We’ve all had days at work that we couldn’t wait to be done with. We spend a third of our lives at work, so it’s inevitable. Maybe you were super busy, or your boss was extra cranky – whatever the reason, you take some of that stress with you even after you’ve clocked out, especially now, during the pandemic, when the line between work and personal life is less clear.
Perhaps you think about everything you have to do the next day and ruminate over conversations that could have gone better. It’s difficult to stop thinking about these things. You wish you could just snap your fingers, and your brain would just switch settings, but it doesn’t work that way. However, it may not be able to switch instantly, but it can transition. Here are a few things you can do to make that transition smoother.
Find an End-of-Day Routine
The first thing you need is some sort of ritual to signal your brain that it’s the end of the workday and it’s time to disengage. Usually, your commute home serves this purpose, but if you work remotely, you have to find something else.
You could create your own commute by taking your dog for a walk, or it could be something simpler like straightening up your work area, turning off your monitor and going to the kitchen to make yourself a cup of tea.
Turn off Your Devices
Nowadays, many of us have acquired an unhealthy dependence on our smartphones. If it’s possible, take a break, even if it’s just for a couple of hours. If you had a hard day, it’s not a good idea to make yourself available for job-related communications. An email or a text will send you right back into the same anxious mindset you’re trying to escape. This is why so many people have separate phones for work.
You also want to avoid scrolling through your social media. By now, you might have figured out that most people post on these platforms things they believe will make their social circle jealous of them. When you’re tired and stressed out from a hard day at work, you don’t want to look at pictures of your friends going on exotic vacations.
Take a Hot Shower or a Bath
A hot shower will wash the bad day away and soothe tense muscles. When you can get your body to relax, your mind will soon follow. Try to focus on the experience and imagine that the water is washing all the negativity away.
If you enjoy long baths, take one that’s truly spa-worthy. Light up some candles, bring in the bath bombs, bath salts, face masks, body scrubs – anything you like using that makes you feel pampered. Then let yourself sink into the warm embrace of your bathtub while you listen to your favourite music and think of nothing.
Change into Comfy Clothes
After your hot shower or bath, you’ll want to change into the coziest loungewear in Canada. Actually, you may already be in your jammies if you work from home, but after a hard day, you want to go the extra mile.
Once you feel the soft fabric on your skin, your mind will naturally slip into a Zen space. It’s a way of celebrating the end of the day when you’re free of restriction, and it’s all about relaxation and comfort.
Find a Creative Outlet
Engaging in some sort of creative activity is a great way to channel unpleasant feelings you may have been carrying around with you all day. Music and painting are used in therapy precisely because they’re so effective.
But maybe you don’t know how to paint or play an instrument. In that case, you could learn or pick something else. In the end, you just need an activity that lets you improvise and express yourself. It could be writing in a journal, doodling or cooking.
Sweat It Out
Exercising is a great way to boost your mood after a difficult day. It counteracts the effects of stress, makes your body produce endorphins and is good for your overall health. If you’re angry at your boss, workers or life in general, a vigorous workout will allow you to release these negative emotions.
If you’re not used to working out, you need to build up to it. For example, you can start with 30-minute walks while listening to your favourite songs and then start jogging in intervals starting from two or three minutes. In the beginning, it may not feel particularly pleasant, but at the end of the workout, you’ll see that your disposition will be a lot sunnier. Another advantage is that exercising regularly makes you more resilient to stress, so you’ll have fewer bad days.
Spend Quality Time with Loved Ones
Taking time to enjoy the company of family and friends is another great way to change your perspective and lift your spirits. You don’t even have to talk about your troubles at work if you don’t want to. You’ll feel better simply by doing things together. You could cook dinner with your partner and then cuddle up while you watch a movie or a show. If you have kids, you could play a game with them. Kids are great at reminding you how to enjoy the simple things in life.
If, on the other hand, you would like to talk to someone about your day, we all know a few people that seem to always find a way to make us feel better when we’re down. See if you can reach out to one of them. Tell them that you’ve had a bad day and ask if you could vent for a bit. It will make you feel better, and you might also get some helpful advice.
Remember That What You’re Feeling Is Temporary
Some days are better than others. When you’re having a bad day, it will affect your mood. That’s normal. Good days also affect your mood. However, when we feel stressed out, overwhelmed or irritable, we often think that it’s going to last forever. These feelings are intense, and we become so immersed in them that we forget we had other days like these in the past, and we survived – that those bad days were followed by good days that made us happy. Life has ups and downs. It’s a cliché because it’s true.
We’re not trying to say that you should ignore your feelings—quite the contrary. Taking the time to acknowledge them and figuring out what caused them will help you understand yourself better.