How do you transition to your ‘work self’ to your ‘home self?’
You may work at a company that encourages you to bring your authentic self to work. I do (hi Shopify) and I really appreciate it. Though I’ll be real, my TRULY AUTHENTIC self wears a pink housecoat and fluffy slippers at every possible moment (which I don’t think will cut it in the workplace).
So when I get home after a work-day, I need rituals to embrace closing the laptop and hitting pause on productivity.
If you’re anything like me, you find a glass of wine or can or two of beer to be a convenient way to relaaaaaax at the end of a long day.
If you’re also anything like me, you recognize drinking alcohol daily isn’t a habit you’re particularly proud of (or is healthy or helpful in any way).
So at the start of 2019, I quit drinking (again) and don’t plan on starting back up. I’m actively working on identity-based habits and shifting my identity to ‘not a drinker.’
One of the biggest challenges I face with quitting alcohol, is the triggers to drink such as transitioning from work to home life. So I’ve been testing out different ways to relax after work without alcohol and I’d love to share them with you in case you’re also abstaining from alcohol. (NOTE: It doesn’t necessarily have to be alcohol that you use to relax. Perhaps you want to abstain from weed, sugar, Netflix, etc. These tips can help you if you’re working through any habit you want to quit).
OVERALL: I’ve found the first important step to relaxing is to be conscious of how you feel when you walk in the door.
Are you stressed?
Happy as a clam?
The below tips are really helpful if you’re feeling more of the less socially acceptable emotions anxiety, anger and burnout.
Without further adieu, here are seven ways to relax after work (without alcohol):
ENERGY LEVEL/EMOTIONS: High energy, anxious, angry, too energized
Marie Kondo Your Existence.
Type A personalities will get it. We relax by finding a way to be productive. We’re weirdo’s and I fully embrace this. There’s nothing like relaxing by learning a new skill. When Marie’s new show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo came out on Netflix, you best believe I was watching and purging with the best of ‘em. If you are hopped up on caffeine or adrenaline, giving yourself something productive to do that does not involve a laptop or a screen is highly energizing and dare I say relaxing. You can add bonus points if you listen to a podcast that eases you out of the day while you’re getting rid of everything that doesn’t spark joy. Two of my fave podcasts right now are Chivon John’s Filtered Perceptions and 10% Happier by Dan Harris.
A few years ago, I took a 6 week class focused on bioenergetics (energy flow), breathwork, emotional expression and boundaries. I’m just going to call this Anger Management 101. One of the exercises we did (that made me super uncomfortable at first) was grabbing a baseball bat and hitting a giant square cushion as hard as we could (in front of the class). We were also asked to yell and scream if we wanted to. I wanted to die of embarrassment. As someone who likes to keep her anger/emotions to herself, this was incredibly hard. Though I’m also open minded and came to the class for help, so I went all in. As it turns out, it is truly cathartic to smash and/or punch inanimate objects. You could do this at home with the ol’ punch or scream into a pillow method (ensuring the door is closed behind you so your roommate/partner isn’t freaked out).
Create an ‘EXHALE’ Spotify playlist to move to.
What songs can you listen to that make you feel like you can exhale? Maybe it’s super peaceful songs or maybe it’s some RAAAAAGE jams. I create different Spotify playlists for different experiences. Music is magic at helping you shake off a day where you felt like you were in a rut. The goal is here to start with songs that meet you at your energy level, and ease into more chill songs.
ENERGY LEVEL/EMOTIONS: Low energy, feeling exhausted, burned out, bored, irritated
Take a 20 Minute nap.
You may be thinking, ‘Gwen…if I take a nap, how will I be able to sleep at night?” I hear you, and yes this may take some practice. Taking a nap is one of my favourite tools in the ol’ tool belt to reset. I either start by reading a chill book (A great one is: Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang) and dimming the lights. Another way I’m working on resetting right now is with Alpha Waves that help you melt into your bed and off to dreamland.
Change into your most comfortable outfit.
Do you change your clothes after work? Marie Kondo says it’s a good idea. You should thank your clothes too ;). Really though, a daily practice I have right now is to change out of jeans the moment I get home from work and wear truly relaxing and comfortable clothes (hence my pink housecoat and slippers). This is a super easy way to tell my brain it’s time to chill.
Have a bath or take a shower.
Water has such a magical ability to refresh us. I’ve lived in many places in Toronto without a bath, though I’m blessed to have one now. I sit there (sans a cell-phone) and reflect on the day. As Oprah said, ‘Bathing is my hobby.’ I’m totally with Oprah here. If you don’t have a bath, give perhaps grab some lavender drops or Eucalyptus and put it in your shower to smell a relaxing scent.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT or Tapping)
Have you ever heard of tapping? Tapping or ‘Emotional Freedom Technique’ is an alternative treatment for physical pain and emotional distress. It’s a technique where you tap on different meridian points on your body to help move energy throughout your body (and let it go). I’ve trained in EFT before and loved learning this healing modality. I am a big fan of Brad Yates work. Here’s a short video you can try:
My final overall tip is to relax after work is to intentionally plan your day.
I discovered that to be an effective productive human it’s best to work in 50 minute increments followed by 10-15 minutes of flow activities (no-pressure conversations, stretching, walking, listening to music etc.) I’ve also been cutting my coffee intake back from 2-3 to one a day and a tea.
Thank you for reading and I hope you test out some of the tips! Let me know in the comments below of send me a DM on Instagram. Also, if you have any suggestions I’m always open to learning new ways to live my best life without alcohol.