So I developed a healthier after-work routine, and no matter how exhausted I am or how tense my back muscles are, if I follow all 5 steps, it's a no-fail route to feeling relaxed yet alert and ready to enjoy the rest of my evening.
STEP 1: Re-fuel (15-20 minutes.)
Put your briefcase or bag down, and right there in your work clothes, go to the kitchen first thing. Just go. Either juice veggies (here's my current favorite combo, or you can just do carrots alone if you're in a hurry) or make a healthy smoothie. Healthy smoothie = no refined sugars and no chemicals by my definition. I like frozen fruit, a little almond or coconut milk, monkfruit sweetener or stevia, spinach, a little spirulina, chia seed, and sometimes cinnamon and vanilla.
STEP 2: Decompress (15-20 minutes.)
I often arrive home with tension in my back muscles, and a 15-minute soak in a hot bath always works magic on it. I add Epsom salts sometimes, and a scented shower gel for some aromatherapy. I also sometimes dry-brush before getting in the tub.
I also drink a full bottle of water while I soak to re-hydrate and flush my system. (I admit, I do also check social media on my phone while I soak, because I have a hard time sitting still and I love to multi-task whenever possible.)
I live in the mountains in Colorado, so a hot bath is a welcome warm-up in our cooler temperatures. If you live somewhere more humid and hot, you might just do a quick hot shower to get that tension out and reset your system for the evening. If you're not too hot, close the bathroom door and let it steam up for your own little home sauna. Or, if you're lucky enough to have a real sauna, do that first and then hop in the shower. (If I ever get rich selling novels, a home sauna is definitely on the wish list.)
Question: "But Jayla, if you soak in a bath every day after work, do you shower again in the morning?"
Answer #1: No, because I am female and I don't sweat a lot. So this bath saves me time in the morning as well.
Answer #2: Yes, if I need to wash my hair.
STEP 3: Make Yourself Comfortable (2 minutes.)
Put on loose, soft, comfortable clothing. Pajama pants are totally allowed. I usually put on yoga wear, stretchy leggings and a loose, soft t-shirt.
STEP 4: Essential Oil Treatment (2 minutes.)
Get some essential oils that you like at the health food store. Look for blends that say things like "Relaxing" or "Energizing," plus a Peppermint to open your sinuses up and get you breathing better. Rub 1 drop on the sole of each foot, covering as much sole-surface as you can. Use the peppermint oil last, after the other oils. Then, rub your hands together and inhale deeply a few times. Trust me, you will love this.
I explained my favorite after-work essential oils combo in this post.
STEP 5: Stretch and Breathe (10-15 minutes.)
I have a 15-minute yoga routine that I do, one that involves alternate nostril breathing to open up my airways as well as reset my mind/emotions. If you're new to yoga and want to try it, look it up on Youtube and you should be able to find plenty of videos to choose from in the 10 - 15 minute time range.
If you're not into yoga, just do some relaxing stretches and deep breathing, and again, you can probably find videos to follow on Youtube if you need ideas.
And that's it! (Total time investment: 45 minutes - 1 hour.)
By now, you should be reasonably relaxed, have a bit more energy than you did when you first got home, and be ready to tackle the rest of your evening (making dinner, cleaning up, etc.) You should also sleep better when you go to bed later.
I know that an hour commitment after work may seem like a lot, but if you're honest with yourself, you probably fritter it away more often than not, on social media, zoning out, drinking that beer or glass of wine, opening mail, etc. If you invest a little time in your physical and mental health instead, I promise you, it will pay off big time.