At the end of the day (no pun intended), life can get stressful. We all know too well what it’s like to come home after a long day of work, school, or other responsibilities and feel totally burnt out.
For the sake of our mental and physical health, it’s important to know how to decompress and take some weight off our shoulders. Luckily we’ve done some thinking over at The Good Patch and put together a short guide on how to relax.
Of course, we all have different schedules, and not everyone has time for the same rest and relaxation routines. Some of the ideas we’ve given you will require more time, while others can help you unwind for just a few minutes.
What Are the Benefits of Relaxing?
Regardless of how you do it, relaxation is proven to be beneficial to your health. Calming activities and thoughts are perfect for reducing stress, and boosting your mental and physical health.
How Does Relaxation Help Your Mind?
From mood to energy levels to brain activity, there are endless ways in which relaxation improves your mental state.
A few noteworthy advantages include:
Increased Productivity. Though it may seem counterintuitive, taking your mind off work and other responsibilities improves your focus later on.
Less Fatigue. Relaxation is a great way to counter that afternoon or end-of-week burnout.
Improved Sleep Quality. That’s right; decompressing will benefit you during both waking and sleeping hours.
Boosted Confidence. A relaxed mind is a key part of high self-esteem and confidence.
Clearer Thinking. When you aren’t stressed about your to-do list, you are better equipped to make decisions and think deeply.
Positive Attitude. Having less stress and fewer negative thoughts leaves more space for you to enjoy a good mood more often.
How Does Relaxation Help Your Body?
Many of the activities we’ve listed below work to relax your mind and body and improve your physical state.
Here are some of the biggest benefits a bit of R&R has on the body:
- Slower Heart Rate
- Lowered Blood Pressure
- Slower breathing rate
- Improved Digestion
- Blood sugar Level Regulation
- Reduced Stress Hormones
- Increased Blood Flow Throughout the Body
- Reduced Muscle Tension and Aches and Pain
30 Ways To Relax, Recharge, and Recenter
Besides, of course, our very own Relax patch, here are our favorite ways to unwind after a long day:
On Your Own
- Take a Breath. Breathing exercises are an excellent way to relax; their beauty lies in that you can practice them anywhere and anytime: in your car, at your desk, on the train, at lunch, or anywhere else throughout the day. Ideally, find a quiet space where you feel safe and calm and give yourself a moment to breathe.
- Draw a Bath. A hot bath or shower is a great stress reliever for many of us. Close your eyes and soak in the warmth while your worries wash down the drain.
- Enjoy a Cup of Tea. Especially in the cold winter months, a steaming cup of tea can be incredibly soothing at the end of the day. With less caffeine and more vitamins, herbal tea is the perfect option to help you start to unwind.
- Practice Meditation. Meditation is easier than it may seem! There is no right way to meditate. Instead, you can use the time to be as present as possible, aware of your mental and physical states, while leaving the judgment behind.
- Do Some Yoga. Yoga is famous for its ability to benefit both the mind and body. Roll out your mat and start strengthening your mind and core all at once.
- Hang With Your Pet. There’s nothing quite like the unconditional love of your pets at home. If you’ve had a long, stressful day, your cat or dog (or bearded dragon) is sure to cheer you up when you walk back in the door.
- Write in a Journal. When you’ve spent the whole day with your mind running a mile a minute, journaling is an incredibly effective way to slow down just a bit.
- Play Video Games. Though not always seen in popular self-care blogs, there’s nothing wrong with logging into a video game every now and then. Especially if board games aren’t your favorite, video games can be a perfect way to blow off steam.
- Try Your Hand at Crafts. Let your creativity flow with some arts and crafts in the afternoon. Many activities like knitting, crocheting, or paper mache can help you disconnect without requiring too much brain power.
- Watch That Movie You’ve Been Meaning To Watch. Lucky enough to find yourself with a free night in? Rent or stream a movie you’ve never seen before and relish in the drama (or comedy) of it all.
