5 Simple Methods Anyone Can Use To Power Down After Work

after work
Image: mihailomilovanovic

At the end of the work day, the body naturally winds down with feelings of tiredness and contemplation, after work stress leaves you wondering what could have been improved or what should happen next time. Not to mention, replaying all the sound bites you’ve pick up throughout the day: “We may need to change your work schedule,” “You have a brand new project to complete by end of week,” or “This could’ve been done better.”

Thankfully, there are safe, practical ways to “power down” from overstimulation and stress, without losing your power.

1. Cultivate a “Still Home”

A “still home” is orderly, clean, and feels good upon entering it. Squabbles with spouses, kids, and nuisances are minimal.

Here’s a tip I learned from my grandmother: the simple act of freshening up the drains with a splash of Pine-Sol or ammonia, cleaning out residue, trapped smells, and old food, can make all the difference. The smell of fresh pine awakens the senses and tricks the mind into thinking that “all is well” and clean within your home. However, we only have a few hours at night to wind down, so shortcuts are okay.

2. Keep Noise to a Minimum

Don’t flip on the television for background noise, as soon as you walk in the door.  Similar to creating a still home, the quietness of the first hour grounds and refocuses your attention on yourself. After work, your mind may keep racing with its demands, but you can learn to train yourself to alternate between activity and rest.

3. Read a Favorite Book or Exercise

Distract yourself for at least 30 minutes with a topic or experience unrelated to work. Exercising and reading stop the mental chatter, and help you transition to a peaceful night.

4. Eat a Satisfying Meal

Noshing on light snacks may be okay during the day. However, you can make eating a fun event (with minimal effort) after work. A nourishing, slow-cooked lamb stew, a quick shrimp salad with homemade dressing, or an elaborate display of caviar and crackers on your best dinnerware does wonders for an otherwise tired soul.

Choose something that makes you feel one of these three things:

  1. Richer than you really are.
  2. Slimmer than you look.
  3. Comforted when you feel lost.

Write down at least one meal that does this. It will instantly lift your spirits and transition you out of “professional” work mode into self-care mode.

5. Prepare an Evening Drink

A soothing evening drink can include your favorite tea, herb elixir or tonic, a fruit smoothie, or a large cup of steaming hot chocolate with marshmallows–but do stay away from anything caffeinated.

Choosing a power down method that supports you after work is crucial to your professional success. If you live with others, you might only be able to do one thing on this list. But, as long as you do that one thing every night, you will reap the benefits of consistency and predictable relaxation. A satisfying sense of confidence and relief emerges when you get control over your after-work life, without making it another job.

Maryann Reid is the digital managing editor of BlackEnterprise.com and the author of several books published by St. Martin’s Press. For more, please follow her @RealAlphanista.

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