11 Manageable Ways To Reset Yourself After The Workday

Maybe you truly love your job and greet each workday with a smile on your face and gratitude in your heart. Or maybe your current gig is just a stand-in to help you make ends meet until you're finally able to earn your keep doing what you love. Whether your work is a passion project or just a way to pay the bills, the fact remains that there are going to be trying days.

Workplace stress is inevitable. And that's why it's so important to disconnect and decompress at the end of the workday and leave the cares of the office behind you when you come home. Unfortunately, though, it's not always easy to slough off the stresses of the workday. If you're not careful, you can find yourself fretting and worrying the whole night through, and that means you're probably going to feel exhausted and frustrated before the new day even begins.

On the other hand, enjoying a nice, relaxing evening will help you feel better, healthier, happier, and more energized the next morning. This is why it's so important to create a manageable routine for resetting in mind, body, and spirit after the workday ends. And you have a number of effective and enjoyable options to help you transition from work to home. We'll show you how.

Get out of those work clothes

Perhaps the most effective way to escape the cares of the office is also the most simple. Change your clothes. It may seem trivial, but it actually makes a lot of sense. After all, clothes are both a uniform and a costume. They play a major role in how you feel, what you do, and how you feel about what you're doing.

When you're in your work clothes, your mind is inevitably prepared for action. Consciously or not, you're going to be bracing for the stress of the job. You're literally wearing a constant reminder of the workplace and the pressures that it entails. Wearing your work clothes at home in the evening is like a soldier continuing to wear their armor after the battle is over.

So get out of those work clothes and into something that makes you feel happy, relaxed, and comfortable. This little action will become the ritual that symbolizes your transition from work to home. It's a tangible manifestation of your putting the workday and its cares behind you. Choose something that is cozy but stylish, something that makes you feel comfortable but not sloppy. Above all, choose something that you would never wear to work. That way, you're making your break from the office for the day crystal clear both to others and, most importantly, to yourself.

Have a soothing snack

No matter whether you start the day with a hearty breakfast, dive into a robust meal at lunch, or simply graze throughout the workday, by the time you get home, you're probably going to need some nourishment. Enjoying a light snack or a soothing cup of tea at the end of a hard workday can be a perfect way to break from the stress of the day.

And because food is medicine, you can select a delicious treat or soothing beverage that exactly meets your needs and is perfectly aligned with your mood. Try some delectable dark chocolate if you've had an especially trying day. Not only does dark chocolate have a significantly lower sugar content than other sweet treats, but it's also high in antioxidants and flavonoids, which, among other benefits, "relaxes your blood vessels and improves blood flow," thus, lowering blood pressure (per the Cleveland Clinic).

On the other hand, if you prefer to sip your stress away, you really can't go wrong with a nice, calming cup of chamomile tea. Like dark chocolate, chamomile is also rich in flavonoids. It's also been shown to improve sleep and decrease symptom severity in persons with generalized anxiety disorder (via Medical News Today). And, much like changing out of those work clothes, settling down to enjoy a nice cup of tea is an easy evening ritual to symbolize that you're officially and wholly off the clock for the day.

Take a bath

When you're under stress, your mind and body pay the price. Your muscles can tense. Your heart may race. Maybe your breathing quickens and becomes shallow. Your brain floods every tissue, every organ system, with cortisol and adrenaline. You enter a physiological stress response, a fight-or-flight state that is both exhausting and unhealthy.

But the stress response isn't always easy to escape. It's an evolutionary mechanism designed to protect us in times of perceived danger. The brain and body need some kind of physiological sign that the danger has passed to stop this flood of stress hormones. Vigorous exercise is one way to do it, as we'll see, but another is to simply slip out of those work clothes and into a lovely, warm, scented bath.

