Have you ever struggled knowing how to relax at the end of the day?
I know I have.
And when you run your own business like I do, the lines between your personal life and work become incredibly blurred. It’s hard to switch off, and you feel guilty when you finally do.
Because there’s this idea running around in disguise as “hustle.” The idea that if you don’t work to the point of exhaustion, you don’t want it enough, and you won’t be successful.
But the eventual outcome from living and working this way is burnout. Exhaustion. And overwhelm.
Your creative well will run dry. You’ll become disconnected from the heart of your job or your business, and why you’re doing it. Chances are, you won’t be having much fun.
And although it has taken me years to realise this, I think having fun is the whole point. We are here on this earth to play. To explore, and create, and make magic.
At times, your job or your business will be challenging and frustrating, and your days might be long. But if that’s all your experiencing every day, then something has gone wrong somewhere along the way.
So please, don’t feel guilty about switching off, and calling it a day when it feels right for you. There will always be something left on your to-do list, but it can wait.
Really, it can. The world won’t end, I promise.
Here’s how to relax at the end of the day when you need to unwind, de-stress, and nourish your mind, body & soul
1. Do some yoga
I’ve been practising physical yoga (asanas) for over a decade now, and no matter how stressed I feel when I step onto the mat, I always feel incredible by the time I step off.
Yoga is a beautiful way to reconnect with your body, ground and centre yourself, and be in the moment.
I love Alo Moves right now, because there’s a wide variety of classes and intensity levels to choose from, depending on how you feel. And you can workout from the comfort of your home.
At the end of the day, I tend to favour yin and restorative practices, because they’re really relaxing and soothing.
If you haven’t yet given yoga a try, I invite you to try a beginners session. Don’t worry about not being flexible enough, or looking the part. The whole point of yoga is that you become more flexible and in shape the more you do it.
2. Take a bath
I’ve only gotten into baths in a big way in the past six months, but they have changed my life!
I love the ritual of running the water, pouring in some rose petals and salts, lighting a candle, putting on some relaxing music; then enjoying being held and immersed in the water for as long as I like.
At first, I really struggled to just sit there and do nothing. But it’s this act that helps calm your mind, and teaches you the art of relaxation.
Having a bath is a beautiful way to signal the end of the working day to yourself, and slip into restoration.
When you do have a bath, try and make it as indulgent and spa-like as possible. Light candles, use bath salts, scatter flowers around, and invest in some fluffy towels and a bath robe for yourself for after.
Meditating for at least ten minutes is how I start my morning ritual. But meditation is a wonderful tool you can use at any time of the day, whenever you need to take a moment, be present in the now, and just breathe.
There are many guided meditation apps and YouTube channels that have a range of meditations to choose from, depending on what vibration you want to focus on. But generally, all types of meditation will help you to relax, because they centre on moving your mind away from that constant stream of thoughts, and into the now.
Most of the time, I’ll put on an un-guided meditation track or playlist on Spotify, and just focus on grounding myself, and bringing attention to my breath.
Allow the day to melt away. Anything that is causing you anxiety or stress does not exist in this moment, right here, right now.
How to relax at the end of the day begins with your intention. If your intention is to let go of the day, and be at peace, you’ll find it much easier to get there.
4. Go for a run
About seven years ago, I signed myself up to run my first (and last) half marathon. I have never been a runner, so I had to mentally and physically prepare myself for it, and start running a lot.
At times it was really tough, but I did grow to enjoy going for a run. There’s something really freeing and liberating about having the wind in your hair, listening to some motivating music beating in your ears, and being at one with the earth as your feet pound the pavement.
And it was a brilliant way to release any stress or tension that had built up in the day, and get it all out of me.
If you’re more of an energetic person, you’ll probably prefer going for a run than doing some yoga, but it’s good to mix things up and give your body a range of movement.
And you might feel like doing different things depending on the mood you’re in, and what your body is craving. Trust your intuition on this, and give yourself what you need today.
