How To Relax After Work: 12 Ways To De-Stress

By Jennifer Herrity

Updated September 22, 2022 | Published October 18, 2021

Updated September 22, 2022

Published October 18, 2021

Jennifer Herrity is a seasoned career services professional with 12+ years of experience in career coaching, recruiting and leadership roles with the purpose of helping others to find their best-fit jobs. She helps people navigate the job search process through one-on-one career coaching, webinars, workshops, articles and career advice videos on Indeed's YouTube channel.

Every job comes with stressful situations that may increase your anxiety. While some of these situations may seem inevitable, there are several ways to help you relax after a long day at work. Knowing how to relax after your shift can help you identify which activities best suit your interests and work best for you.

In this article, we explain the importance of relaxing after work and list 12 ways to relax after work.


Why is it important to relax after work?

Relaxing after work comes with many benefits to both your personal and professional life. Here are some reasons why it's important to relax after work:

  • Greater mental health: Finding time to relax after work can help you de-stress and focus on something other than your work-related responsibilities. Taking this time essentially helps you release mental pressure from a long workday.

  • Improved decision-making: Relaxing after a long day at work can provide you with a renewed mindset for the next workday. When you return to work with a rational mind, it's easier to make important decisions.

  • Better physical health: Relaxing can help you alleviate stress and reduce negative thoughts, which can ultimately prevent the possibility of health complications.

Related: 26 Quick Ways To De-Stress at Work and Why It Matters

How to relax after work

While there are several ways to unwind after work, it's important to find which works best for you. Once you know what helps you relax, you can make time to engage in these activities after work. Here are 12 different things you can do to help you relax after work:

1. Start journaling

Consider starting a journal where you can express your feelings through writing. Write about your emotions and goals to help you release and process them. Starting a journal can help you clarify your feelings and help you problem-solve any issues you face more effectively. Journaling also gives you a chance to understand yourself better.

Related: 11 Simple Strategies To Relax at Work

2. Read a book

Escape from reality by opening up a book after a long day at work. Not only can reading entertain you, but it can also reduce your stress levels and get your mind off any work-related tension. Reading may also provide other benefits, like improving your memory and increasing your attention span.

Related: How To Disconnect From Work (Plus Why It’s Important)

3. Spend time exercising

Add exercise to your weekly routine to ease anxiety and boost your mood. Consider going for a run, bike ride or a walk in your local neighborhood to get some fresh air and de-stress. If you want to multitask, listen to a podcast or your favorite music while you exercise. You can also leave your phone at home so you can focus on being present while you're exercising. If you prefer a group activity, consider joining an exercise class, which helps you meet new people in your community.

Related: 16 Tips for When You're Stressed About Work

4. Listen to your favorite music

Spend time listening to your favorite album, musician or playlist after work. Find an artist whose music resonates with you and helps you wind down. You can also opt for music that puts you in a better mood or listen to something that's relaxing enough to put you to sleep.

5. Take a warm bath or shower

Wash away any tension by taking a warm bath or hot shower after work. While warm water can help calm you, hot water from a shower can help soothe your muscles. Consider adding Epsom salts to your bath for a more relaxing experience.

6. Start meditating

Consider resetting your brain through some meditation. Meditation may lower your stress levels and decrease any anxiety from the day. Perform a few minutes of meditation and try different techniques, such as clearing your mind or focusing on your emotions.

Related: How To De-Stress at Work

7. Turn off your phone and email alerts

Improve your work-life balance by turning off your phone as soon as your shift ends. Set boundaries by leaving work at work and focusing on your home life once you end your day. Doing this can help you avoid distracting emails that may encourage you to work after hours. Staying off your phone before bed can also help you sleep better and give your eyes a break from staring at a screen all day.

Related: 12 Strategies and Tips To Improve Your Focus at Work

8. Make dessert

Many people bake desserts to help them relieve stress and unwind after a long day. Consider any recipes you want to try and plan a time to put your baking skills to good use. You can also make it a social event and invite friends over to make baked goods with you for a more enjoyable experience.

Related: 80 Examples of Enjoyable Activities To Do After Work

9. Take deep breaths

If you feel tired after a long day at work, spend a few minutes taking some deep breaths. Lengthen each breath by extending the time between your inhale and exhale. A few deep breaths can help you feel more relaxed and present.

10. Do a creative activity

Spend time crafting to help you release any negative energy and get you doing something more enjoyable. Consider knitting, painting, drawing or making jewelry after work. These activities can help you improve your creative thinking and give you an outlet to release any stress from the day.

Related: 18 Creativity Exercises To Improve Creative Thinking at Work

11. Schedule a fun activity

Think of any fun outings or activities you want to do over the weekend. Make a plan to work them into your schedule. Having something to look forward to throughout a stressful workweek can improve your mood and may help you work more productively to get to the weekend. Consider planning a weekend getaway, getting dinner or frozen yogurt with a friend, going for a pedicure or spending a day shopping with friends.

Related: 70 Examples of Passions You Can Pursue in Your Life

12. Use calming aromas

Surrounding yourself with calming aromas can positively affect your mood and help you feel more relaxed. Consider burning a candle with a soft and relaxing scent like lavender or vanilla. You can also diffuse calming essential oils like lavender, jasmine or cedarwood to help you enter a calm state more easily.

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