This blog was written in collaboration with TOVI's mental health expert, Dr. Lorena Ruci. Learn more about Dr. Ruci here.
When you’re busy, you might not have time to reflect on your thoughts and emotions. While it’s tempting to ignore, or push aside, what’s going on in your head, unresolved emotions can impact your whole life, including how you sleep, your mood, and even how productive you are at work. Taking time to unwind at the end of your day gives you a chance to hit pause and check in with yourself.
Here are 4 tips for unwinding after a long day:
1. Ask yourself what you need
Unwinding doesn’t look the same for everyone. Some people need an opportunity to express their emotions, others need quiet time. Take a few minutes at the end of a long day to see what you need to reset and prepare for the next day.
2. Turn off your electronics
If the purpose of unwinding is to decompress and reflect on a busy day, phones do the exact opposite, often causing stress and distracting us from what’s happening in our minds. Try turning off your electronic devices the next time you’re taking time to check in with yourself.
3. Try things out
There’s no “correct” way to unwind, so try out different relaxing activities to see what works for you. If your morning was a scramble, maybe you want to take time to prepare for the next day. If that doesn’t work for you, maybe journaling or listening to music will be a better fit. Unwinding is highly personal, and it’s okay to experiment to see what works for you.
4. Create space for yourself
Regardless of what you need to do to unwind, make room (in your day and in your physical space) to get it done. If you find yourself too strapped for time to take care of yourself, take a look at your normal day and consider how much of your day is spent on things you have to do. These are obligations, expectations and tasks that you cannot put aside. Then consider how much of your day is spent doing things you enjoy, or things that you want to do. These are hobbies and activities that energize you, are fun, or just get you to create a space that is solely yours.
Making time for these self-care activities will give you the opportunity to evaluate what’s really important to you and add balance to your day. Setting aside time for yourself will, in turn, make you more effective at meeting your work and family obligations.
Taking time for yourself at the end of a long day will help you balance out your day, feel more energized, and get you ready to tackle what the next day has in store.
Written by Ashley Miller-Dykeman, MA
Ashley is a science communicator and writer with a background in biology (BA, Boston University) as well as bioethics and science policy (MA, Duke University). In addition to writing for TOVI, Ashley is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and a loving dog mom.