Let's be real. Life is crazy these days. There is stress and anxiety lurking at every corner, and we're being asked to balance work and home life in ways never expected before. While many of us are still working from home, and many also have kids going to school from home, the separation between work and home life seems to be more blurred than ever before.
We are all carrying more than we probably should be, and I'm hopping on any chance to drop some stress or leave it behind all together. But how do we do that in today's crazy pandemic world, where we don't know what the future holds for our finances, our careers, or the safety of our families?
Part of the answer is being able to leave work stress with work and not carry it over into our off-work hours. Whether you're going into your office or working remotely from home, it's so important for our health and well-being to be able to separate our work and personal life. Without a clear separation, you won't be able to destress, and being able to leave the stress with work is crucial to your quality of life. And even worse, constantly keeping stress with you can result in chronic stress, which also leads to many serious health issues.
These tips have helped me destress — something we can all use, whether it's stress from work or otherwise — so that I am able to enjoy my time away from work and recharge.
1. Pause your work email and social media notifications.
Turning your notifications off for a couple hours while you have dinner and enjoy the company of your family and friends will help disconnect you so you don't feel obligated to respond. You’ll feel less stressed and your relationships and social life will benefit. And a special plus: eating your dinner in peace also helps digestion!
Hands down, the best way to limit stress in your life is to exercise. Not only can exercise help to lower cortisol (stress hormone), but you’ll also be focused on the exercise and not what's going on at work. It's also important to carve out some you time, and exercise is a great way to give back to yourself!
3. Get a plant.
Having something very simple to take care of and nurture can be a really easy way to limit your stress. Plus, if you grow food like a tomato plant, you’ll also get to eat the tomatoes! Growing your own food makes you feel good in so many ways.
4. Vent when necessary.
If you tend to keep things bottled up inside, consider making a healthy change in your life and discuss the stressful issues with a close friend, family member, support group, or counselor when you feel it's
necessary. They can help you work through and maybe even resolve the issue.
5. Avoid stimulants.
This one I've always struggled with, especially since my go-to caffeine pick-me-up is a latte, but coffee, tea, and energy drinks all contain stimulants like caffeine and taurine which can make you feel wired, and in some cases, more prone to feeling stressed out. Avoiding or limiting your consumption of stimulant-rich foods and drinks can help your body to feel more balanced and lower your cortisol levels.
6. Engage in an activity that you love.
Whether it’s a hobby, dancing, or playing with your kids, doing something that you enjoy takes your mind off work and helps to lower your stress. Taking time to do these things is never selfish, but a vitally important part of healthy self-care! Best of all, find an activity where you move around, like dancing. You’ll get a double dose of relaxation from the exercise and the enjoyment of doing something you love.
Meditating can reduce stress, strengthen your mental and physical health, and bring you the serenity of a greater inner peace. All it takes is practice - and they say that daily practice is best! Meditating for a few minutes when your workday is done will give you that much-needed gap between work and free time, so you can leave your work stress behind and fully enjoy your off-work hours.