While many workplaces are starting to realize that their employees need to be better taken care of by ensuring lunch breaks are taken and yoga classes are provided, there are many people that still endure much stress at work, and then live with it when they come home.
And so the question becomes how do you let go of work stress at home properly? How do you “disconnect” when you come home so that you’re not overly anxious? How do you let go the pressures of family, co-workers, or society so that, once you’re home, you can just be yourself and enjoy your free time (as opposed to having your mind cluttered with thoughts about the past or future)?
Well, I’m going to explain how you can do exactly that in this article!
Why Stress is Unhealthy
Aside from not feeling good, stress is also very bad for your health. It can cause physical issues such as body tension, cancer, heart attacks, and lung disease. Emotionally, it can causes anxiety and depression, while making it difficult to manage your emotions. This is especially damaging when one is prone to anger, for anger is associated with many heart problems.
It can also affect your romantic life, negatively affecting hormones related to sex drive, and create issues during pregnancy. Another common problem is that, when people are stressed, they often clench their jaw or grind their teeth, which can do lasting damage on the jaw, cause gum disease and can wear out your teeth.
Among other parts of your health, stress can cause weight gain, wrinkles, poor eyesight, and other aspects of premature aging. Overall, stress does extreme damage to your body and mind, so it is best to limit it as much as possible, using healthy techniques that combat the effects of stress.
5 Tips to Let Go of Work Stress
In order to help you deal with stress caused by work, I will give you five tips I have found helpful in my own life.
- Yin Yoga
Doing a more yin, or slower-paced, restorative practice is excellent stress relief technique for after work. Yin yoga focuses more on releasing muscle tension and increasing flexibility, rather than aerobic exercise or muscle building, so it feels like a relaxing massage, rather than a work out. I highly suggest doing this once you get home, for it will make your after-work routine so much better, once you remove all the tension from your body and work on those stiff muscles!
Doing yoga at a slow pace also allows you to focus on your breath to pose alignment, and slows you down, if you’ve been rushing around at work. A good tip to remember when doing yoga is to breath in when you open the body and then breath out when you close the body. For example, inhale during cat pose and exhale during cow pose.
- Bond With Someone Special
I know that sometimes we can be socially exhausted after work, due to having to put on an inauthentic, happy face and conversing with people we may not see eye to eye with. However, science shows that people who regularly spend time with family, or loved ones in general, have higher self-esteem, feel more connected with their loved ones, have more positive behaviors, healthier lifestyles, and stress relief from having authentic, easy-going conversations.
Therefore, if you’re feeling stressed after work, try to spend some time with someone you care about, watching and commenting a movie, eating a meal, or going for a walk. If no one is available to spend time in person, at least call someone to have a casual conversation—even if it’s a crisis hotline.
There’s always someone willing to talk to you if you feel you’re in need of help.
On the flip side, sometimes we need alone time after work, since we talk to so many different people during the work day.
If you find that you are regularly isolating yourself after work, you may want to ponder whether the job you’re at is right for you. And if it’s not, try working on a side hustle today so that in six months or a year, you can leave the job you dislike and start working full-time on the job you love.
- Practice Breathing As You Go Home
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed some unhealthy habits other adults will do after work. I’ve seen people light up cigarettes before they start driving, I’ve seen people pick up alcohol at the liquor store and then chug it when they park their car at home before entering the house, and I’ve seen people have angry fits on the road, eager to get home.
Instead of doing these types of vices, try mindfully, breathing deeply. It may be difficult, or even physically uncomfortable initially, if your diaphragm is weak from only doing shallow breaths, but practice it. Benefits of deep breathing include releasing endorphins, also known as our body’s natural painkillers, removal of toxins in the body, clearer thinking, increased energy from more oxygen being present, and the ability to sleep better.
As you make deep breathing exercises a part of your daily routine, you will find a decrease in the need for your old vices and eventually have no desire for them at all, for breathing mindfully will become your new, effective coping mechanism.
In order to do deep breathing, inhale through your nose, expanding your belly, hold the breath for 3 seconds, and then exhale through the nose, until the belly has deflated. Do this repetitively until your body and mind relaxes.
- Meditate in Silence
Unless you are extremely tired and think you will fall asleep, I recommend meditating in silence while in a comfortable, seated position. I especially suggest this activity for those who work someplace that is loud and fast-paced, for your body needs silence and stillness to balance the chaos it has previously endured.
Once you are in a comfortable, seated position, bring your hands to your knees either face up or down. From here, start to create slow, controlled breaths in and out of the nose, while the mouth is closed.
If you find that it is hard to simply focus on your breath as you meditate, you are welcome to count your breaths, or imagine a place you find relaxing, whether it is a hiking trail, beach or retreat center you’ve gone to.
Be sure not to judge yourself if your mind starts to wander. The wandering of the mind is normal. As a person who practiced meditation, it is important to recognize that the mind is wandering, and then guide it back to the focus of the breath or image you created in your mind.
Practice this meditation for as long as you need to in order to feel harmony in your body-mind connection.
- Manifestation Journal
Whether you are happy with your job, but are just having a stressful day, or you are constantly stressed out from work, manifestation journaling is a positive activity to do as often as once a day, or even just once a month.
For starters, decide on whether you want to type your manifestation journal, or hand write. Many studies have shown that handwriting is more beneficial because it’s stored in your muscle memory, since you create the letters, but choose whichever works better for you.
Next, begin writing how you want your life to look. Create as many details as you can, from where you are, what you look like, what you’re doing, and how you’re feeling, so that you can visualize your dream life in your mind. The one rule is that you need to write everything in present tense. By writing in present tense, you are tricking your brain into working out subconsciously how to make all of these details come true.
The more you practice manifestation journaling, the more accountable you’ll be in making it a reality. This is an excellent exercise for creative minds, or people with more logical minds that are working towards becoming more creative.
It is important when we feel stress after work, to target the parts of our body and mind that are overwhelmed, so that we can feel better before to go to bed, rather than take part in avoidant behavior. Some avoidant behavior such as watching T.V, binge eating or drinking, or shopping are vices that ignore the problem, rather than address it.
By replacing these old habits with some of the new ones I’ve mentioned, you can deal with the stress of work in a much healthier way, that will not cause health problems that I mentioned earlier in this article. While you are welcome to only try a couple of these tips, I can assure you that doing all five is a recipe for incredible stress relief! The more healthy habits you incorporate in your life, the less room there will be for unhealthy habits.
Be sure not to overwhelm yourself by completely changing your “after work routine”, but gradually make these changes, so that it is a comfortable transition. It’s possible that if you change your routine too quickly, you’ll endure more stress and want to go back to your old habits that we’re in your comfort zone.
Also, if you find that you’re using healthy coping mechanisms, but fall back into old vices, don’t judge yourself. Recognize that you did this, and then go back to living a healthy lifestyle again. This happens to everyone, and it doesn’t make you a failure for resisting change.
Best of luck on finding the best stress relief for yourself. I know how hard it can be to let go of the thoughts about work, but if you’re at home and you have no control over the situation, forget about it until the present moment presents you with the opportunity to deal with it. Until then, replenish yourself with self-care, so that you can enjoy your time after work, and become ready to work again when the time comes.
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