Office politics got you down? Dealing with different personalities and communication styles on a day-to-day can be tough. In most work environments, you must exercise a number of different skill sets to be successful, including patience, emotional intelligence, and negotiation, all the while doing the job that you were hired to do—whether that be data entry, telemarketing, writing, medical device sales, or construction. Stressful workdays have a way of bringing you down quick. After all, negative experiences in the workplace carry over to your evening commute, nightly rituals with your loved ones, and may even affect the quality of your sleep.
So how do you leave your workday at work? It’s easier said than done. Use these five tips to get a leg-up on your stress level at the end of a long day:
Take a Hot Bath
One of the most obvious and relaxing things you can do to tame your stress is to draw yourself a hot bath when you get home. Try adding relaxing bubble bath or a bath bomb to your tub to release pleasant aromas into the air. Now sit back, relax—perhaps lighting a candle for added ambiance—and let the hot water ease your worries. Have kids? Ask your spouse, a close relative, or a neighbor to watch them for 30 minutes so you can take the time you need to focus on what really matters—your mental health.
Call a Friend
The power of a friendly, understanding ear cannot be underestimated. Humans need strong, meaningful social connections in their lives to thrive and be their best selves. If you’ve been out of the loop for a while, you might feel reluctant to reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to for some time. Keep in mind that real friends fall out of touch only to pick up right where they left off. So make the call and ask for validation and support; it can make a world of difference, helping you to feel assured and confident about how you might be dealing with certain situations in the workplace. And some good old friendly advice never hurt either.
If you need to really vent, steer clear of long-winded texts or emails. They may make you more worked up than you already are. And they may also become bothersome to your friend. Another thing to consider is that too much screen time before bed may keep you up at night, adding to your stress. Remember, nothing beats having an authentic conversation with someone you care about over the phone. So break away from the texting trend and ask for support from someone who will understand.
Break Out the Essential Oils
Essential oils have an abundance of healing properties. The following are some of the best essential oils for relaxation:
- Frankincense (derived from the resin of Boswellia trees grown in Africa)
- Clary Sage
- Ylang Ylang
- Tea tree
When using these potent oils, it’s important to mix them with a carrier oil for dilution purposes. A carrier oil retains all the properties of an essential oil, but works to mitigate the essential oil’s potency (reducing the chances of skin irritation).
Some examples of carrier oils include coconut, olive, jojoba, avocado, and grapeseed. You might already have one of these stashed in your cabinet somewhere for cooking. Try mixing 2–3 drops of your favorite essential oil with 8-10 drops of a carrier oil. You can rub this mixture on the soles of your feet, wrists, temples, or the back of your neck. If you don’t feel like applying oils directly to your skin, try dropping 3–4 drops of an essential oil into a foot bath. Now soak the tired footsies and curl up with a good book.
Journal About Gratitude
It’s all too easy to get caught up talking about your daily gripes. The best people on the planet do it from time to time. After an unpleasant workday, however, it might not be the healthiest option for your physical or mental health. Although it may sound unintuitive, bringing your attention to the positive things in your life rather than releasing frustrations about your negative day may help to improve your mood and help you unwind.
Try your hand at journaling, focusing on all the things that you love and are grateful for. For instance, one day you may choose to write about the love you have for your daughter. On another day, it may bring you joy to write about that tropical vacation last summer and how grateful you are for that experience. Opening your heart to love and gratitude is a great way to beat the stressors of the workday.
Go Outside for an Evening Stroll
Getting outside might be the last thing on your mind when you get home from a hard day at the office. Vegging out on the couch with a pack of potato chips might be a much more tempting alternative. But keep in mind that taking in some fresh air can do you a world of good. Even a short 15–20-minute walk can get your blood pumping, boost your breathing rate, and help to alleviate any lingering anxiety you may still have.
If walking around your neighborhood sounds boring, mix it up a bit! Take your evening stroll to the beach, the park, or a wide open meadow. By surrounding yourself in nature’s bountiful beauty and wonder, you are more likely to wash away the stresses of the day, focusing your attention on the present moment instead (the only moment that really matters).
Next time work has you in a frenzy, make it a goal to release the tensions of the day the moment you walk into your home sweet home. If calling a friend is your style, do that. If you’re obsessed with your new essential oils, then make that your go-to stress relief therapy. When you find something that works for you, make a habit of using it to your advantage to ensure your tough day doesn’t turn into a tough week.