Once leaving the office, it's tempting to head home, plop down on the couch, turn on the Netflix, and just zone out; however, such a routine can lead to unhealthy patterns and decreased wellbeing. As a better alternative, healthy after work activities can be beneficial for promoting productivity, health, happiness, greater energy, and balance throughout the week. Plus, most of these actions are incredibly enjoyable and easy to implement.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on establishing healthy habits that can create balance and happiness. When your body is low in energy, fatigued, or not getting the proper movement it needs, it can lead to decreased performance and motivation in the day, especially on work tasks, advises certified healthy lifestyle coach Liz Traines over email with Bustle. If you work long hours, it can be hard to have enough time to include healthy activity post work; however, perhaps a morning gym session might be helpful, or an early bedtime so that you can get enough shut-eye. If you have enough of an evening to yourself, doing something good for your body or relaxing can boost quality of life and agility. Here are 11 things to do after work for greater health and wellbeing.
1. Head Home & Rest
While hitting a happy hour might be fun, sometimes it's nice to take a break and spend time at home, to yourself. Lynne Goldberg, certified meditation coach and co-founder of the OMG. I Can Meditate! app over email with Bustle, explains that having some "me" time can replenish energy stores. "Let yourself decompress from a human-doing to a human-being. We spend so much time at work being in active mode that it is often hard to jump off that moving treadmill," Goldberg advises.
2. Do Yoga
Dr. Lisa Ashe, Medical Director of BeWell Medical Group, suggests implementing exercise, over email with Bustle. Yoga is a great example, as it can still increase heart rate, provide endorphins, and will help work the core. It will also be relaxing and help eliminate stress, especially if it's of a restorative yoga genre. Alternate between yoga and more intense, cardio workouts for optimal balance and benefits.
3. Go Grocery Shopping
Heading to the grocery store a few times a week can be beneficial for being healthy after work, as you'll be more likely to cook nutritious meals at home, purchase proper snacks to have during the day, and be prepared for nighttime munchies, advises Traines. Traines recommends getting lean proteins, plant-based foods, fruits and vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, to cook dinners as often as possible.
4. Call A Friend
Traines also recommends making time for social interactions and suggests phoning a friend when you're on your commute home, winding down in the day, or at home following dinner. Making time to receive updates with friends and family can create closer bonds, and such intimacy boosts health and happiness. After work is a great time for catching up.
5. Get Some Vitamin D
Ashe explains that vitamin D could help boost happiness and wellbeing, as well as taking a vitamin D supplement and eating foods high in the vitamin, such as eggs and oily fish. Also, getting some sunlight outdoors could help. Ashe explains, "try to catch the sunlight even in the winter," as it "helps with mood and is a good source of vitamin D."
6. Set A Bedtime Alarm
Setting an alarm to power down for bed in the evening and sticking to it (rather than staying out too late, too often) will help you get more sleep in the week and feel refreshed in the morning. It's important to sleep enough for greater health, and aiming for 7-9 hours each night on a regular basis could keep immunity and productivity high.
7. Ditch Caffeine
Over email with Bustle, running coach and personal trainer Susie Lemmer advises to ditch coffee and other forms of caffeine when leaving work, as it will be too late in the day for the intake. Lemmer says that caffeine can mess with circadian sleep cycles, and grabbing a coffee on a commute home can keep you up past your bedtime. Instead, unwind with water or herbal tea.
8. Eat Protein
Lemmer suggests eating protein for dinner or a snack (depending on what hour you eat dinner) after leaving work, as it will fill you up and aid in muscle repair. When your muscles are strong, you're more productive and agile, so eating adequate protein in the later hours, when muscle repair is at its finest, is great for your health. Include beans, legumes, chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs, or other foods that are high in protein.
Goldberg stresses the importance of meditating after work, as it creates a space to be with yourself and collect your thoughts. "When our bodies are stressed, we release adrenaline and cortisol, therefore throwing our entire systems out of balance. Meditation is the antidote to this," says Goldberg. "As we meditate, we release feel good hormones like oxytocin, the love hormone, and serotonin, also known as the happiness hormone. Therefore, meditation reduces our stress levels enabling us to keep our systems in check and find more balance in our lives," Goldberg explains.
10. Clean Your Home
According to a study found in the American Journal of Public Health, cleaning the home on a regular basis can lead to greater health and wellbeing. Take some time to come home, turn on some upbeat music, and get your broom, duster, and laundry detergent ready for some action. Washing the sheets and towels, as well as sweeping the floor, will get rid of germs and can actually be quite relaxing.
11. Take A Bath
Taking a bath can be incredibly effective at promoting health and happiness, as well as bodily comfort, advises Lemmer. If you are especially active with workouts, baths are even more valuable, as they can improve sore muscles and provide relaxation. Take some time to sit in the tub and let the water wash over you.
If you notice that you're struggling to find solace post-work or are stuck in an unhealthy rut of drinking, fast food, long hours, and chronic fatigue, it might be wise to re-evaluate where you stand and how you can improve. Taking these steps one at a time can lead to making sustainable changes that are enjoyable and worth the effort.
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