Rest – we all talk about it, we know how important it is to our physical and mental health, but many of us do not know how to properly rest after work. If you find yourself feeling restless and worried, your mind filled with distracting thoughts about an ongoing project or an unread email, perhaps you need to reevaluate your habits and rituals that help you unwind after work. Here are some of Working Den’s suggestions of things to do to relax after work.
Disconnect from work
The technology that allows us to connect more easily with work also makes it more difficult to completely disconnect from work. When you work from home, the physical boundaries between “work” and “home” is even blurrier. It is extra hard to turn your “work brain” off after a long day of work when your desk and laptop is just a few steps away. As a result, we check our emails well into the evening and go to sleep plagued with scrambled thoughts about unread emails, unresolved issues, and unfinished projects.
How do we disconnect completely? It often requires great discipline, but it is very important to set some clear boundaries between work and relaxation. Perhaps you can set office hours – when you are available to answer work calls, emails and messages – and communicate those hours clearly to your coworkers to manage their expectations. Outside of these hours, do not check work-related messages and allow your brain to unwind.
You can also create a physical boundary between work and home by grounding work to a desk or your home office. When work is over, removing yourself from the physical workspace will also allow you to mentally disconnect and relax after work. Out of sight, out of mind – when you discipline yourself, you will find it easier to free your mind of work-related issues, which allows you to completely rest after work.
Exercising has many benefits: it helps strengthen your body, increase flexibility, boost your immune system and metabolism, help you sleep better, and improve your mental health. Exercising is also a great way to unwind after work – you can sweat out all the stress and restart your brain and body! You will find that you have more energy and positivity to deal with difficult work projects.
Although exercising often seems intimidating to those who don’t know where to start, you don’t have to run 10 miles or do a hundred crunches for it to count as exercise. Instead, find activities that you naturally enjoy, whether it is jogging in the park, walking your dog, a Zumba class, or even a home workout exercise. When you enjoy exercising, you also have something to look forward to after work and fuel your positivity throughout the day.
Get some human connections
Working from home is a lonely pursuit. Remote workers are not afforded the same human connections as those who work in an office – there are no lunch breaks or watercooler chats where coworkers foster interpersonal relationships. As a remote worker, most of the time that you interact with your co-workers is to talk about projects and deadlines. Humans are social animals, and without human contacts for a prolonged period, we often feel depressed, fatigued, and distracted.
Making up for lost human connections is a great way to relax after work. You can have dinner with your family, go on a date with your significant other, or hang out with friends after work. During these hangouts, it is very important that you are completely present – without the distractions of a smartphone – so that you can focus on fostering the important relationships that fuel your mental energy. Finding joy in small interactions with strangers and pets can also be great ways to recharge throughout the day and help you manage the loneliness that often comes with remote work.
During the workday, we often get so busy that we forget our own needs. Spending some time after work to take care of yourself will help you rediscover yourself and attend to your needs and wants. If you enjoy solitude, self-care activities like a relaxing bath, a massage, a facial, or reading a good book while listening to peaceful music are great ways to relax after work.
Self-love is an important practice that you need to incorporate into your daily routine, and it should not take more than 30 minutes each day to help you feel loved and rested. You can practice self-love even in small ways like affirmations or 15 minutes of mindfulness every day. Once a month, you can treat yourself to a spa day, a shopping trip, or whatever activity that you enjoy to make yourself feel pampered and loved. This practice helps you reevaluate important factors in your life, put you into perspective, and find the focus that you need to excel at work and in life.
Get a good night’s sleep
Humans dedicate a third of our lives to sleep – and there is a good reason for that. Sleeping is crucial to help your brain rest and recharge, process information and prepare for the following day. Yet, our sleep is often disturbed by screens and notifications – no wonder many of us often wake up restless and tired. If your brain cannot completely unwind and recharge after work, how can we be productive the next day?
Getting a good night’s sleep starts with setting the right mood: banishing screens at least one hour before bed, turn off harsh lights and notifications, and if you wish, use a white noise machine to minimize distractions. If you find it difficult to go to sleep, take 10 – 15 minutes before bed to meditate or write down your gratitude list for the day. These activities will shift your focus and quiet your mind to prepare you for a night of deep, peaceful sleep and help you wake up feeling rested and ready to conquer the day.