With so much change this school year, you may feel like you are working harder than ever. New routines, new schedules, new ways of delivering information — it all requires energy and brain power which may have you feeling drained at the end of your day.
Learning how to destress at the end of each day not only helps you stay motivated and refreshed, but it also helps your overall health. Keeping stress at bay benefits your physical health in more ways than one, including:
- Healthier immune system.
- Better sleep.
- Improved digestive system.
- Reduced blood pressure, chronic illness and inflammation.
- Better weight management.
On the flip side, letting stress overtake you can be detrimental to your health. Stress can lead to chronic illness such as type 2 diabetes and inflammatory diseases. With increased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in your body, you are more likely to:
- Keep extra weight on.
- Become easily fatigued.
- Develop insomnia, depression and/or anxiety.
- Have poor self-regulation habits.
- Age prematurely.
So, what are some ways you can destress at the end of the day? VEBA suggests the following ways to reset and recenter after a long day:
- Go for a walk. One of the easiest ways to relieve stress is to go for a walk outside. Take a mindfulness walk in nature and breathe in the fresh air. As you walk, notice the trees, smell the flowers, feel the breeze, listen to the sounds of nature. Being outside on a walk, even if it’s just for 15 minutes, will help clear your mind and relieve your stress.
- Journal your thoughts. At the end of each day, journal all of the things from the day for which you are grateful. Try to think of at least 3 positive things that happened and write about them. Focusing on gratitude helps shift your mindset and improves your overall emotional well-being.
- Cook a healthy dinner. Eating healthy foods will contribute to overall better health. Taking it one step further, prepare a dinner that is vibrant in natural colors from fruits and vegetables. Be mindful of the preparation and grateful for its bounty. Enjoy the flavors, textures and smells as you savor every last bite.
- Take a warm bath or shower. Sometimes, literally washing away your stress is just what you need. Create a relaxing mood. Draw a bath, light some candles and listen to soft music with no words. Add some epsom salts to a hot bath to help relieve stress, pain and to avoid constipation (which can be stressful!). Focus on your breathing and clear your mind.
- End your day under the stars. Grab a blanket, some healthy snacks and go watch the sunset at a nearby park, beach or even in your backyard. Then, wait for the moon to rise and the stars to come out and just gaze. Try to let your mind wander and naturally clear the stress of the day.
Whether you choose to walk off, write out or wash away your stress, doing so is beneficial to your health. Intentionally getting rid of it at the end of the day will not only help you feel better but will also prepare you for the days ahead. For more ideas on how to destress after a long day, watch VEBA Resource Center’s Tips on How to Destress or Breathing to Relieve Stress.