Seven Ways to Quickly Reduce Stress After Work
By Brian Acton
Excessive stress can be harmful to your physical and mental wellbeing. Physically, stress has been linked to short-term symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, and fatigue, and more serious health conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease. Mentally, stress can lead to anxiety, irritability or anger, and even depression.
If you have a demanding job, your work-related stress can build up to monumental levels by the end of the day. But when you get home, you may not think you have the time or energy to practice stress reduction.
Luckily, you don’t need an hour-long yoga class or a professional massage to reduce stress. Here are eight ways to quickly reduce stress after work.
- Take a Hot Shower
If you don’t have the time to soak in a long, hot bath, you can get some of the same benefits by hopping in the shower for ten minutes. Hot showers can calm your body and mind, helping you let go of stressful thoughts. They also loosen joints, relax muscles, relieve neck and shoulder stiffness, and cleanse your skin.
- Ditch the Gadgets
Constant access to phones, tablets, computers and televisions may actually be causing information overload and stressing us out. According to the American Psychological Association, four out of five adults report constantly checking their email, text messages, and social media. These same adults also reported higher levels of stress compared to those that spend less time on their gadgets.
Take a break from gadgets and screens when you get home and give yourself some time to decompress.
Go for a Walk
Physical activity has been shown to reduce stress, improve sleep, and fight depression. A regular exercise routine, then, is an important factor in the fight against stress. But if you don’t have time for a long workout, go for a brief walk instead. It might not feel strenuous, but you’re still getting the benefits of exercise and some time to unwind.
- Have a Healthy Snack or Beverage
Do you tend to eat or drink to calm down when you’re overly stressed? This isn’t necessarily a habit you need to break, but you should try to stick to healthy snacks or beverages. A healthy snack or a cup of tea can help calm your nerves just as well as a slice of pizza or a beer.
- Get Some Alone Time
It seems simple, but just spending a few quiet minutes by yourself can help reduce stress. If you’re constantly doing chores or tending to family, try to find a brief window for some alone time.
Cancel Your Plans
Are you overextending yourself with a packed schedule? Try removing some obligations from your calendar. While you shouldn’t completely eliminate your social life and personal commitments, simplifying your schedule will help you carve out some evenings to relax and unwind.
You don’t have to commit an hour to yoga to reduce stress. A 15-20 minute daily stretch routine can help you relax, relieve tight muscles, reduce stress, and avoid future injuries.
Stress reduction should be a long-term strategy, and shortcuts won’t get you all the way there. However, these activities will help you quickly unwind after a long day at work, and can be part of a larger stress reduction plan.