- Catch Up on Your Favorite Series. Maybe movies aren’t really your thing, no problem! While work gets busy, we often get left behind by our favorite TV shows. Take advantage of your free time to chill out and catch back up.
- Dive Into a Good Book. Reading a book is a wonderful way to reduce your screen time. Cozy up on the couch or in your favorite nook and get lost in a new novel.
- Listen to a Podcast or Audiobook. Does reading sometimes feel like extra work at the end of the day? Listening to a book on tape, or tuning into your favorite podcast, can give you the same relaxing benefits of a good book.
- Do an At-Home Spa. A proper skin routine is relaxing and great for the mind and body. Make a soothing face mask, exfoliate your body, and apply your favorite lotion for an at-home spa experience.
- Bake Something Yummy. This one might not be an everyday activity, but a little sugar never hurt anyone. Whip up a sheet of brownies or chocolate chip cookies, then savor each and every bite!
- Light a Candle. Candles are vital when it comes to making a relaxing atmosphere at home. Pair them with an essential oil diffuser for some much-needed aromatherapy.
- Listen to a Chill Playlist. Even when you have other chores or responsibilities, you can always plug into a speaker or pop in your earbuds to listen to your favorite chill playlist.
- Crack the Windows. We don’t always have a chance to get outside before the sun goes down. So, when the weather permits, open those windows to get some fresh air to calm the nerves.
- Enjoy a Mindful Dinner. Everyone knows the feeling of spending 45 minutes preparing dinner, only to wolf it down in less than 10. Eating is quite literally essential, so take your time! Be in the moment and savor each bite while being aware of the visuals and flavors.
- Hit the Hay Early. Experts suggest getting between seven and nine hours of sleep. Get rid of any stress about being tired tomorrow by hopping into your cozy sheets at an hour that will let you hit the seven-hour mark. If you struggle to fall asleep, our sleep patches are your best friend!
- Watch the Sunset. Disconnect from the fast pace of life and reconnect with your spiritual side by finding a tranquil viewpoint from which to watch the beautiful colors of the sunset.
- Take a Hike. If you’re feeling adventurous and have a little extra time on your hands, head out for a longer hike to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.
- Do Light Exercise. Boost your endorphins with some gentle exercise, like jogging or an easy bike ride. Don’t forget to try out the pain relief patch later on to soothe your muscles.
- Get Some Fresh Air and Sunlight. Even just a few minutes of natural light and fresh air in the afternoon can have powerful relaxing effects for those of us with a tighter schedule. Find a seat outside and soak in the end-of-day rays.
With Family and Friends
- Get a Massage. If you are living with loved ones, ask one of them to give you a massage at the end of the day to relieve any tense muscles. Those of us who enjoy a home to ourselves can still benefit from the magic of a massage gun!
- Give a Hug. Sometimes the best way to let go of stress is by giving and receiving a big hug. Grab a loved one or a pet and show them your appreciation with a warm embrace.
- Play a Board Game. Board games are an awesome way to have a fun, stress-free evening at home. Gather around and get competitive!
- Call up a Friend or Family Member. What better way to brighten the day than getting in touch with those long-distance friends? Set aside some time in the evening to give someone you haven’t seen in a while a ring.
- Have a Dance Party. Spin your favorite record (or connect to the Bluetooth speaker) and have a boisterous dance party! While it can be a blast to hop around with friends or family, you can do this on your own.
Wrapping It Up
Ultimately, the key to unwinding and relaxing after a long day is finding activities you enjoy that help you feel calm and relaxed. We’ve given you a jumping-off point; now it’s your turn to experiment with different strategies and find the ones that work best for you.
Remember that relaxation is a process, so be gentle with yourself as it may take some time to find the right methods for you!
A breathing technique to help you relax | Harvard Health
How Much Sleep Do I Need? | CDC
How much physical activity do adults need? | CDC