It’s fair to say that in the last 18 months or so, we’ve all done what we can to cope with our circumstances. The fear and uncertainty caused by the pandemic, the pressure and stress of working from home and the horror of homeschooling have all had us reaching for quick fixes to help us unwind after surviving another day. From consuming enough bottles of wine to make us ashamed to put our recycling out for fear of judgement from the binmen to becoming best buddies with the Deliveroo and Just Eat drivers, we did whatever we could to get our shoulders to relax and try to switch off the day. Unfortunately, we’ve now found ourselves with ever-expanding waistlines and have forgotten how to be healthy.
Whilst we have focused on getting through the next day, we’ve adopted a number of bad habits and have forgotten how to de-stress in a healthy way. It’s easy to become trapped in a negative routine, especially when you’re trying to juggle a multitude of commitments and responsibilities. Well, no more! Today is the day we learn how to unwind in a healthy way and we’re taking you with us on a journey to re-prioritising our health and creating some good habits that will make us feel happier. We’ll even be able to look the binmen in the eye again.
No Wine is Fine
The first habit to break is reaching for the wine glass at the end of every week day. A couple of glasses a week is fine but it’s amazing how easily that one glass every other night can turn into a couple of bottles per week. One way to break the cycle is to find another alcohol-free tipple that you can enjoy. There are many different booze-free alternatives on the market that will psychologically help you to replace the wine in the glass without giving up the ritual itself.
Another alternative, believe it or not, is a nice cup of green tea. Apparently, the active ingredient, L-theanine, has a very similar effect on the brain to alcohol but without the morning hangover. The effects kick in within 30 minutes to an hour, affecting your neurotransmitters and temporarily reducing stress and anxiety. We’re personally not big fans of green tea but are willing to give it a go especially when you can find mocktail recipes like this.
Embrace Some ‘Me’ Time
We know how difficult it can be to take time for yourself but we can’t stress how important it is for both your mental and physical health. Rather than coming home and immediately getting stuck in to your evening chore/dinner routine, why not take an hour for yourself to relax? Meditation is a great way to unwind after a busy day.
We’re big fans of the ‘Calm’ app to help us to relax. With guided meditations, soundscapes and brain training activities available, there’s something for everyone. Take some time for yourself, find a peaceful space in your home and open up your ears to help your brain de-stress.
The Write Stuff
We all carry around a million different thoughts, frustrations and scenarios in our heads, especially after a challenging day at work. The best way to vent them and stop thinking about them is to write them down. Take 15 minutes out of your day and just write down everything that is bothering you or getting under your skin in some way. You’ll feel so much better with all those noisy thoughts out of your head. You may even find some solutions to ongoing problems along the way too, as your brain critically assesses the information as your write.
Early to Bed
An interesting idea we have come across recently to become healthier is to change the pattern of our waking hours in order to make more time for relaxation and healthy living. To avoid your bad evening habits, why not try going to bed early? For instance, if you tried going to bed at 9:30pm and getting up at 5:30am, you might find yourself able to squeeze in that morning workout, get a few household chores done and prep yourself for the day ahead. Ultimately, this could lead to a much more stress-free day in the long run.
Another great way to unwind after a busy day also involves turning in early. Take a mug of hot cocoa to bed, turn off your phone with it’s nasty sleep-interfering green light and snuggle up with a good book. You’ll be relaxed and ready for the sandman before you know it.
Get a Move On
Exercise is always a great way to unwind. Whether you like going for a jog, weight training or enjoy going to the odd yoga class, stretching your muscles helps to get your endorphins going. It also aids in the reduction of the stress hormone, cortisol.
As well as being good for your physical health, exercise is brilliant for your mental health too. Getting out and about for a run or doing an aerobics activity in your lounge will help to clear your mind and focus on your movement. It’s also a great way to vent your frustrations if you’ve had a particularly challenging day!
Take the Plunge
One of our favourite ways to unwind is to take a hot, relaxing, bubble bath. Shut yourself away in the bathroom, put some relaxing music on and let your muscles unwind. Treat yourself to a pampering session and use all of your favourite products. You’ll feel like a new woman once you’ve emerged!
Don’t Be a Nun, Have Some Fun!
Whoever said that you had to unwind on your own? One of the best ways to relax after a busy day is to go out and enjoy yourself! Meet a few chums down the pub and have a good natter about your day.
Whenever you have things on your mind, the best thing to do is to find a receptive ear to listen to you – that’s what friends are for! Another good way to de-stress after a long week is to take your partner out for dinner. Sod the cooking! Just focus on spending time with each other and relaxing in their company.
We hope that this blog has given you some good ideas on how to unwind without reaching for the wine bottle or the takeaway app! It’s so easy to become stuck in a routine but only you can break yourself out of it. It’s okay to treat yourself every now and then but the best treat of all is to make sure you treat yourself well.