You get home from a long work day and feel the fatigue hit you when you walk in the door. You had hoped to go for a run, check out that yoga class, or meet a friend for dinner but you are just…. so…. tired. The only thing that sounds good is hitting the couch and ordering up delivery. Its just too easy to put on your pjs and cancel everything, who cares if its only 7pm?
Sound familiar? You are not alone. We all struggle with that “5 o clock somewhere” exhaustion. This often leads us to look for relaxation in sources that have a “numbing” sensation. A few cocktails, real housewives episodes, or snack foods later we are ready for bed, without ever REALLY relaxing or renewing our energy from a long work day.
Heres the irony in it all : the less you do, the less energy you are going to have. The more you do the more energy you are going to have. Its just like exercise. The more you exercise, the more energy you have; the less you exercise, the less energy you have. Intuitively, we know this is true, but it can be hard to put into practice, especially after a stressful work day.
What can you do if you don’t want to spend ALL of your nights with the remote, the couch, and the television? Here are my suggestions for ways you can shake off post-work fatigue and transition into your evening with energy for a personal life beyond the T.V.
Work to Life Transitions. Strategies to Prevent 5 O Clock Exhaustion from sidelining your life.
- Have a healthy, stress busting ritual you put between work and the rest of your night. Plan ahead and prepare something RELAXING you can do just for you immediately when you get home from work. Take a hot bath, do ten minutes of yoga, get outside and go for a walk, the options are endless. Get creative and personalize a few feel-good transitions that work for you.
- Unplug for 10-20 minutes (or more). Put your work phone, email, or to-do list away for a set “digital detox”. Set a timer if you need to, but make it uninterrupted YOU time. Even if it is a 5 minute seated breathing exercise, any time you take to unplug will help you feel more grounded (and less likely to dive head first into a bottle of wine) when you get home.
- Head to the gym, a workout class, a run club, or a sports practice straight from work. Pack all your clothes, a water bottle, and a healthy snack in your gym bag to bring with you so you don’t have to run home and get anything. Movement is medicine. Exercise might not sound enticing after a long work day, but is always a good decision. Think of how good you’ll feel after a workout, let this motivate you to follow through with your exercise plans no matter how drained you feel from your work. Even a short workout session will help clear your mind and restore your energy.
- Make healthy dinner plans with your friends or loved ones. Friends don’t let friends eat dinner in front of the iPhone. Make the dinner table a no-tech zone and engage in real, quality conversation with those you love. You’ll get to 1. unplug from work and 2. create meaningful relationships over a healthy meal. This is much healthier and happier for you than multitasking mindlessly while eating. Break the habit of reading work emails or watching reruns while you eat. Focusing on what you’re putting into your mouth can help you slow down and really pay attention to the task at hand. Enjoy it, savor it, and your mindfulness will help you digest well, feel full, and appreciate every bite.
- Walk or bike ride as your commute to work. This can be a great way to get fresh air and create a buffer between work and home.
- Get OUTSIDE. Do you have a beautiful, open space where you can walk? A track? A path? A loop that you enjoy that gives you energy, that makes you feel good, and gets you out in nature? Take a detour after work to a park, beach, bridge, ANYWHERE outdoors that allows you to exhale.
- Pay in advance and sign up for a workout class, session with a personal trainer, or hobby class (cooking, art, etc) after work. When you have paid and registered you are much more likely to show up for yourself.
- Make a phone date with a good friend. Schedule a call with someone you love for after work. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will. Make time for the people who make your life meaningful and allow this time to help you decompress from your day.
- Don’t let alcohol be your transition. Many adults get in the habit of having a drink after work, to relax and take a load off. Find a healthy replacement for the after-work drink. Develop non-drinking means of relaxation. Build awareness into your habits when it comes to alcohol. If you feel you need it to relax, think about other activities that are relaxing and enjoyable to you – working out, taking a walk outside, listening to music, reading, etc – and schedule those into your life as a means of unwinding instead of looking for stress relief in a drink.
- Don’t use food as your transition either! It can become a habit to hit the appetizers right when you walk in the door…. adding up to hundreds of calories and you haven’t even had dinner. Have a light snack if you are REALLY hungry. If you are not physically hungry and are eating to get rid of the work day, go do something to help clear the stress that doesn’t involve emotional eating. Food is not a fix.
- Put on some music that you love. Whatever tunes you need to feel some relief from a long day – turn up the volume and sing along if it helps you blow off steam.
- Do a quick youtube stretch or foam rolling video. Its easy, free, and works with your schedule. Make a pinterest board of your favorite go-to videos so all you’ll have to do is press play when you walk in the door. Here is one of my personal favorite end of day stretching routines:
Whats one healthy way you transition from a busy work day to a relaxing evening? Leave me a comment below with your favorite way to ease into your evening.
Its always going to be a challenge to move your mind from a busy work day to a present and positive personal life. I believe if you build the habit of healthy transitions from one world to the next you’ll be enjoying much more than Real Housewives. You’ll be living a more balanced, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Bottom line: You must make time for yourself at the end of your workday. You’ll feel better, sleep better, and LIVE better with healthy downtime just for YOU. And isn’t that whats life all about? LIVE WELL – lets make this one life COUNT!
Yours in happiness,
Other Things to Check Out This Week:
- Follow Me on TWITTER!
- How I got my butt back. The surprising injury that taught me how to move again. Wake Up and RUN. 9 minute hotel room warm up workout video
- Health is not a number. Why the scale lies.
- Caroline’s Anytime, Anywhere, Total Body Exercises