There feels like a lot more things to stress about nowadays whether it’s money, job stability, food shortages, getting sick, deadlines, your career, what your life will look like in a few months, etc. Stress is normal so when you feel it, acknowledge it. When we recognize and accept our negative emotions, it’s a more effective way to change them. After doing so, allocate some time to unwind. Remember that you should always prioritize your mental health before any deadline. Someone else’s urgency is not your emergency. We all deserve to relax after a long exhausting yet fulfilling day. However, sometimes it’s difficult to unwind. I struggle to go from the fast-paced working life to feeling as free as the woman in the Sandals resort commercial. Here are 10 ways to unwind after a stressful day. 

1.  Exercise

I know exercise is not everyone’s thing but I personally feel that it should be. Moving your body is amazing for stress relief. Did you know exercise is equal in effectiveness to both therapy and medication for managing anxiety? One study established that across the world people respond as well to moving their bodies more regularly as they do to the traditional treatment pathway. It doesn’t really matter how you move, just start moving in a way you enjoy and feel the stress melt away while your energy is boosted. 

2. Take a walk

Sometimes all we need is some fresh air and a change in scenery to clear our minds and relax. Studies show simply looking at green spaces lowers your stress hormone cortisol. When you feel stressed, step outside and release the tension in your body.

3. Take a deep breath

Deep breathing reminds me to be present. Whenever I’m nervous, especially before a presentation, I take a deep breath. Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain. Therefore, this helps you to remove chaotic thoughts from your mind and replace them with a sense of calm and positivity.

4. Disconnect

When I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed I love to turn my phone off. Sometimes all you need is some time away from all that’s going around in the world. Try disconnecting from others and instead connect and check-in with yourself when you feel stressed. Be intentional with your screen time, smartphones cause us to spread our attention spans very thin often sucking a lot of energy out of us. Unplug to recharge yourself. 

5. Take a nap

We can feel pressure to keep working through our free time in order to excel—but that truly only leads to burnout. There’s nothing like resting that makes me feel so rejuvenated. My bed is one of the most comfortable places. Lay down and decompress. 

6. Read

Reading takes me into another world. It makes me forget about what’s going on in my life and instead learn from the author. Reading can be such an amazing mental stress reliever. Curl up with your favorite book and relax. 

7. Connect with a loved one

Since I work and run my own business my time to connect with people on non-business related topics is often limited. It’s vital for me to carve out time to catch up with my friends and family and enjoy some laughter. Research shows that connecting with others regarding positive things we experience can enhance both our mood and self-esteem. I love a self-esteem booster as much as the next person. Not only will positive conversations make you feel more fulfilled and supported but it will also strengthen your relationships with others.

8. Self-massage

This one may sound a little odd but reach over and rub your shoulders, neck, lower back—wherever you feel the tension. If you can have a significant other do it, it’s even better. Another great relaxation technique is to tense up parts of your body and then release your muscles. 

9. Do one of your favorite hobbies

Lately, I’ve been using cooking to unwind. There is something about prepping and creating a meal while dancing around to music that makes me feel relaxed. Cooking doesn’t always have to feel like a core if you carve out the time to enjoy it. With all the online recipes and YouTube videos, cooking meals you would normally order out has become easy. I like to pretend I’m hosting my own cooking show and have fun with it. 

10. Indulge in your favorite treat

Some of my favorites are Thai food, ice cream, and red wine. I know you have a treat in mind that makes you relax and feel pure joy. Indulge a little and just be present. I also love some herbal lavender tea at night, the smell alone will help you unwind.