5. Read a fiction book
I’ve always loved reading fiction books since I was a child. But when I was about 24, I started reading more and more non-fiction, and totally gave up story books.
What I loved about it was I was able to learn so much from reading one book, which would help me grow in personal life, and then later in my business, too.
But it got to a point where I was mindlessly consuming copious amounts of information, and other people’s ideas. And it wasn’t helping me relax in the slightest.
It took me a while to get back to a place where I didn’t feel guilty for spending an hour reading a story book, but eventually I got there. And now, it’s back to being one of my favourite ways to unwind before I go to bed.
6. How to relax at the end of the day: Write a list
At the end of the day, write a list of anything that’s stressing you out, or anything you need to do tomorrow/this week/this month.
This will help you to stop fretting about anything that needs your attention, and allow you to think about other things. Like being in the moment playing with your kids, enjoying a nice evening meal, or even having sex.
Better still, here’s how to relax at the end of the day: write a celebration list.
A list of all the things you accomplished today, and should be celebrating. Write about what went amazingly well, and what made you smile. What you were most proud of, and why today was a great day.
Because when you focus on what you haven’t done, it puts you in a mindset of lack and guilt. But when you focus on what you have done, it helps you feel good and successful; and this leads to even more positive vibes and success.
7. Go for a swim
If you’re a water baby like me, then there’s something about being in water that will soothe and nourish your soul in a way you can’t quite explain.
And even if you don’t love the water, being in it is so relaxing. I urge you to try it and see how you feel. And swimming is one of the best forms of exercise there is, because it’s very low-impact on your muscles and joints (unlike running).
I didn’t swim for years because I hated the idea of undressing, getting completely wet, and then having to get dressed again and dry my hair. But it’s totally worth it. These days, I find myself craving a swim if I haven’t had one for a while.
8. Slip into something comfy
I love nothing more than taking my “work” clothes off at the end of the day, having a bath or shower, and slipping into my comfy clothes. Sometimes it’s leggings and a sweatshirt, other times it’s a jersey play-suit, a long flannel shirt, or even some pyjamas.
I’ll also take my jewellery and make-up off, and this ritual is kind of like me washing the day off, and signalling to myself that it’s time for play and relaxation. Sometimes your mind needs these subtle cues and differences, so it can distinguish between work and play.
Plus, dressing in soft, cosy, comfortable clothing helps your body feel softer, and more at ease.
This is why I still get dressed for work, even though I work at home. Because it helps me feel in work mode when I’m working, and then I’m able to enjoy the contrast of slipping into something comfy when I’m ready to switch off for the day.
9. Give yourself permission to relax
Personally, one of the most challenging parts of learning how to relax at the end of the day for me has been the guilt I’ve felt.
The guilt of knowing there’s so much still to do, that little voice saying you should work harder if you really want to be a success, and not wanting to let yourself, or anyone else, down.
This guilt only appeared for me when I started my own business, but for other people it still shows up when they’re working for someone else. And I’ve noticed that this kind of guilt is something that tends to affect women more often than men.
We have a tendency to focus on what we haven’t done, and beat ourselves up for it. We struggle to switch off, and when we do finally manage to leave work behind, many of us then have to switch on again at home and show up as a mother to our kids.
This is because we’re taught that we should be able to do it all. We should be able to balance a hectic career with a family, and not drop the ball at any point. We should have perfected the art of balancing being an employee, a business owner, a wife, a daughter, and a mother all at once.
The truth is, it’s fucking hard. And no one is perfect. Not even the people who appear to have it all figured out.
There will always be things that don’t get done. And there will always be more left to do at the end of the day. At some point, you have to just give yourself permission to call it a day, and relax.
Because you need that rest and nourishment to be able to function at your best, and show up as the best version of yourself in your work and at home.
So my invite to you, is to give yourself permission to relax. Because you deserve to. We all do.