Health Advocate Blog

The importance of winding down

At the end of the day, do you feel frazzled, quick to anger, and/or anxious? If so, you’re not alone. With all of our day-to-day obligations, the pressures of home and work life, and other issues you and your loved ones may be facing, it is easy to get caught in a whirlwind of stress, frustration and anxiety. The culmination of these feelings can be detrimental to your physical and mental health if you don’t have an outlet(s) to release these feelings and calm down. These tips can help you wind down and regain a sense of balance at the end of your day.

Take time to unplug. Spend time free from technology and screens by simply savoring a quiet moment with your eyes closed. Take it even further by creating tech-free zones in your house. Pick a drawer or other out-of-sight place to stash your devices, and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Lose yourself in something you love. Did you previously have a hobby that you just couldn’t get enough of? Well, what are you waiting for—get back to it! Hobbies are a great way to wind down and get some “me time.”

Go outside. Breathe in the fresh air, listen to the sounds of the environment, and take a good look at the sights. It will help you feel more connected and refreshed after a stressful day.

Tense your tension. At the end of the day, do you feel a lot of tension in your body? If so, tense it to relax it! Select the area of your body where you hold stress. Inhale and tense this area (for example, if it’s your forehead, wrinkle your forehead and furrow your brows) and inhale to the count of three. Next, release the tension while slowly exhaling to the count of four. Repeat as needed, or try this technique on other areas of your body in which you may hold stress.

Exercise. Take a walk around the neighborhood, practice yoga in your living room, or dust off that gym membership card and go break a sweat.  Exercise is a tried and true method of stress relief as it gets your heart pumping and releases feel-good hormones that can help give you a sense of well-being.

Just take a break. Sit on your couch and look out the window, spend a few minutes enjoying your outdoor space, or lie on your bed and practice deep breathing—there are countless options.  Try dedicating 10 minutes at the end of your day to taking a break to see if you notice a difference in your mood.

Practice mindfulness. Just taking even five minutes to sit quietly and follow your breath can help you feel less fragmented and more connected and balanced.

Find a bedtime routine. By doing the same activities each night before bed, you can train your body to wind down in preparation for sleep, which is crucial for sleep quality and quantity. Choose a relaxing activity such as reading a book, listening to music, meditating, having a cup of decaffeinated herbal tea or glass of warm milk to help signal to your body that it’s time to sleep.

Taking time each day to do simple activities that calm your body and mind is a powerful way to short-circuit stress, restore a sense of well-being and protect your health! Find activities that work for you and make them part of your routine—you’ll be glad you did!