Table of Contents Hide
- 8 simple things you should do to reset after work
- 1. Separate yourself from your workspace
- 2. Do some simple stretches
- 3. Make time for movement
- 4. Focus your eyes on something that isn’t a screen
- 5. Use water as a pattern break
- 6. Moisturize with a glass of water or tea
- 7. Feed yourself a nutrient-rich snack
- 8. Do a mindfulness exercise to shake off work stress
IIf you spend most of your day working, you know it can be all-encompassing in terms of the stress it puts on both your mind and body. Once you log out, you might feel a little, well, drained and unprepared to tackle the rest of your evening, whether that includes social or leisure plans, or household tasks like cooking dinner or doing laundry. Even if you don’t have plans for an after-work night out, it can be difficult to completely switch off and let go of your work brain, which is why experts suggest doing a few small things for yourself after you shut down your laptop or get back to work. home to reset, refresh and recover after work.
Even if you only have minutes, knowing what to do after work to transition physically and mentally can help counteract the tension and loss of focus triggered by all those hours spent grinding, sitting through meetings, or staring at screens. There is this saying that companies should not have the right to rest their employees during the day and send them home tired in the evening, but until [working] As the world gets closer to that reality, it’s really up to us to do these mini resets for ourselves, says wellness and meditation expert Susan Chen, founder of Susan Chen Vedic Meditation.
Below, find seven expert tips on what to do after work to refresh your mind and body for the evening ahead.
8 simple things you should do to reset after work
1. Separate yourself from your workspace
Whether you’re working from home or in the office, it’s vital to create a buffer between your physical work and leisure spaces. We really have to be willing to leave work where the work is, says Chen. If you work in an office, your commute can naturally act as a buffer. But if you work from home, you can also create this boundary by putting your laptop in a separate room (or drawer) from where you’ll spend the evening when you’re done working, Chen says.
We really have to be willing to leave work where the work is. Susan Chen, wellness and meditation expert
If your work setup isn’t easy to shift at the end of the day, cover it with a nice scarf or blanket to create that visual reminder that you’re off hours, adds Chen. And he reminds: Checking work emails and pings on messaging apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams after the end of the workday will blur this boundary—don’t do it if you can help it.
2. Do some simple stretches
Taking the time to do a couple of quick stretches, if you can, will help resolve any stiffness you may feel from getting stuck in some of the same positions most of the day. Trainer Denise Chakoian, owner of CORE Cycle. Fitness. Lagree., recommends focusing on your spine and hips, which are in flexion all day [if youre sitting] and can get very compressed.
If you’re able to lie flat on the floor, Chakoian says a couple of cow-cat yoga poses can help realign your spine, and he especially recommends a four-digit stretch to open up your hip flexors: Lie flat on your back and cross right leg over lift, placing right ankle on left quadriceps; then, reverse. If you can’t get to the floor, he suggests a few hip circles instead to loosen up your back and hips: While standing, place your hands on your hips and rotate your hips in circular patterns.
People who work on computers should be sure to stretch their necks and shoulders too, given the tendency to hunch in front of a screen, Chakoian adds. To begin, he recommends rotating both your head and shoulders in a circle, alternating directions. Then, he lengthens his shoulders by bringing his shoulder blades together, he says.
3. Make time for movement
In addition to stretching your body, Chakoian strongly recommends making time for some movement at the end of the workday, even if it’s just a few minutes. If you can finish your day, put on headphones and walk for even 15 or 20 minutes, you’re stretching your body and getting blood back to your muscles, she says.
All the better if you can take the movement outdoors, where you may be able to reap the restorative benefits of green spaces and sunlight as well. Or, turn on your favorite song and dance to it for an extra feel-good dopamine hit.
4. Focus your eyes on something that isn’t a screen
Staring at a computer all day can contribute to digital eye strain, which can include symptoms such as dry eyes, irritation, and trouble focusing. Part of why? It’s a natural impulse to blink less while staring at a screen (even if you don’t realize you’re doing it).
As a result, it’s a good idea to step away from screens after work and simply change the focus of your eyes, says Viktoriya Karakcheyeva, MD, director of behavioral health at the Resiliency and Well-Being Center at George Washington University’s School of Medicine &Health. Science. By changing what your eyes are focusing on, you’re giving them a chance to adjust to their new environment; Dr. Karakcheyeva suggests simply looking into the distance for 20 seconds – for example, something green outside the window.
5. Use water as a pattern break
Incorporating what Chen calls pattern breaks, or quick practices to let your mind know it’s time to switch from one activity to another, can help you reset after a busy day.
If you’ve been in the zone and that task-oriented tunnel vision where you’re singularly focused on work, doing something completely different may help. [shift modes]Chen says. He adds that water can be particularly restorative, which is why he often advises his students to make time for a quick shower to reset.
If you don’t have the time (or energy) for a shower, just splashing your face with cold water can help stimulate and restore your nervous system by activating the vagus nerve, says Dr. Karakcheyeva, which can lead to a of calm.
6. Moisturize with a glass of water or tea
It’s easy to become dehydrated during the day, particularly if you’re so busy with your job that you don’t rehydrate regularly, so drinking water after work can serve as a helpful refresher. According to registered dietitian Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, hydration can also help you feel more energized, which is probably just what you need when you come off a long job.
To change things up and boost the health-supporting powers of your after-work drink, try infusing your water with fruit or herbs. Registered Dietitian Christina Manian, RDN, also likes to kick back with a cup of decaffeinated herbal tea, like antioxidant-rich hibiscus tea.
7. Feed yourself a nutrient-rich snack
If the gap between when you wrap up and when you plan to have dinner is more than an hour or so, it’s worth refueling with a nutritious and healthy after-work snack to kick-start your evening.
Manaker suggests a snack containing protein, complex carbohydrates and/or healthy fats, which will provide energy and satiety. In that realm, cottage cheese is a good bet, and he also recommends getting fruit because their combination of fiber and sugar makes them more nutritious than a processed snack.
One of Manakers favorite fruit snacks (which also packs a little protein) are dates stuffed with nut butter. To make them, simply cut a date in half and stuff it with your favorite nut butter. It’s energizing and sweet, it’s got healthy fats, it’s got fiber, it’s got carbs, and it’s got magnesium [which can support your sleep that night]she says.
8. Do a mindfulness exercise to shake off work stress
A simple mindfulness exercise can help you mentally step out of work mode by turning your attention back to the present moment. Once you wrap up your latest work assignment, try a check-in meditation, suggests Kessonga Giscombe, a mindfulness and meditation teacher at Headspace. Take a break and intentionally and deliberately check in with yourself, she says. Consider how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally to prioritize yourself and your needs after a long day at work.
This short break can help you move into that recovery and recovery space in an easier way, Giscombe adds. But you can also try a quick micro-meditation, like a few minutes of resounding breathing (with longer exhales than inhales) or a supportive mantra, to make the mental transition from work-you to leisure-you.
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