If you find that your days are so hectic that you just can’t wait to crawl into bed and pass out every evening, you’re not doing yourself or your family any favors. If you don't ever relax, stress can lead to loss of productivity at work and life-changing health problems like headaches, heart disease, obesity, and depression.
But you can take better care of yourself by practicing some simple activities that can make your evenings feel like a personal retreat at the end of a long day at the office.
1. Call a Friend
Do you have a friend who lifts your spirits, makes you laugh and helps you see life from a positive perspective? The Mayo Clinic reports that friends reduce stress, help you cope with life, and improve your self-worth. So, grab your phone and chat for a few minutes with a friend. That time gives you a chance to unwind after your hard day and put a smile on your face.
2. Have a Cuppa
If you don’t already have a favorite (un-caffeinated!) beverage you enjoy at night, try drinking a cup of hot tea. Researchers from City University London report that the ritual of preparing and drinking tea boosts relaxation and your ability to recover from stress. After a busy day, put on the kettle and savor a hot cup of decaffeinated tea.
Here are what benefits different teas offer:
- Chamomile increases sleepiness and relaxes anxiety and irritability.
- Ginger improves digestion and immunity while it reduces inflammation.
- Lemon Balm reduces stress, anxiety and headaches.
- Peppermint promotes digestion, and the soothing aroma calms your emotions.
- Turmeric relieves cramps and aids liver function.
3. Start Journaling
According to the National Institutes of Health, negative thoughts are more powerful than positive thoughts. That's why you need to remind yourself of all the good things that happened during your busy, stressful day. A gratitude journal tracks the positive moments, so write in it every night. Record the compliment you received at work, the string of green lights you hit on the drive home or the extra hug from your child at bedtime. Whenever you face a difficult day, re-read your journal and feel the stress melt away.
4. Take a Warm Bath or Shower
A warm bath or shower relaxes sore muscles, reduces tension, and prepares you for a great night's sleep. Add Epsom salt, and you double the benefits of your bath. The magnesium in Epsom salt reduces stress, inflammation, and pain that can cause insomnia while the sulfates remove toxins and can help manage migraines. Plus, a mineral bath exfoliates your skin and leaves you feeling pampered and soft. Despite your busy evening, go on a personal retreat and take 15-minutes to rejuvenate your body and your mind.
5. Go to Bed on Time
Playing a few computer games, watching an episode of your favorite TV show, or cleaning up around the house may be part of your evening routine, but these actions prevent you from going to bed on time. Your stress increases when you lose sleep, and increased stress results in loss of sleep. That vicious cycle perpetuates your drowsiness, moodiness, and decreased performance the next day. So, go to bed on time every night, even on weekends.
To ensure you get enough sleep:
- Turn off electronic devices at least an hour before your bedtime.
- Ban electronics and pets from your bedroom.
- Invest in quality allergen-free bedding.
- Draw the shades and turn down the thermostat in your bedroom.
6. Upgrade Your Bedding
Having comfortable bedding (like the kind you find at your favorite hotel), is a great way to help you look forward to slipping into bed. Nice bed sheets, pillows and the right weight comforter are all excellent opportunities to seduce your body into going to bed earlier.
Unwinding after a long day is possible when you prioritize relaxation. You enjoy a personal retreat that rejuvenates you for another busy day tomorrow.