Unwind is probably one of my favorite words. I can just feel myself melt when I think about the prospect of unwinding after a long day. Or even after a short day that was busy or stressful. Unwinding to me is a way to release the tension of the day, release any negative or intense emotions, settle in for the night and really allow yourself to move forward to the next part of your day/evening. It is a form of self-care and self-love. When you take the time to unwind, you set the foundation for a good night’s sleep, which is not only important after a long day but also important to set the stage for the next day.
The problem is, getting the time to unwind in the way you want can be difficult. If you tend to be busy all day and into the evening, it can be hard to get enough time to wind down before you need to sleep. Sometimes it’s easier to just crash when you get home. However, what happens is that the need to just crash keeps on happening. Without being able to slow down, we end up feeling rushed in every moment of our day. Like we are on a train that won’t stop. We feel disconnected from ourselves and instead, rely on weekends or days off to “catch up” on self-care. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for self-care days or really enjoying your weekend by sleeping in or resting. But you don’t want to be perpetually grasping for time to relax.
So here are five quick ways to unwind after a long day. These five things can help bring a little bit of intention into your evening and your wind-down routine, especially if you don’t have time for things you enjoy that take longer. Of course, these are dependent on whether or not you have other things to attend to like kids, pets, etc. So arrange it in a way that will work for you.
1) Shower first
This one may seem obvious, but I find that it is super helpful to jump in the shower right when you get home. If you sit down on the couch or even just put your attention elsewhere, you end up pushing your self-care further and further into the night. Showering right away also helps you slowly cleanse yourself of the energies of the day. Whether you are in a profession or job where you interact with different people all day or you’re in a job that requires more solo time, you are constantly picking up energy from your surroundings as well as feeling your own various emotions throughout the day. A shower is a nice way to relax, let your muscles enjoy the heat and also a way for you to mentally cleanse and transition into the evening. As the water drips off you, imagine your stressors going with it. Right down the drain.
2) Use essential oils
There’s nothing like a good scent to get you relaxed. I believe that involving other senses, such as smell, can really trigger your brain to relax or focus on whatever your intention is. It can pull your attention away from a stressor. If you have a diffuser, it’s nice to get that started right away. Maybe put it on wherever you will be spending your evening or even in your bedroom. If you don’t have a diffuser, there are other ways to use essential oils. You can rub a few drops on your wrist or under your chin. My favourite scent is lavender. You can put a few drops right into your shower while you get the water running to create a nice scented steam. Eucalyptus is also great for this. Here is a guide of essential oils from Wellthoughts that might help you in selecting the ones that are best for you (their favorite brand is Rocky Mountain Oils). Candles are also always an option instead of essential oils, but try to opt for ones that are soy or beeswax-based so that you aren’t releasing toxic chemicals into your space.
3) Sit and eat
Meals can be one of those things that we rush through, especially when we are always on the go. I think breakfast and lunch tend to fall culprit to this the most because we are either rushing to get to work or rushing through a meal and working at the same time. Which means dinner is a meal where slowing down should be prioritized. It’s simple really. Sit and eat. Try to focus just on what you are eating and perhaps have a conversation with whomever you live with. If you are on your own, maybe call up a friend or family member and have a little chat or throw on a podcast or music while you eat. It’s very tempting to watch TV and “numb out” while you eat. Especially after a long day. And trust me, I do this a lot myself. But trying to make dinner time more of a ritual can really help you unwind from your day rather than using food as a distraction from your day.
4) Make an herbal tea
Herbs are one of my most favourite things to use in my self-care routines. I think herbal medicine is a beautiful medicine that is so powerful and useful. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Making yourself a simple herbal infusion (tea) when you get home – either after your shower or after dinner, is such a great way to reconnect to your body and calm down your nervous system as well as your digestive system if needed. A lot of people avoid teas at night because they don’t want to have to get up at night to use the bathroom, so my trick is to have tea about 20 minutes after dinner (as long as your dinner time is not right before bed). This gives you some time before you get into bed to really enjoy your tea. My favourite post-dinner tea is lavender and chamomile. Both of these herbs can relieve digestive upset such as bloating or cramping, and both herbs are calming for the nervous system and stress-relieving. You can buy them loose-leaf or find a store blend that has both. There are other herbs such as lemon balm, ginger, fennel and holy basil that I love to use in the evenings, but finding the right blend for you can be something to chat with a holistic practitioner about. Take some time with your tea to hold it and smell the aroma. Close your eyes and breathe it in. Sip slowly and really taste the gentle flavors of the herbs. This can help you connect not only with the herbs themselves, but with your body and your heart.
5) Write in a gratitude journal
My last tip is a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal is a journal that you keep specifically for listing things that you are grateful for. At the end of your day, before you sleep the last thing you do is write down five things you are grateful for. They can be simple like: “I am grateful for my cozy bed” or can be things like “I am grateful for my intuition, or for my partner or my job, etc”. Whatever you feel grateful for that day, just write it down. There can be overlap from other days and that is more than ok. Ending your day this way is a wonderful way to shift your perspective from one of stress or hurriedness to groundedness and positivity. This takes less than 5 minutes and you don’t need to go into detail or write pages. This is just a simple list. It is there for you when you need a reminder of what you are grateful for and as a tool to bring you into the present. If you are new to journaling, this is a great place to start.
So there you go. Those are the tips I have for you! There are lots of ways to unwind, but these are a few that are simple, quick and have really worked for me in the past. To me, it is all about the little things I can do to help me feel more like myself. Reconnecting to yourself when you are constantly required to be outside of yourself, is extremely important for your physical, mental and spiritual health.
As always – sending much love to you. Wherever you are in your journey is a beautiful place. Remember that it is your journey. And I’m so glad your journey has led you here right now. xo