It’s tempting to end a long day at work by perusing Facebook or popping on the tube. But truth be told, those are some of the worst ways to genuinely unwind. All they do is mind-numbingly waste away your evening without a second thought.
Instead of warping to bedtime through mindless online activity or binge-watching, consider these more positive methods that can help you unwind and improve your mental health during your leisure time.
1. Flee From Your Phone
First and foremost, if you’re looking for ways to unwind at the end of the day, you need to proactively turn off those gadgets. Simply telling yourself that you’re going to stop checking your phone until tomorrow is a fool’s errand. If you’re one of the 80% of people who use their phone before sleeping, you likely need to fight that phone addiction with some firepower.
Let’s just be honest – the current social and political discourse in countries across the world has meant our phones keep bombarding us with disconcerting news and opinion pieces. There is not telling how far that goes to affect our mental health.
Try turning “Do Not Disturb” on or using something like Apple’s Screen Time feature in order to limit your phone usage in the evening. Also, consider leaving your phones and tablets in another room or even locked up in order to remove the temptation to check it a dozen times before you turn out the lights.
2. Plan a Trip
Traveling is well known for its many health benefits. Sure, it can be expensive and planning the logistics can feel overwhelming, but if you take the time to set up a trip, the positives will quickly outweigh the challenges.
Traveling, whether you’re heading to the next town to visit a relative or across the Atlantic to see Europe, can create a host of good results for your mental state, including:
- Bringing a sense of relief as you tune out from your everyday stresses.
- Helping to fight depression.
- Providing a natural boost to your happiness.
If you’re looking for a chance to truly unwind and let your mind heal for a bit, traveling is an excellent option.
3. Turn to the Oils
Of course, most of the time when you feel the need to unwind, you won’t be able to pack your bags and book a ticket for a resort in the Bahamas. If you find that you need a source of mental relief a little bit closer to home, consider integrating essential oils into your daily routine.
Some lavender essential oil and a diffuser can be a great way to prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep.
4. Get Focused
It may sound counter-intuitive to “focus” on unwinding, but there are certain activities that can help you do just that. If you find that you struggle to truly relax at the end of a busy day, try implementing some of these mind-focusing activities to ultimately help you “unfocus” from the normal daily stresses and distractions.
- Practicing mindfulness is a mindset that can take a bit of work to get used to. It can be very beneficial to regularly take the time to practice this ability to focus on the here and now.
- Meditating and praying can be an excellent way to disconnect from the details and tune into the bigger picture.
- Making a thankful list is a great way to boost your mental health. Think of everything you’re grateful for and write it down. Then do it again the next day and again the day after that…
- Fostering an attitude of gratitude is an excellent way to promote healthy thought patterns.
5. Don’t Over Plan Your Downtime
The best way to properly unplug isn’t by over planning. In fact, it’s just the opposite. If you don’t allow yourself to slow down while you’re trying to unwind, you’re going to miss out on many of the best benefits of truly letting yourself relax at the end of the day.
When asked how to properly unplug, successful people have pointed out that some of the key factors include keeping things simple and stress-free. In fact, they even go so far as to say that sometimes the best plan is to plan to do nothing at all.
It may seem odd and even intimidating at times to plan to do nothing. After all, in these days of information overload, there’s always something to read, watch, or observe. However, giving yourself a chance to genuinely disconnect and slow down can be one of the best ways to let your mind rest and heal — and one of the best ways to do that is by literally planning to do nothing.
Taking Back Your Downtime
From taking a trip to literally doing nothing, there are plenty of ways to slow down and truly relax during your downtime. The important thing is that you make an effort to reclaim your time from soul-sucking activities such as perusing social media or watching three seasons in a row of a show you don’t even like. Take command of your free time, schedule in deliberately relaxing activities, and allow yourself to reap the benefits of truly unwinding at the end of each day.
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