According to the American Institute of Stress, a staggering 80 percent of workers feel stress on the job, with some 65 percent of workers reporting that workplace stress causes difficulties in their lives. These are scary numbers considering research indicating that stress has a much bigger effect on our physical health than we ever thought before. Too much of the stuff can lead to high blood pressure, fatigue and heart disease, so getting it under control is truly a matter of life and death. Here are a few ways you can shake the stress off when you walk through the door after a long day at work.
1. Retrain the Brain and Turn Off Work Notifications
If you haven’t already, try to set some boundaries between your home life and your work life. If possible, keep your work e-mails contained to the workday and don’t check them at night or while you’re on vacation.
It can also be helpful to let co-workers know your regular working hours and that you should only be contacted outside of them in the event of an emergency. And now for the hard part: Try your best to actually follow your own rules!
2. Embrace the Silence with Short Meditations
We probably don’t have to tell you that meditation can be downright life changing for people with high-stress jobs. The trouble is in finding the time to try it, master it and practice it on a regular basis. Meditation strives to help you train the mind to be clear yet present in the moment (a state of mind known as mindfulness) through short 10- or 20-minute sessions each day.
To get started, look to YouTube or smartphone apps for guided meditation programs that will walk you through the process.
3. Work Out Daily Stress with a Long Hike
Getting outside is one of the very best things you can do for your health.
There are the obvious benefits, like burning calories and soaking up some much-needed vitamin D, of which you get very little in the office, but there are also some additional mental health benefits that you may not have considered. Studies show that those who reside in areas close to green spaces have lower rates of depression and anxiety, proving that a long hike or bike ride after work is time well spent.
4. Kick the Distractions with Screen-Free Time
We’re sorry to report it, but a growing body of research has emerged linking smartphones and anxiety, so stress relief may be an hour of screen-free time away.
Ditching your phone for a short period of time each day can help you step back and decompress so you’re not overloading your brain with too many thoughts and ideas that it has to work extra-hard to process.
5. Find Comfort in Community with a Long Vent Session
Don’t be afraid to rely on your community or a professional for support. Sometimes, it just helps you feel less stressed to say your feelings out loud. Try to schedule (low-stress) get-togethers with close friends or family members who can help you work out your thoughts. And remember to always extend the favor back to your friends, offering an eager ear, to show them the same respect and support they need.
6. Feed the Soul with a Home-Cooked Meal
Cooking can help relieve workplace stress in a number of ways. First, it gives you something non-work-related to focus on for 30 minutes to an hour after you get home, with minimal screen time involved. Often, that’s enough to help you wind down and settle into “home mode.”
Cooking can also lead you into a healthier overall lifestyle with a cleaner diet, which could help reduce health-related stress. The key to stress relief cooking, as we’ve just named it, is to be realistic with yourself and set attainable goals, like cooking two or three dinners per week.
7. Burn the Stress Away with Aromatherapy Staples
Why not unwind with aromatherapy to quell your stressful, racing thoughts?
Scents of lavender, moss and lemon provide a natural tranquilizing effect, helping you to sink deeply into a state of self-care bliss. Relax with citrus aromas from your favorite candles and essential oils and enjoy as your mind goes from a million miles a minute to a slow, meandering pace.
Ah, the joy of a quiet mind! Burn candles and oils as you go about your daily chores at home to make them more enjoyable.
8. Soak into a State of Bliss with a Hot Bubble Bath
Sylvia Plath wrote in The Bell Jar, “There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.” Wise words!
Enjoying a hot, post-work bath is really all about getting into the bath-time mindset, and that requires setting the stage with soothing candles and bath bombs that smell like heaven. Make sure the water is at the perfect temperature—not too hot and not so warm it will be cold within a few minutes—so that you can truly enjoy it worry-free.
Avoid Falling into Bad Habits
No matter if it’s cooking, hiking or grabbing coffee with friends, you want to de-stress in ways that are wholesome and healthy. Because here’s the thing: We all need that occasional after-work glass of wine or pizza binge session—we are entitled to it, after all!—but indulging in these activities only leads to more stress, guilt and health problems. Finding those pure, guiltless joys and learning how to create a good work-life balance are the keys to a healthy, stress-free life!
About the Author
Guest author Taylor Sicard serves as the Co-Founder and CMO of Homesick, a hand-poured candle company that offers specialized scents to invoke feelings of nostalgia. Taylor is responsible for overseeing the planning, development and execution of all Homesick marketing and content initiatives. When he is not working or writing, Taylor enjoys spending time with his fiancé and exploring the great outdoors!