Even those who generally enjoy their job face stressful and trying moments. The balance between work life and well-being has become more important in a Covid-stricken world. Updating and maintaining your self-care practice can be extra difficult during stressful and trying times. This is where having a pre-set arsenal of self-care activities can come in handy. Today, Team HJG is exploring different ways to wind down after a stressful week.

1. Put On a Comfort Show: In an unpredictable world, the comfort derived from re-watching a well-loved tv show offers a sense of stability. With endless media options, we have never-ending lists of shows and movies to consume. While this can be exciting, it can also become an extra task on the to-do list. Plus, winding down usually involves a low-stress task.

Instead of searching for or debating what show/movie to watch next, consider replaying a favorite. It might boost your mood and provide a pleasant background ambiance.

2. Stretch: In an article by Harvard Health, the importance of stretching is emphasized. “Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.”

For those of us working desk jobs, stretching is especially life changing, but it’s is a simple activity that is often overlooked. If you’re hoping to start an exercising routine or become more active, stretching is an excellent place to begin. Starting small, such as setting a 5-minute timer each day, is a great way to implement a habit. Stretching assists posture, increases blood flow, and makes day to day activities simpler.

3. Try an Epsom Bath: If you have a bathtub and/or the opportunity to take a bath, try adding epsom salt. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Epsom salt is used to relax muscles and relieve pain in the shoulders, neck, back and skull. For example, by relaxing the muscles surrounding your skull, the magnesium in Epsom salt may help release a headache or migraine.”

Individuals from athletes to those seeking at-home spa treatment benefit from the healing nature of epsom salts. Some epsom salt is infused with essential oils to add to the experience. Aroma therapy is a bonus benefit of the infused salts.

*Always consult with your doctor before trying something new.*

4. Read: Reading can be a safe and fun way to enter a new world and escape reality of everyday life. Fictional stories can offer a sense of fantasy, adventure, and lessons. Non-fiction takes us into the true stories of the world. Either way, winding down with a good book can be the perfect way to step away from screens and practice presence.

If novels don’t appeal to you, try magazines, art books, or even cookbooks.

5. Plan Something to Look Forward to: Treats, both big and small are an instant mood boost. During hard times, planning something to look forward to can lift your spirits. If cooking is fun for you, plan a comfort meal to make after work. FaceTime a long-distance friend and watch a movie together. Grab a new flavor of coffee creamer.

While these things might seem asinine, the reason humans often feel stuck and like time passes so quickly is due to a lack of new experiences. Trying a new meal, hobby, date night, hairstyle, etc. all contribute to mental balance and well-being. Brainstorm ideas for your personal list and come back to this list if you need something fun to plan!

6. Do “Nothing”

Historically, we’ve lived in a culture that praises busyness. While many businesses are shifting to reprioritizing this mindset, there is still negative chatter around resting and slow living. A lot of this self-talk is based on messages we’ve received from culture, society, etc. Try reminding yourself that sleeping later, napping, and sitting to breathe are much more than “nothing.”

You are refueling and rejuvenating your mind and body. As we exist in a world with both stressful and beautiful moments, It’s okay to give yourself breaks to simply exist.  

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