Integrative Nutrition Blog
Have a Better Day Series: Simple Ways to De-stress in the Evening
This is the last post in our new series dedicated to helping you have a better, more productive, and healthy day. Check out a simpler approach to your morning routine and 5 quick ways to rev up your afternoon energy to start your day off right, and read on for ways to unwind at the end of the day!
Just like there are rhythms in nature with changing seasons and cycles of day and night, our bodies are wired to flow right alongside these shifts in energy.
While mornings are a good time for fitness because your natural energy levels are high at the start of a new day, evenings are a time to wind down, relax, and let go of any stress that may have come up throughout the day. Doing so regularly will help you avoid some of the health complications that can result from chronic stress, such as infections, high blood pressure, and mental or physical exhaustion.
Try these relaxing activities in the evening to de-stress and prepare for a restful night’s sleep:
1. Do something that connects your mind and body.
Busy days can lead to overactive minds filled with thoughts, worries, or even too many ideas that overwhelm instead of inspire. One way to quiet that active mind is by bringing your awareness to your physical body. You may not always have time for a full-length restorative yoga session, but how about rubbing your feet with scented oil for 3 minutes, doing some gentle stretching for 5 minutes, or a 10-minute meditation? This is a great way to settle yourself back into a state of calm no matter how stressful your day may have been.
2. Avoid screens at least an hour before bed.
Using light-emitting technology in the evening has been shown to negatively affect sleep patterns and next day alertness. Try to wrap up your consumption of digital information an hour before bedtime, and then switch to other tech-free activities. It might be a challenge at first if you’re used to being plugged in right up until bed-time, but after a few days of adjusting you’ll start to notice a difference in your quality of sleep and energy levels during the day as well.
3. Engage your creative side.
Evenings are a great time for creative activities like journaling or sketching, knitting, crafts, or playing a song on that guitar that’s been collecting dust in the corner. If your creative activity requires the use of technology, you can still aim to unplug by 8pm and then use that creative brain of yours to see what tech-free things you can do to support your overall creativity or inspire yourself offline. Doing this regularly will also put you in the habit of not letting your creative pursuits fall by the wayside, thereby nurturing your heart and soul with much needed primary food.
4. Enjoy herbal tea and a good book.
C.S. Lewis is quoted as saying “you can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me” and we couldn’t agree more! Herbal tea such as chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, Tulsi, or peppermint are all considered “relaxants” as they help to soothe the nervous system, and the act of drinking a warm liquid only adds to the calming effect. Pair that with a book that entertains or inspires you and you’re looking at the perfect cozy evening activity.
5. Connect with a friend or family member.
It’s incredible how quickly time flies and you realize you haven’t connected with the people who matter most in a long while. The ones we love have an incredible way of soothing our spirits, opening our hearts, and making us feel happy. All those positive emotions will help eliminate stress and leave you much more at ease at the end of the day. Whether it’s a personal visit, a phone call, or a heartfelt letter, the important thing is to make contact with someone you care about.
The most important thing to do at the end of the day? Sleep!
Your body does major maintenance work while you’re sleeping, such as storing long-term memories, detoxifying, and repairing tissue damage. Far from doing “nothing,” sleep is one of your most important forms of holistic healing and shouldn’t be cut short.
How do you de-stress in the evenings? Share in the comments below!