Past a certain age, we all know the feeling: you’ve put in a long day of studying or working, you’re a little stressed out, and you just need to settle your mind down (and perhaps lower your blood pressure a bit if it’s been a particularly trying day). Most of us recognize the need to do this now and then – but unfortunately, acting on it is a different challenge entirely. People in general are more stressed these days, and it’s showing up particularly in the youngest adult generation. Millennials are too stressed out, and it seems to be representative not just of their ages, but of the times they grew up in – meaning even if you’re not part of this generation, you’re probably more stressed than you need to be also.
To deal with the problem completely, significant lifestyle changes are often necessary. But you can get a jump on things by figuring out a routine (or a few routines) that at least help you to calm your mind and reduce your stress at the end of the average long work or school day. We’ll help get you started with a few basic ideas.
1. Use The “Calm” App
It almost sounds silly, but you’ve probably heard the mantra that there’s an app for everything, and that includes the simple act of calming down. It’s an app that assists you with meditation and, somewhat ironically, asks you to unplug. Actually, it asks you to do nothing at all for a set period of time while you look at a relaxing image and listen to soothing sounds. And usually all you need is a trial run to realize you really do need to improve your ability to relax. That is, you may find it’s hard to stay engaged with the app for 15 seconds! The app is meant to help you meditate, relax, focus, and sleep better – but you can start with using it just to calm your mind after work.
2. Read A Book
Nothing helps you unplug quite like reading a good book – even if it’s technically on an electronic device (though I might personally suggest reading a real, actual book). You aren’t asking your mind to zone out completely, which as we’ve just covered is more difficult than it sounds, but you are disengaging completely from the real world and all the stress within it. Books are about escapism, entertainment, and education, all of which can be simultaneously relaxing and stimulating. It’s the perfect activity for that time right after work.
3. Listen To A Podcast
Listening to a podcast doesn’t exactly fit in with the common idea of unplugging to relax. But it almost serves the same function of a book, with even less effort. There are so many podcasts these days, accessible via a smartphone, tablet, or computer, that you can almost always find a topic or specific episode that interests you. Then you can simply start it playing, sit down and relax. You can even close your eyes if you’d prefer to, and simply let the podcast’s host do the talking. It’s a nice way to turn off the bulk of your brain and enjoy some light, effortless entertainment.
4. Play A Video Game
Video games can offer tremendous escapism and stress relief. And sometimes, the simpler they are, the better. That is, an involved console game can always be fun, but sometimes a simple mobile puzzle game is better for unwinding. For that matter, repetitive, mindless games are often among the most effective for calming down, and for this you can even turn to the online slot genre. And they’re not as dull as you might expect. There’s a growing number of games that qualify as “video slots” and provide nice, amusing animations in addition to repetitive slot-style gaming. They’re some of the most effective calming games out there, provided you don’t play for a stressful amount of real money.
5. Do 10 Minutes Of Yoga
Yoga isn’t like some other exercises, when there’s not much point in starting if you can’t finish. In other words, if you want to run five miles but only have the time to run half a mile, it’s hard to convince yourself to put on workout gear and lace up your shoes. But with yoga you can do an effective routine in a matter of 10 minutes or so, with the result that your muscles are stretched out, your mind is calmed, and you feel as if you’ve gotten in some legitimate physical activity. There aren’t many better ways to start your post-work day.