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Your Healthy Mind

How to *Really* De-stress After Work

Posted by the MindBeacon team on Mar 9, 2020 1:00:23 PM


We can all relate: after a long workday, sometimes it’s really hard not to carry all that stress home with you – and when you should be relaxing or spending quality time with friends and family, you’re too busy worrying about work.

If you’ve ever experienced this, you’ve probably wished there were healthy ways to shake off that negativity and just chill. Here’s a list of four great ways to transition from work to everything else – along with some all-too-common not-so-much behaviours you’ll want to avoid.

So, read on if you want to start feeling better after a long day at work!


GREAT: Get Moving!

Been sitting down for the last eight hours? Or maybe you’ve been doing the same kind of repetitive action for hours on end – either way, once work is over, it’s time for you get moving!

Don’t worry though – we’re not talking about running a marathon or becoming a hardcore crossfitter. Instead, find a few minutes to stretch out those muscles, take the pooch for a walk, do some garden maintenance, or just crank up the tunes and have a dance party for one!

NOT SO MUCH: Holding on to Stress

Your shoulders are tense, you’re clenching your jaw, and you can’t stop thinking about why the work day has been difficult. It happens – but before you get behind the wheel, hop on your bike, or walk to the bus stop, it’s important to take a minute and just deflate.

Sit down for a minute or two, take some deep breaths, watch some funny videos on your phone, or grab a coffee and ground yourself before going home. You’ll be surprised at the difference it’ll make!



GREAT: Mark that Work-to-Home Transition

Sometimes we take our work home with us, even when we don’t mean to – it’s fine to think things over, but when you can’t let it go after work is through, you’re inviting in more stress than you need. This is why it’s important to mark your transition from work to after; by doing so, you’re drawing a clear line that will help you make that mental shift.

Making your transition can be as simple as changing into some comfy sweats, playing a video game before dinner, reading a magazine, or even taking your kids to the park.

When you get home, take a minute to reset. Get changed out of your work clothes right away and put on your comfy clothes. Put your feet up for a few minutes, have a glass of water, then start your evening.

NOT SO MUCH: Ranting as You Walk in the Door

Ranting about work can not only ruin your evening, but it affects everyone around you too. Take a moment before you walk in the door to remind yourself how you want to behave with your family.

If you live alone, try to give yourself an evening off from the stress and spend that energy on exercise, cooking, or reorganizing your books and records. If you’re in a relationship, ask your partner if the evening can be all about you, have them make dinner or let you pick a show on Netflix.



GREAT: Hang with Friends

If you’ve had a tough day, making plans with friends afterwards can give you something to look forward to.

If it’s just one-on-one or a group hang, time with your buds can help get you out of a stressed-out headspace and can also give you some needed perspective – even if you don’t talk about your workday troubles at all.

NOT SO MUCH: Fixating on the Little Things

We tend to get fixated on that one point in our day when a challenge turned into an aggravation; we can carry that around for the rest of the day, which isn’t what any of us want to do. Try setting the thought of it aside for now.



HEALTHY: Have a Great Meal 

Maybe you don’t usually have the time to eat properly at work. If it’s all go-go-go 24/7 and you’re dining at Chez Desk yet again, why not make your favourite food when you get home? Avocado toast, anyone?

The best part is that your post-work grocery shop and the meal prep will be something to look forward to – that and a tasty, healthy meal, that is!

NOT SO MUCH: Emotional Eating

On a stressful day, maybe you didn’t get a real break. Then, when you get home feeling all hangry, you’re tempted to just snack away on chips, candy, pop, and whatever other junk food you can get your hands on.

Or maybe you reach for an alcoholic drink. Pop culture often likes to reinforce the “I need a stiff drink” trope after a hard day. So, while a moderate drink while out with friends can be fine, you always run the risk of it becoming a coping mechanism for stress.



• • •

Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to change too much all at once. Even if you only pick one unhealthy behaviour from this list to let go, and one healthy behaviour to pick up, you’ll enjoy your downtime more and leave the workday stress behind.


Check out these related articles:

5 Tips to Kickstart Your Mental Wellness RIGHT NOW

Are You Suffering from Burnout?

Setback at work? Here's how to get over it

Topics: Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Working adults, Work, Exercise, Food

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Sign up to receive guidance that’s created to help with the specific emotional well-being concerns stirred by the pandemic, through easy-to-digest resources from our team of caring clinical psychologists.