Even during this time of year, when Summer Fridays and vacations are abound and many offices are reputed to have less stressful environments, the desire to zone out after a work day still exists.
Stepping away from work related stress can be wonderful for your health and can help keep you focused the next time you’re in the office. So if you’re looking to unwind after a long work day, try any of our ideas below to jump-start your post-work good mood.
Embrace a Grown-up Playtime
It may not be very common for us to see grown men and women in an impromptu game of kick ball, but we don’t have to be kids to enjoy the act of playing. Whether we are watching cartoons, getting outside with the Frisbee and our pet, or revisiting any of our favorite pastimes from yesteryear, almost any form of play creates joy across any age group.
Researchers categorize these activities as “purposeless, fun and pleasurable”, and they can be just what the doctor ordered after a tough day at the office. Experts note that frequent play benefits adults in a number of ways – from enhancing creativity to building relationships. As researcher and psychiatrist Stuart Brown suggests in his play-focused TED Talk, “If you’re having a bad day, try this: jump up and down, wiggle around – you’re going to feel better….It doesn’t have a particular purpose, and that’s what’s great about play.”
In other words, when you get home from work, drop your things and spend a few moments doing something that you don’t have a need or a reason to do – you’ll be happier for it.
Get out your Colored Pencils and Coloring Book
You have noticed an upward tick in the popularity of adult coloring books and may not be sure why it’s happening, but to our surprise, there’s a good reason for it.
Experts say that coloring benefits us in similar ways to meditation. In fact, it’s seen as an alternative for calming the mind and quieting anxiety. It can help us to focus on the moment at hand and turn off other thoughts that may be rattling around in our brain. And spending a few minutes with a coloring book when you get home from work can actually provide benefits for when we’re back in the office as well, like improving focus and concentration.
Stretch your Muscles
If you feel drained when you get home after work, you could probably use a stretch break. Stretching isn’t just good for our muscles, it’s also good for our overall well-being. Not only can stretching after a long day at work release tension in our muscles, but it can also increase our blood flow, oxygen and endorphins, which improves our mood and energy level.
Enjoy your Favorite Food or Drink
Sometimes all you want to do when you get home from a tough day at the office is get a big, warm hug in the form of your favorite food or drink. And while the jury is out on the extent of the comfort that a scoop of mashed potatoes might give us, there’s good reason for our desire to do so – the foods we love improve our mood.
A recent study backs up this claim, and shows that we tend to associate comfort foods with the people we are close to. So when we eat something “just the way mama used to make it”, we’re actually remembering them. It’s as though our favorite foods are channeling that big, warm hug we needed from our loved ones.
Read a Book
As we’re ardent readers here at The ONE Thing blog, we’ve mentioned the benefits of reading before. Yet, for those of us who desire to zone out after a busy work day, perusing a book remains a top option.
In studies done by the University of Sussex and Mindlab International, reading for just six minutes was found to reduce stress levels by 68 percent, more than listening to music, having a cup of tea, or even taking a walk. And as an added perk, those few minutes spent reading to unwind can help you to improve your vocabulary and all around general knowledge. If you ask us, relaxing and getting smarter while doing it sounds like a win-win.
What activities do you find help you to unwind after a stressful day at the office? Tell us on our Facebook page!