5 ways to relax after work. Find your balance
My home is my safe place
My mornings are perhaps one of the easiest times of the day. I am surrounded by faces I love, and voices I want to hear. Home is one of the most important places in my life. Don’t get me wrong! I like going away and I appreciate lovely interiors when on holiday, but home is, by far, my most loved place.
Work can, at times, be challenging and stressful. I feel as if I was changing the world. Reality is that I do not save lives. I improve processes and… I make people’s work a bit… easier. Or so I think. But I care, and I spend a lot of energy. This is the reason why I often feel I need to recharge.
Over the time I learnt there are small things I can do to rebalance. Some of these have become a daily routine, whilst other are options I go for if I feel I need to or my time allows.
1. Leave work at work
Perhaps one of the challenges I face every day of the week. I am employed, so my work schedule is something I cannot control.
Moreover, my workload and deadlines can take over my day in the office and drain me of energy. Did I say I care about what I do? I do! From a volunteering cause to completing a work task that may change little to almost nothing in the grand scheme of things- I care. I care and I get exhausted.
So, in my attempts to leave work at work, I have developed a practice. It is more of a thinking practice that I believe I am getting better and better at.
The moment I step out of the office building, I start to think of my family (or people I am supposed to meet if I am going out for dinner and drinks with friends).
2. Walk home
I am fortunate enough not to live far away from my office. But in the past, when my journey to and from the office used to take a couple of hours, I used to choose to walk part of the route home.
Walking is one of the activities I really enjoy doing. It is a time I use to… rebalance. A couple of years ago I learnt about the way we spend our energy, and how different people and activities in our lives would take us on different thinking paths. We would either become exhausted, anxious, stressed, angry or sad. All these are a symptom of a lack of balance.
Take a walk and think of something that is in your power to control.
This is a coping mechanism I am working on. I see the day as being full of events and people that will require my time and energy. Giving more than I have often led to an imbalance. I play a thinking game: imagine you’re in the water, and you’re looking to find your equilibrium. Recreate balance by thinking of things in your power to control and disconnect from the distraction you’ve had through the day.
3. Take a warm bath / have a warm drink
I love taking a bath. It is one of those things that I often choose not to do. I justify it by saying it takes time, it is not needed, etc. But when I do block the time in my diary, get a bath foaming I like, and choose a book, I realise the difference it makes.
At times it may look like a big thing to take the time for a bath. Admittedly I do not take a bath every evening. But what I do instead is having a warm drink. After dinner, and when the boys would have had fruit, I make a warm drink and I sit on the sofa. I choose not to add any more tasks to my diary, but only to enjoy the warm drink.
Meditation is a practice I have only started doing. A few years ago, I was looking for any practice that will help me find that balance I mentioned earlier. I started exercising more often and changed my diet. Part of this wave of practices was meditation.
Because I was new to meditation I looked around for an app that will guide my practice and allow me to keep the momentum. If you have never come across headspace, I would advise you to have a look at their website- for their blog entries, but also to learn more about their sessions.
I have the headspace app on my phone – which makes meditation much easier. When I feel I need to take a break, or when I know I have to meditate, I have it all in one place- on my phone.
In the evenings, once the boys are away to their room, I go for a shower, and …10 minutes of meditation. It is the best option-time wise- for me. The house is quiet, I feel I can stop from “running around”, and 10 minutes will not feel a guilty break. This time will allow me to close a day.
5. Read/put your phone away
Take… breaks from your online life. I am a great believer that what we leave online it is part of us. We have an impact in one way or another. Commenting on our friends’ pictures on Facebook, liking a picture on Instagram, or pinning something on a Pinterest board are things we have incorporated into our day. Life online blends with our life away from our tech gadgets.
In the evenings, however, I choose to charge my phone in the kitchen- away from the living room or bedroom. Like this I know I remove the “need” and/ or the temptation to use it and get back online.
I hope this post will inspire you to try at least one of the practices above and allow time for you: time to leave the work at work, time to walk, time to take a bath, time to meditate and time to find the balance we need.