We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — working from home can make it really tough to decompress when you’ve finished your shift for the day.
The balance between your work life and home life is blurred and this makes it hard to take your mind away from your job.
Lucky for you, we’ve highlighted four ways you can unwind after working from home — including examples that get you out of the house and ones that don’t require you to get off the couch.
Getting out into nature
Walking among greenery, outside in the fresh air (perhaps even with animals! Dogs are the best)… getting out into nature is a great way to decompress after working from home.
One of the most obvious changes that the ‘new normal’ of working from home has brought is the loss of your journey to the office.
For some, this might have come as a release — no more early trains and no more time wasted being stuck in rush hour. But for many it was a chance to gather their thoughts before work and decompress after it.
This isn’t simply due to the fact that it’s a chance to have some time to yourself. It’s because you get more oxygen into your system. Getting more fresh air offers a range of benefits for you:
- It aids your digestive system
- It improves your blood pressure
- It strengthens your immune system
- It reduces the chances of obesity
So, once you’ve finished your shift, take some time to walk outside in a nearby park or even a city farm.
Exercising your body by using cardiovascular fitness apps
Whether it’s hitting the weights, pounding the treadmill or teasing out some stretches, exercising your body is an excellent way to unwind when you clock out.
Anyone who walked to and from work (and spent at least 30 mins a day doing so) will now be feeling the loss of that regular proxy exercise.
Unless you’ve replaced those 150 minutes of walking time with another form of exercise, you’ll be feeling shorter of breath, looking a little rounder, and generally feel less motivated than you were before.
Exercising at the end of the day will help to get back to where you were before working from home became the norm. Plus, it also gives you a chance to decompress by focusing your mind on something other than work or homelife.
Hitting the weights, pounding the treadmill, or teasing out some stretches will give you more energy. It also introduces some new goals into your life. You could aim to lose X amount of pounds, add X amount of muscle to your body, or run X amount of miles.
Fitness apps are a great way to find and monitor your goals, as they allow you to set a variety of targets and then encourage you to achieve them. The best fitness apps on the market let you choose from a range of different exercises and give you notifications to keep you on track.
Focusing on cardiovascular apps and exercises is a good idea because they offer so many different physical and mental benefits — ones that help you to decompress after work and to be more focussed when you are working. These benefits include things such as boosting your mood, reducing your blood pressure, and improving your sleeping pattern.
Playing a musical instrument
Guitar, keyboard, synth, drums, tuba, or oboe… Whatever option you pick, playing a musical instrument is a brilliant way to kick back at the end of the day.
Learning and playing a musical instrument has so many great benefits:
- It makes you smarter
- It helps you de-stress
- It aids your memory
- It develops your creativity
Where it truly helps you to decompress is when you get lost in the music. Indeed, there’s a respected concept called flow that explains how musicians enter the zone. This is where they become detached from everything surrounding them, focused only on the music they’re playing.
Picking up a musical instrument doesn’t have to break the bank either — buy second-hand to save yourself some money, or pick a cheap instrument like a ukulele (you can literally get one for a tenner). And YouTube is a great source of free tutorials for music lessons — it takes just a few minutes to find a tutor you can get on board with.
So, choose your instrument, find your coach and then start loosening up by playing music!
Exercising your mind with games & challenges
Exercising your mind is a fantastic way to destress after you’ve finished work.
The problem with working from home is that it’s so easy to fall into the trap of always being focused on work. Your home and office barriers are broken because the physical separation between the two no longer exists.
This means you might stay on a little longer or even go back to work later on in the evening. Problems play on your mind even more because you know you don’t have to go into the office to fix them — now it’s as simple as just opening up your laptop again and logging back in.
Luckily there are a few ways you can keep your mind busy and challenged in the evenings. Meditating with mindfulness apps, educating yourself with new material, and even playing online games can help with this.
Online games are a great example — there are plenty about, and you can go from playing solo games like Spider Solitaire, to couple games to play with your other half, to multiplayer games. They all have their benefits — helping to exercise your brain and test your logic while demanding a high level of concentration.
While developing your mental prowess is a great way of making your mind less cluttered by enhancing your problem solving skills, it’s not the only benefit you get from playing games or completing puzzles. One of the reasons it’s so good for helping you decompress is that playing logic games is engaging and fun. This helps to release dopamine in your brain, making you more relaxed and more balanced.
Getting out into nature, exercising your body, playing a musical instrument and exercising your mind are all great ways to decompress after working from home.
Each requires as little or as much commitment as you like and every one of them offers real benefits. So, decide which one to begin with and try it out this evening.