Have you ever had a day where things just didn’t come together as you had planned? Perhaps some of your colleagues called in sick with a giant deadline looming. Or, your car battery died as you were heading out for an important appointment. Maybe your hard drive crashed before you saved all of your data. If any of these have ever happened, you know that the day has pretty much been a do-over or an exhausting waste of time.

Perhaps every day is stressful for you. Whether it is an isolated day gone wrong or a daily occurrence, stress is going to take its toll. You need tools to help you unwind at the end of a stressful day. Here are some tips.

Turn Off Your Phone
As soon as you walk in the door, turn your phone off. It doesn’t have to be for the entire evening. But, you do need to unplug from email and text messages briefly while you prepare for the evening.

Change Your Clothes
As simple as this sounds, changing into comfortable clothing or workout attire can have a physiological and psychological effect on your mood. Shedding the clothing that you wore during a stressful day can take you mentally out of that stress zone and into a place of freedom. If you plan to exercise, put your athletic wear on to get you physically motivated.

Exercise
That brings us to the next step. Once you have changed into your workout gear get up and move before you change your mind. Exercise is one of the best things you can do to recharge and de-stress. It doesn’t have to be a 20-mile bike ride. A 30-minute power walk, or 20 minutes of yoga may be just enough to bring more oxygen into your body and to regulate your hormones. Exercise can take you out of a heightened state of anxiety.

If being social helps you unwind, walk with a friend or take a Pilates class. Go to the gym if you know there will be others you can workout and interact with.

Prepare a Healthy Meal
For many people, cooking is enjoyable and relaxing. For some, it is the opposite. If you enjoy cooking, make an effort to prepare something light and healthy, such as a chopped salad of organic produce and grilled protein. While doing this, go ahead and enjoy a glass of red wine with healthy antioxidants that will fight off those damaging free radicals you stirred up during the day.

If you don’t enjoy cooking, especially after a long day, consider using a slow cooker. You can put on a simple soup, stew, or even a whole chicken in the morning and come home to the delicious smell of a hot meal. All you need to do is put it in a bowl, pour that glass of wine, and enjoy.

Watch or Read Something Fun
If you stream, which most people do, watch a comedy series or a fun movie. Otherwise, read a good book or the periodicals that have been piling up on your coffee table. Reading can take you right out of your own head and into someone else’s world.

Be mindful of what you watch or read. It probably won’t serve you well to watch a horror film or to read a murder mystery or a technical trade journal.

Go To Bed Early
There is nothing more restorative than a good night’s sleep. Maybe take a hot shower before you get into bed to relax you. Turn off technology and make the room dark. Try getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep, or at least try to be in bed resting for that amount of time. Do some breathing exercises while lying in bed to calm you down.

While stress is manageable, it is always advised that you seek proper medical attention if constant stress is causing long-term health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, weight gain, or mental anxiety.

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