11 Healthy After Work Habits To Try Instead Of Sitting On The Couch All Night
After a long day at work, it's tempting to come home and head straight for the couch. Although everyone deserves some much-needed rest, it's important to pick up healthy habits to do after work to keep your mental and physical health at its best. Many people work all day and don't have time for physical activity or to let their minds relax, so after work is an ideal time to do a few healthy things for yourself.
"Whether you love it or hate it, work is a groove you get into, and transitioning to home life is crucial," says relationship expert April Masini over email. "If you don’t transition, you can bring your work problems, stresses and energy into the house where there’s already a set dynamic going on. This can be disruptive to your relationships and to your intra-relationship with yourself."
Whether you're someone who likes to make a lot of plans after work or you just enjoy coming home to some peace and quiet, there are a number of activities you can do that not only help improve your health, but can be enjoyable and stress-relieving as well. Instead of instantly checking out for the evening, consider adapting one of these 11 healthy after-work habits to help you stay on track with your overall wellness goals.
1. Spend Some Time Outside
You've likely been cooped up all day, and spending some time outside can help relieve some of your tension and reduce stress. Take a stroll around your block or skip public transportation and walk home. "Research suggests that being outdoors improves both mood and energy levels," says Darin Hulslander, owner of DNS Performance and Nutrition, LLC to Bustle over email. What more perfect time than right after work? This can also help with being more productive once you get home from work as well.
2. Work Out
I probably didn't have to tell you, but exercising after work is always a good option. "Heading straight to the gym after work takes away the temptation of going home and being inactive and unproductive," says Blake. "Pack your workout clothes in the morning and take them to work with you. No time for the gym? Download some quick workout videos or take a walk outside."
3. Get Cooking
Most of us are hungry by the end of our work day, and although it can be tempting to grab some to-go food on your way home, cooking food at home might be the healthier choice. Not only is cooking a great way to unwind, but research shows that people who frequently cook at home eat healthier than those who don't, according to Johns Hopkins University.
4. Drink A Glass Of Water
Staying hydrated daily is important, for your energy levels, your digestion, your mood, and more, according to multiple studies. It's easy to forget to drink water when you're caught up in your work tasks, so enjoy a nice tall glass when you get home.
5. Keep A Gratitude Journal
Many people come home stressed and cranky after work, and it can be hard to keep a good attitude after a grueling workday. Take a little bit of time to jot down what you're grateful for, and you'd be surprised to see how much of an impact it can have. Regularly expressing gratitude is linked to greater happiness, improved physical health, stronger relationships, and lower stress, according to Harvard University.
6. Get Together With A Friend
"Drinks or a meal with friends is a great after work ritual," says Masini. Not only does making plans give you something to look forward to, but it can help add some variety to your day. "Meeting a friend for a glass of wine or a beer after work creates empathy, support and bonding — all of which are great ways for you to leave your work dynamics behind, and allow you to head home with a clear head and heart."
7. Briefly Disconnect From Technology
A day at work usually means a ton of emails, texts, and phone calls, so it can be beneficial to unplug from everything for a mental break. "Shut off your phone and other devices," says health and wellness coach Nicole Granato to Bustle over email. "Take some time to shut out of the work world and unwind."
Once you leave the office, your stress should leave with you, but if you find it lingering long after you've arrived home, consider a brief meditation. "A quick yoga sequence, meditation, or even holding a child's pose always helps me destress after a long day," says Amanda Riches, Yoga Teacher from Namaste TV, over email. "Giving yourself as little as 15 minutes of just unplugging and listening to your body does wonders for your focus and mood."
9. Meal Prep
"If you prepare for your meals the following day, you are more likely to make healthier choices," says Hulsander. "It forces you to commit to healthier eating, and over the course of weeks, months, etc., and you will notice a more healthier, leaner self by doing this simple habit."
10. Plan Ahead
Mornings can be difficult, so make sure you have everything you need packed and ready to go so you're not rushing around like crazy the next morning. "Before slipping off to sleep, I make sure the coffee is ready, lunch is prepped, my gym clothes are packed, and I've laid out my clothes for the next day," says Rebecca Lewis, in-house RD at HelloFresh over email. This can help relieve stress and let you fall asleep without making lists your head.
11. Prioritize Sleep
"About an hour before bed time, I start turning off lights," says Lewis. "I turn off my computer and other electronic devices, and phone time is cut off within 30 minutes of sleeping." Adapting healthy habits before bedtime can help you fall asleep faster, sleep better, and wake up more refreshed, which can only help kickstart more healthy habits for the following day.
At the end of the day, you need time to wind down, so focus on your energizing activities first, and then work to unwind and get yourself calm and ready for bed.
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