There are few better ways to end a difficult day than by soaking your cares away. The warm water will relax your tired muscles and dilate your blood vessels, oxygenating your organs and helping you to feel calm and refreshed again. Add some essential oils to ease any anxiety symptoms, and light a few aromatherapy candles for the full spa treatment you deserve. Scents like lavender have a proven calming effect; peppermint has been shown to energize the body, and lemon is ideal if you want to elevate your mood. And there's something incredibly healing in performing this act of self-care. Making the time and effort to nurture yourself this way is a wonderful way to reset after a demanding and difficult day.

Phone a friend

If you want to say goodbye to the troubles of the day, let your friends help you out. Calling up a bestie who always makes you laugh can help you clear your head and enjoy your evening downtime. And it's not hard to understand why. In fact, the health benefits of friendship are now well documented. Talking to a good friend, especially when you're under stress, has been shown to reduce blood pressure and heart rate (per the American Psychological Association). You're also more likely to feel more energetic, motivated, and content in general after talking with a good friend.

And we're not talking about ending every work day with some deep, heavy vent-a-thon. A silly, casual conversation or a talk that makes your sides ache with laughter is probably the best antidote to workplace stress that you will ever find. All the better when you know that this same friend who's always good for a belly laugh or two is also one to lend a sympathetic ear or a strong shoulder when you really do need to cry, scream, and vent.

Write on

Keeping your feelings bottled up inside can be a recipe for disaster. Your fears, frustrations, and disappointments are going to go somewhere. And that means that if you don't find a healthy outlet, you're setting the stage for potential anxiety, depression, exhaustion, and unhappiness. You're creating conditions that can leave you sick, burned out, and ready to blow a gasket.

But there's an easy and effective way to release all those feelings: journaling. Sitting down to journal about your frustrations and worries can be incredibly cathartic, especially if you find the right journaling style. Putting your feelings into words gives you distance and perspective and can help make those fears seem not so scary after all.

Ending your workday with a short writing session is an especially effective way to break from the office and reset for the evening. According to the American Psychological Association, keeping a diary helps you to reduce or even eliminate intrusive thoughts. And that means that the pressures of the job won't keep bubbling up into your conscious mind, making it difficult, if not impossible, to truly relax, decompress, and enjoy your downtime.

Enjoy a little pet therapy

There's nothing quite like coming home to a wet nose or a luxuriously swishing tail at the end of a hard day. So if you want to recalibrate for the evening, just spend some time with a furry companion. Whether you're playing fetch with Fido or cuddling up with a purring pussycat, enjoying a little four-legged fun will make you forget all about your workday.

After all, the unconditional love and unadulterated joy of a pet puts your worries into perspective like nothing else can do. And the physiological benefits are well supported by science. According to The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center, parenting a pet will reduce your stress, decrease blood pressure, protect against disease, and lower your risk of anxiety and depression.

After all, our pets require our undivided attention as well as our love. The simple act of taking care of your precious pooch or your favorite feline will get your mind off the office and center you in the present moment. Plus, caring for your pet can be both highly physical and highly social. Your babies need exercise and social engagement as much as you do. So an evening at the dog park or the cat café is an ideal way to meet new people, refresh in new surroundings, and say goodbye to your career complaints for the day.

Dance the day away

When you come home tired and grumpy from a hard day, probably all that's on your mind is vegging out in front of the television. But that's likely only going to make you feel worse, especially if all you end up doing is ruminating on the events of the day. Your best bet for a true evening reset is to get moving. So, if you need to decompress and lighten the mood, then why not turn up your favorite music and dance like no one's watching?

Vigorous physical activity will help you release the stress hormones that have built up throughout the day, and dancing is a fun and invigorating way to do exactly that. You'll work out all the knots and kinks that have accumulated in your muscles from sitting at a desk — or from gnashing your teeth about that annoying client, colleague, or supervisor!

And rhythmic movement and music also yield significant neurological benefits as well (via Harvard Health Publishing). Rhythmic motion and sound have been shown to activate the brain's pleasure and "reward centers" while also improving memory, cognition, and sensory processing. You'll feel happier and calmer, be more alert and connected to your body, environment, and the present moment, and think more clearly. Your cares will melt away as you replace the weighty fatigue of a hard workday with the euphoric exhaustion of a dancing "high."

