ways to unwind and let me know if you have ever tried any of them!
1. Stretch It out
One of the single handed best ways to unwind that I’ve tried throughout the years is to take 20-30 minutes for deep stretching and relaxation. Some may say it’s a slow version of yoga, but I am not at all focused on exercise during this time. Primarily, I perform stretches that target areas where I feel pain, fatigue, or places that need attention. From back bends, to hip flexor stretches, to twists, along with lots of leg stretches, this is one of my favorite ways to unwind at the end of the day. Stretching moves lymph through our blood, which calms inflammation and eases stress and tension.
Speaking of stretching it out, another option to unwind is to try some yoga at the end of the day. If you’re dead tired, then just do a few stretches as mentioned above, but if you have a little energy left, do some yoga to really calm yourself down. This can mean taking a class, or popping in a DVD in your own home. I also like finding short routines on YouTube to try new workouts.
3. Cook Away Stress
After a work-day, sometimes the idea of cooking seems like a chore. There are days, however, that I find one of the best ways to unwind is to mindlessly chop, stir and cook away my stress. I appreciate my meal more, and sometimes play a little relaxing music on my iPhone to accompany the cooking. Cooking in silence is also a nice way to unwind too. It can be a sort of meditative process if you let it be, and you’ll connect more with yourself, your thoughts and your food this way.
4. Write It out
After my nightly shower, I like to take 10-15 minutes to write out my thoughts or ideas. Sometimes this is a to-do list for the next day, and other days it may just be simple thoughts I am working through or things I am struggling with. This time doesn't have to be a time to write anything specific, but the act of writing whatever is on your mind is a great way to relieve stress. I’ve used this method for years and have found it one of the best ways to unwind, get my thoughts out of my head, and feel like I have a start on the next day’s tasks.
Nope, this one is not a mistake appearing on this list. Hear me out though! There are days when I have a little more anxiety than others and just need to take it out on something. Sometimes a run works, or a nice walk, but other days, my anxious energy needs to accomplish something. Cleaning always helps me. As I scrub, mop, dust and sweep, stress just finds its way out of my body. After I’m finished, I not only have a clean house, but my stress is gone too.
6. Light Candles
When the house is quiet and calm, lighting candles is one of my favorite ways to unwind. Even if for only 20 minutes or so, just sitting still in candlelight and reading a book or checking my email is so relaxing. Candles are also nice with a hot bath, but you don’t have to soak in the tub to enjoy them. Light a few candles whatever you’re doing, and you’ll notice how they decrease your stress almost instantly. Just be safe and don’t leave the room they are lit in and always blow them out before you go to bed.
7. Take a Walk
If you have some energy and don’t want to do an intense workout, try taking a 20-30 minute walk. In the spring and fall the weather is perfect to walk in outside, but during summer, you can also enjoy a nice evening walk before or after dinner. Walking is a great way to unwind and can be a wonderful preventative method for diabetes, heart disease and weight gain. A little bit goes a long way, so don’t feel the need to walk 3 miles, just take a few laps around the block!
8. Sit down
Goodness, sometimes this is a hard one for me to do. When I get home from work, I have a million things I feel like I need to accomplish before I can allow myself to sit down and rest. There is always a little laundry to do, dinner to fix, emails to reply to, dogs to be fed, etc. Sometimes a girl just needs to sit down! Take 10 minutes to sit down and just sit. Your legs, mind and stress levels with thank you.
9. Have Some Tea
Your grandma isn't the only one who should sip tea everyday! You should too, dear! Tea is one of the best ways to relax, and is full of anti-aging properties. Bursting with antioxidants and anticancer compounds, tea is a true health food for many reasons. My favorite thing to do at the end of everyday is to enjoy a few cups of chamomile tea, or lavender tea. Peppermint, decaf green tea and chai tea are also excellent for relieving stress. Once you try it, you’ll be hooked too. Try it with a little lemon, stevia or honey to sweeten and even a dash of ginger or cinnamon for digestive health too. When you’re stressed, your stomach can find itself in a knot. Tea and these herbs help almost immediately.
Baths are nice, but I actually prefer taking a shower to unwind at the end of the day. The water beating down on you endlessly is so therapeutic and you don’t have to worry about the water getting cold like you do in a bath! Use some Epsom salt as a body scrub, which is full of magnesium to ease sore muscles and relieve stress. Also use natural sea salt soap to wash your face and body with, which is full of nutrients that de-stress and detox your body. I also recommend applying a little coconut oil on after your shower to lock in moisture to your body and give you great skin.
These are some of my personal favorite ways to unwind, but I would love to hear yours too! Do you have anything you like to do at the end of the day to unwind?