11 Ways to Destress After a Long Work Week

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Destressing after a long week can be difficult to do, especially when you feel like you have no time to do it. I’ve been asked several times, “I have so many things to do. How much down time do I actually need?” The answer varies with each person and circumstance. One week, you may only need 1 hour, but with another week you may feel like you need an entire weekend. If you aren’t feeling rested (and not just sleeping rested), that’s a good sign you need more time. Aside from making sure you are getting enough rest, here are a few things to try (and not all of them take a huge amount of time).

1. Exercise. It may seem counter-intuitive to exercise when you are low on energy and stressed out, but you have to use energy to get energy. Exercise releases endorphins  – the hormone that makes us feel happy and reduces stress.
2. Breathe. It’s involuntary, right? So why focus on it? If you focus on breathing slower, it can actually activate the section of your nervous system that tells you to calm down. Try breathing in for a count of 4, holding for a count of 7, and letting it out for a count of 8. 
3. Sing along or listen to music. This isn’t just fun – it also releases those happy hormones.
4. Take a bath or get a massage. These can both be physically relaxing, which helps us mentally relax.
5. Bake. It’s not only a good distraction, but you’ll also have something delicious to eat afterwards. You can even use this as an excuse to invite people over.
6. Watch a favorite movie. There is just something about watching a movie you really enjoyed again that brings you back to a good mood.
7.  Read. It’s easy to get lost in a good book. It also helps keep worrying down to a minimum.
8. Treat yourself. Go eat your favorite snack, or buy yourself something you wouldn’t normally buy. It feels good to reward ourselves once in awhile.
9. Spend time with your friends/family. When you hang out with people that lift you up, it makes difficult times not seem as difficult.
10. Color or meditate. These ones aren’t for everyone, but both allow our minds to clear and reflect – which can be a really helpful escape or insight when you have a lot on your mind.
11. Schedule worry time. This may sound silly – but if you are someone who spends the entire weekend worrying about work on Monday, giving yourself permission to worry for only an hour on Saturday morning allows you to enjoy the rest of your weekend, while still allowing yourself to feel worried.

Part of taking care of yourself is making sure that you have time to do it. That may mean you actually have to schedule it into your schedule, and you may have to tell someone no. Some people may destress and/or re-energize by being around people, while other people may need alone time. Sometimes you may need a distraction, or want to have fun and enjoy yourself; other times you may want to just sit in your feelings. Self care comes in many shapes and sizes. The first step is figuring out what works best for you at what times.

About Alison Silvius Casanova LMFT

I am a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I enjoy supporting people in finding solutions to everyday problems. I work with people of all ages that struggle with social skills, are affected by addiction, and have suffered trauma/loss. My areas of interest include cognitive behavioral therapy, self esteem building, improved communication in relationships, grief/loss, and more. You can read more about me on my page at: www.alisonsilviuslmft.net