Get out of the house

When you're tired after a long workday, it can feel as if home is the only place you want to be. But it's not necessarily the best place for you. In fact, sitting at home may well have you dwelling on any frustrations of the workday. After all, when you're at home, you may not have the distractions you need to get your mind off your worries, nor do you always have the social engagement so important for elevating a depressed spirit.

So get out and about, even if you don't really feel like it. Before you know it, you're likely to find yourself re-energized and entirely unconcerned about the events of the day that had been weighing so heavily, which is fantastic for preventing burnout

And, best of all, you don't have to make a big production of it. Do what is easy and comforting. Have a cocktail with friends, enjoy a live music show in the park, or browse your favorite bookshop. What matters most is that you're out in the world with people and have the physical reminder that there is more to your life than the office.

Sweat your stress away

We've already seen what havoc those nasty old stress hormones can wreak on your mind, body, and spirit. And we also know that often the only way to release all that pent-up cortisol and adrenaline is to work it out.

Fortunately, you can bid your workday stress away with a little sweat equity. Strenuous physical activity, like kickboxing, axe-throwing, or climbing walls, will activate your brain's reward centers, flood your body with feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins, and neutralize stress hormones (per the Mayo Clinic).

And boosting your body's stress-fighting neurochemicals isn't the only way intense exercise helps you reset after the workday. Exercise, whatever form it may take, is the ideal way to practice mindfulness. Your brain can't be back at the office, picking over that conversation with a colleague or fretting over a challenging project when you're engaged in a vigorous workout. You have to remain present, connected to the moment, your environment, and your body. And that means you have no choice but to leave those work worries behind.

Let nature nurture you

When you've had a hard day at work and are looking to relax and recharge, some outdoor therapy will likely do the trick. In fact, there's mounting evidence to support what most of us have known intuitively since we were children: Soaking up the sun or playing in the dirt is good for you!

There's even a term for the practice of turning to the natural elements for a bit of physical and emotional healing. It's called grounding or earthing, and it simply refers to the practice of regularly making physical contact with natural elements, such as soil, sand, and rock (per the Australian & New Zealand Mental Health Association). Researchers speculate that by making physical contact with these natural elements, the body's electrical balance is restored, resulting in a vast array of mental and physical benefits, from improved sleep to decreased inflammation to a heightened sense of calm and well-being.

So if you're trying to put a stressful workday behind you, get outside and let Mother Nature work her magic. Take a walk around the neighborhood. Get the most out of your outdoor workout by doing your yoga or your aerobics in the fresh air of your own backyard. Lie down on the warm grass with a good book and enjoy some grounding or go for a refreshing swim in a sun-soaked lake. Surrounded by the magnificence of nature, the office will feel a million miles away.

Take a cat nap

No matter how much you might love your job, let's face it: Work can be mentally and physically draining. So why not launch your evening reset with a bit of shut-eye? After all, naps aren't just for elementary schoolers anymore. Taking a short nap when you get home from work can be an ideal way to refresh and rejuvenate for the evening ahead. Something as short as 10 minutes can be enough to recharge your batteries without ruining your sleep for the night.

And there's a good deal of science demonstrating the benefits of short naps each day. According to the Cleveland Clinic, for example, a "short and sweet" power nap for upwards of 30 minutes will boost your mood, improve your memory and concentration, and simply help you feel re-energized for the remainder of the day.

In addition, because a power nap helps to improve your cognitive processing, it may help you more effectively think through the work problem that may be weighing you down. That means you might find the solution that had been eluding you, truly freeing you to enjoy the evening ahead. The key is to ensure that your nap is short enough to prevent REM sleep, which usually begins around 90 minutes into the sleep cycle. This way, you'll awaken feeling refreshed, not groggy. You'll rise and shine to a great evening ahead!