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How to Relax After a Stressful Day

Strategies and Tips for Reducing Stress

By Karol Krol

Updated June 26, 2014

Frustrated woman paying bills
Tom Merton/Caiaimage/Getty Images

I love stress, don't you? Umm wait a minute. This is not how I'm supposed to start an article on dealing with a stressful day, is it? But anyway, at least I'm honest. I actually do enjoy stress, but not the bad kind of stress (the stress that makes you afraid for your life or something). I'm talking about the good stress. The stress that forces you to reach even better performance and grow at whatever you're doing, no matter if we're talking your professional life or just a hobby. So, when the day is done it's time to have some ol' fashioned relaxation. But as it turns out, many people have problems truly relaxing after a stressful day and recharging their batteries before the next day. Many of us just watch some TV, eat a fast-food dinner, and go to bed still stressed out. Essentially, this is what I was doing a couple of years ago, before I turned my conscious attention towards relaxation and getting over a stressful day.

Stress is everywhere. This is just the nature of the world of today. Our careers, our personal lives, our relationships, our hobbies, and everything else runs so quickly that having a day that doesn't bring any stress whatsoever is rare these days. I'm only saying this to indicate that we simply need to get used to stress if we want to achieve anything in our lives.

The message I have for you isn't about how to fight stress, or how to make it less stressful. On the contrary, we should embrace stress, learn how to live with it, and how to use it for our growth. Only when we don't look at stress negatively will we be able to truly relax in the evening.

Reviewing - The best way of getting your mind free and not focusing on the stressful stuff is to simply review what has happen throughout the day. This is something you can even do in your head. There's no need to write it down unless you prefer it that way. Go through every issue, task, or matter you've tackled during the day. Try to think of the things that could have happened had you acted differently. Look for the good and bad sides, and try to reach some conclusions you can use in the future to handle similar matters more effectively. Such review is a very valuable activity. It allows you to look at your day with a fresh pair of eyes, get some awareness, and often come to very interesting revelations.

Plan - Once you've got your conclusions you can start creating a stress management plan for the next day. Of course, it doesn't have to be complicated. Just creating a simple list of things to handle is enough. Apart from the plan, you can also come up with some guidelines. For instance, if today you've lost three hours responding to email then you can set a guideline that states something like "don't check email more than twice a day." Both the review and planning process lets you leave a stressful day behind and move on to new challenges waiting in the future.

Talk It Over - Dealing with a stressful day in solitude can be tough. Even if you're an introvert, reaching out to a trusted person and simply talking about your day can help a lot. Now, when you talk about your stressful situation to someone you trust, you can get an outside opinion from a therapist, which can sometimes be game changing. And even if it isn't, you'll still feel a lot better being able to share your experiences with another person.

Relax by Changing Your Activity - Picture this, if you've been working out for two hours straight, then you can't relax by going on a treadmill. You need to sit down and maybe read something. On the other hand, if you've just written three articles in a row then you can't relax by reading a book, you're way better off going to the gym. The idea is simple, if you've been doing something physical, you may be able to relax more effectively by switching to a mostly intellectual or emotional activity, and so on. Some examples of emotional activities include: going out and meeting your friends, cooking something tasty, drinking a beer, playing a video game, or listening to music.

Have a Standard Activity - The final method of relaxation after a stressful day I have for you is to pick a default go-to activity that always makes you feel relaxed. The concept of switching your activity, as discussed above, is very effective, but sometimes you just don't feel like doing anything specific. For example, this won't work if you're really tired and you're in no shape to hit the gym, or if you choose to go out with your friends only to be the quiet person. This is where your default standard relaxation activity comes into play. Think about it for a minute, I'm sure there's something you can do that will help you to relax no matter what. My favorite activities include getting a hot bath or a massage. These work every single time, no matter how stressed I am.

Should you develop a complex method of dealing with stress? In my opinion, there's no point in developing any complex methods because it only makes the problem worse. Having an approach is okay. But having a whole system is too much. After all, stress is a natural part of life when you think about it. It's just our body's way of telling us that we need to step up our game.

About the author: Karol Krol is a freelance blogger and writer. Currently, he provides blogging advice to real estate business owners, and provides publicity for Fort Worth real estate.

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