It is very easy to collapse on the couch and mindlessly watch TV shows or movies at the end of a long day. You probably scroll aimlessly through social media on your phone when you get bored of the TV. This is the common way to “wind down,” but all that blue light stimulation can make it more difficult to fall asleep once your head hits the pillow. How do you fix that? Are there more intentional ways to relax and calm down in the evening?
Before you engage in the following evening wind down methods, take stock of how much time you have when you get home before you go to bed. If you only have a couple hours, you may have to pick and choose smarter strategies. The important thing is that you take the time to deliberately unwind. Whether you arrive home after a long day of work or a hectic class schedule, the following relaxing strategies can help you take it easy.
Use Relaxation Tools
Use technology to your advantage during your unwinding routine. There are various meditation apps and other affordable gadgets that help promote relaxation. A diffuser can be a great choice because you can add different essential oils, like lavender, that help calm the mind. Acupuncture mats, scalp massages, and foot baths are other inexpensive methods to help you relax after a long day. Consider looking at acupressure socks because they offer comfort and help your foot muscles recover.
Do Something Uplifting For Yourself
We cannot give a one-size-fits-all answer here because everyone has their own personal preferences. After a long, busy, exhausting day, do something that uplifts you when you get home. Perhaps you make plans to partake in something like a 1,500-piece puzzle or have some friends over for a weekly book club meeting. If you need to go to the movies for a good laugh, play a video game, or paint on canvas, do just that! Look back to your childhood if you need some inspiration for activities that bring you joy. Just make sure to carve out time in your schedule to bring yourself a little joy.
Do A Brief Workout
Working out in the evening to wind down? Yes, indeed! It seems like a controversial suggestion, but working out is a great way to get you out of your own way, returning the attention to your body. Don’t choose a particularly strenuous exercise; rather, a light to moderately intense workout will suffice. Choose your own adventure depending on how much energy you have. The idea is to switch from your work brain to your home brain, and ultimately reconnect with your body. If you find that you lack energy, try a low-intensity workout like walking or Tai Chi. Yoga or Pilates can be beneficial if you want to both stretch and strengthen your body.
Take A Warm Bath Or Shower
Some may think that this suggestion is a bit cliché, but it is easy to implement into your evening routine. Not only does a warm bath or shower get you clean, but it also helps loosen up your muscles, clear your head, and set the tone for your evening wind down. Warm water is naturally relaxing, with studies showing that it elicits feelings of relaxation and relief from exhaustion. Plus, taking a warm shower or bath a couple hours before bedtime can help lower your body temperature, which better prepares you for sleep.
Read A Book
Not only does reading a book give your eyes and brain a break from screens, but it is also an excellent way to relax. A great book provides you with a temporary escape from reality, and a good book can grip your attention for hours. You don’t have to read War and Peace, but you can peruse a few books of interest and choose based on the genre you enjoy. If you want to double your relaxation efforts, consider reading a book while enjoying a warm bath. Just make sure that you don’t drop the book in the tub! Lastly, don’t read right as you get into bed because you may only last a page or two before you doze off.
Eat A Comforting Dinner
There is a difference between comfort food and a comforting meal. That said, if a slice of pizza is going to help you wind down after a long week, allow yourself the opportunity to indulge. Some people enjoy a bowl of warm soup or a recipe for banana bread that has been passed down through the family. If cooking after a long day is only going to cause stress, stop by your go-to restaurant and grab a meal from there. That’s a great way to kick off your evening!