Nine to five, those infamous hours that a large majority of Americans spend at a job. 40 hours, five days a week, is a minimum for numerous people. Many jobs require even more, and if you are an exempt employee, you most likely do not get paid for overtime. So, where is the balance in all of this?
Five or six days a week working, with one or two days off, can easily create an imbalanced life. The problem is, during the off days, you have to fit everything in that you could not do during the work week. This includes running errands, cleaning the house, and maybe a little recreation if there is time.
When Monday morning rolls around, people often feel like, “Is this all there is to life?” This is an all too common cycle for many Americans, and unless you find a balance, it can leave you stressed, burned out, and even ill.
After a Long Hard Day
Even though most of us have to work, there are some simple ways to unwind after a long day at work.
When you come home from work shed the confining clothes and slip into something comfortable.
If you work in a corporate environment – men, pull off those ties, cuff links, stuffy suits, and button down shirts; and, women, kick off those heels and stockings. If you work in construction, or on a job where you are on your feet all day like sales, run a tub of hot water with aromatherapy oils or some good old-fashioned Epsom Salts.
If you have a significant other, try setting up a romantic, candlelight dinner date at home. Alternatively receiving a massage can be a great way to relieve muscle tension and fill your body with helpful endorphins. There’s no need to visit a professional masseur if you don’t have the time or inclination – try encouraging your partner to learn some basic massage techniques or invest in a low cost massage chair.
Some people enjoy spending time in the kitchen and unwind by cooking and baking. Cook meals that you can freeze and the family can take for lunch. This is especially good for parents who even though they like cooking, do not want to do it everyday. It frees up time for the rest of the week while providing a stress reliever for those who enjoy cooking.
“Wind downs” during the work week are popular in some cities. These events take place in the spring and summer. People get together in the park after work and bring lawn chairs, blankets and coolers. Live entertainment or movies are provided for everyone to enjoy. If you do not want to go straight home from work, and just want a place where you can mingle and be entertained until the sun goes down, this event is quite popular.
After you have shed those work clothes, put on some jogging pants or shorts and go for a walk by the lake, or run and release the tensions of the day through exercise. Not only is it healthy for your heart, but there is nothing like getting outdoors and communing with nature.
During nice weather, take a book or magazine and read outside on the deck or by the pool, or just sit and people watch. If it is cold outside, take your book and snuggle up by the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate and a few marshmallows.
Sit and enjoy a nice hot cup of tea. Such a simple thing, but extremely enjoyable.
Once you leave work, make sure you leave work at work! Do not bring the stress of the day home with you. This is your time and you should value it.
Chores will always await you, so let them wait. Plan your chores and stick to the plan. When you come home and see the laundry waiting to be washed, or the floor that needs vacuuming, remember that you planned to do it on Saturday morning, and don’t let it bother you. Watch the sunset and know that the world won’t end because you didn’t do your laundry or vacuum the carpet after work.
Create a vision board of all the things you would like to do in life. Put the board where it is visible. Reflect on it. You will be surprised at the creative ideas that pop up when you are in a relaxed state of mind.
Don’t Feel Guilty
These are just a few simple suggestions for healthy ways to unwind after work. The main thing is that you should come home and take time for yourself without feeling guilty. Never feel bad about taking time for yourself. It’s important as a matter of fact, it’s a priority!!!
Consuming your life with work is unhealthy because there is no balance. More and more we hear stories of people who are trading in high salaries to live simpler lives, and surprisingly they seem much happier.
The stress of no balance is too high a price to pay. Yes, making money is important, but not as important as taking care of your health so that you can enjoy life and some of the things that money can bring about.
Make your own list and put it to use. Most times you probably feel like just coming home, plopping down on the sofa and taking a nap. That’s ok too sometimes. But frequently if you switch gears and do something that you like or that relaxes you, your body will be re-energized. Then when it is time to go to sleep, you will have a restful night having released some of the day’s stress.