It’s 6 o’clock and you have just stepped in the door from work. Countless thoughts run through your head: what to cook for dinner, that pile or unopened mail, those emails you need to write, and the dog needing to be walked. It is easy to just veg out in front of the TV right away to take your mind off things. But, every once in a while, it is good to do something we like to call ˜productive de-stressing’. Sound like an oxymoron? It’s not. Try these three simple pointers and you will soon find yourself in a stress-free routine with more time to enjoy at home.
Many people find themselves going from their computer at work, to their computer at home. From their work phone to their cell phone, or these days, to Skype. Try your best to unplug when you get home. Even if it is just for an hour, your brain will thank you. The artificial light from computer screens, smartphones, and televisions causes a decrease in melatonin- the hormone that makes you sleepy, ie. relaxed. By jumping right back on one of these gadgets after just coming off 8 hours of work-related screen time, you are revving your body up more than is needed. Read a book, newspaper, or magazine with a cup of tea and give your brain something else to focus on. It is harder than it seems to disconnect in our every-connected world today, but the benefits are there. Getting some exercise or catching up with your man will also do you some good. The more physical activity you do, the lower your levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) will be.
With a to-do list longer than your arm waiting for you when you get home, it can be hard to relax. So, start a routine of getting ready the night before. Yes, there are some things you can only do right before bed like brushing your teeth, setting your alarm, etc. But, by getting yourself prepared for the morning earlier in the evening, you will have more time to wind down before bed. Shower earlier in the evening when you can so that you aren’t going straight from shower to bed. Lay your clothes out, make your lunch for the next day and leave your purse and car keys by the door when you can grab it easily. These small rituals will allow you to create a mental checklist and in turn allow you more peace of mind and calmness later in the evening. Getting these things out of the way and sorted will leave you more time for any unexpected fun that could come your way!
Stick with what works
If you like your evening and bedtime rituals, than stick to them. Scientists say that going to bed at a similar time each night can improve your ability to fall asleep faster and deeper (into REM sleep) and therefore allow you a better nights rest. If you have a favourite show that comes on right before you start winding down, than stick to that and then clear your cranium of screens. If you like to listen to your ˜sleepy time’ playlist, then let those melodies drift you into la la land. Obviously, nights that you are out, have friends over or have something come up will be different. On these nights, try to claim a little piece of your ritual so that your body knows it is time to power down.