The line between work and home can become blurred when we take our stress and tension with us from the office—and that can put a lot of strain on not only our personal relationships and finances, but also our physical health and well being.
In fact, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health:
Job stress is more strongly associated with health complaints than financial or family problems.
But there’s hope. Some simple tweaks to your work-to-home transition period can go a long way in relieving that work day tension while helping you maintain greater physical health and stronger relationships. And what does that mean? A less grumpy you!
Here are five foolproof ways to relieve the stress and tension that tends to build up throughout the day.
Fit in a quick workout
This one can be especially helpful if you have a sedentary job at a desk. If you have been sitting a lot, an invigorating workout like HIIT may be just what you need. HIIT workouts are short-but-intense, melting stress and giving you the most bang for your buck and time.
Don’t have much time to spare? A 4-minute Tabata workout can do wonders to boost your energy and spirit. All the jumping around can relieve any built up anger and frustration from the day helping you feel more relaxed while simultaneously giving you a confidence and creativity boost.
If you work a more active job, a gentle stretching workout could be more your speed. Make sure you protect your back while on the job and then stretch it out afterward. Workouts like yoga and Pilates stretch out those sore muscles and release the tension that you are storing in your body. But remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program to make sure you are up for it.
Okay, I know you have been breathing all day, but we tend to take very short inefficient breaths—especially when we are stressed. Calm breathing tricks your body into thinking you are already relaxed, helping to make it so.
Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body.
An easy way to perform a deep breathing exercise is to lie on your back and place your hands gently on your abdomen. Take deep slow breaths and focus on the rising and falling of your hands and belly. This forces your mind to let go of stressful thoughts too.
For more, check out this post from Harvard Medical School: Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response.
Spend time outside
A quick stop off at the park on the way home can do wonders to help you let go of the work day. Seeing the green space, and taking in the fresh air, rejuvenates the body and soul.
No park? Take a walk around your neighborhood or even just pay your own backyard a visit. Nature tends to have a hugely positive impact on our well-being.
Spending time in nature has been shown to lower stress levels. Just looking at a garden or trees or going for a walk, even if it’s in your own neighborhood, reduces stress. I don’t think anyone understands why, but there’s something about being in a natural setting that shows clear evidence of stress reduction, including physiological evidence — like lower heart rate.Seattle-based environmental psychologist Judith Heerwagon, HuffingtonPost
Write it out
Keeping a work journal can help you release stresses from your mind by putting them on paper. Writing about your day can give you a clearer picture of how things really are and put things, that seem overwhelming, back into perspective. The exercise also helps you release the physical tension and effects of stress, journaling the mental and emotional effects.
So what should you write? Anything and everything,
Don’t hold back! Write continually for about fifteen minutes with no censoring, until you feel you get it all out.
Play is not just for kids. Adults need play time too.
So often we take life far too seriously and need a break. With all the responsibilities placed upon us, play may be even more important at this stage in our lives. Art, dance, and games are just some of the ways adults can play. How you choose to play is completely up to you. Just find something fun you love to do and make it a regular habit even if it is just for 15 minutes a day.
There are three main characteristics that we tend to use when we talk about play: It’s voluntary in the sense that you’re not obligated to do it; it’s flexible and can be changed or manipulated, like Play-Doh for your life; and it’s enjoyable and fun.
If you have completely forgotten how to play, find a child to show you.
Which of these five tension busters will you try? Let us know in the comments below—and don’t forget to check out our other-stress busting tips, including how to de-stress before your day even begins.