10 ways to destress after a long work week

Updated: Jan 17, 2020

So it's Friday (Hooray!) and most of us will be looking forward to a couple of days downtime before heading back to work on Monday. I have noticed that my weekends are all the same and aren't really preparing me for another busy week spent juggling my NHS and business commitments let alone any social opportunities or an hour at the gym. What usually happens is that I lie in until 10am on a Saturday morning, get up, procrastinate a bit then start laundry, cleaning, invoicing, shopping and repeat until Sunday evening whereupon I head to bed by 7pm exhausted, slightly resentful and bemoaning my stressful life. So far so normal, right?

Well, actually yes. The majority of us follow a predictably similar routine and unfortunately regardless of the plans we'd like to make the housework and laundry does need doing if we are going to function throughout the following week. However, I have decided that there must be a better way and have been experimenting with my free time to see if I can make changes that impact positively on my weekend and help to reduce my stress levels. This is what's currently working for me, it's by no means meant to be a blueprint. I'm not the patron saint of everything right but for those of you who have felt cheated of their weekend on more than one occasion, then this might be of some help. You decide!

1. Out for early dinner on Friday after work. This has made a huge difference and now its sacrosanct! We meet as a family on a Friday evening. Nothing massively fancy, Wagamama, Carluccios and Pizza Express are our favourites. We are not there long, we catch up over food, discuss our plans for the weekend, chat and eat together rather than trying to throw meal together with the remnants of my depleted fridge then collapse on to sofa in a disgruntled heap whilst everyone else disappears to watch Netflix in their room or check their emails! It's nice, it's very normal and it feels very relaxing!

2. I get up earlier. I used to languish in bed until at least 10am. It sound like bliss but it just robs the day so now I'm up at 8am. A quiet hour in the gym is much more feasible and oddly, I feel very much less stressed after a half hour in the pool followed by a sauna. It feels like a mini spa break. All the wins!

3. Do the unpleasant/boring/routine stuff first. I try to deal with the laundry, housework and any business stuff early on. There's no point in procrastinating. It's all got to be done so getting it out of the way is my priority.

4. Get in some 'me time' - Saturday afternoons are for the hairdresser or for a facial or something that I do just for me. It's not really open for negotiation. I have to have it. My work is demanding. I deal with some pretty difficult stuff all through the week. I need to decompress. I need time where I don't speak. My hairdresser and facialist know this. They don't speak either. They like it, I like it. We're all good.

5. Go outdooors - The benefits of being out in nature are well documented. I love walking. It stirs the senses, connects us to nature and a brisk walk promotes deep relaxation and better quality sleep. It's also free and you can't put price on that!

6. Making lists - I know what you're thinking but jokes about control freakery aside, lists really help me to focus on what I need to do and stop me drifting off into procrastinating again. My lists aren't exhaustive, just a guide and it's immensely satisfying when you've ticked it all off.

7. Family time - sadly my dependents are no longer dependent so we're guilty of not having enough of this but things like a Mum and Daughter movie night are on the agenda at least once a month. We love it, although I rarely see the end of the movie due to having nodded off but remember...intention is everything!

8. Order groceries online - Oh happy happy happy was the day that online grocery shopping entered my life. No more pushing a trolley around for a few hours getting sidetracked by cushions and candles and getting home to find that you still haven't bought anything you could actually make a meal from! Now I have a rough plan of what we'll have through the week and I order it all to come on a Sunday evening. It's genius, we're all stocked up for the week ahead with no blood spilled plus I spend less and don't impulse buy! Top Tip: If you use the my supermarket app you can save a small fortune. It's been a game changer for me.

9. Clean Sheets - I change my sheets on Sunday morning meaning there's a delicious clean bed waiting for Sunday evening. Just knowing that makes me feel calmer.

10. Sunday evening ritual - slow cooker dinner, glass of wine, lunches prepped, long hot candlelit bath, clean PJs to go with my clean sheets and a relatively early night, smug in the knowledge that I did everything I needed to whilst also finding a bit of time to look after myself!

It's worth saying though that other options are available! I am considering a cleaner and sending my ironing out! Look out for how that goes in future blogs! Happy weekend all!!

#stress #work #weekend #stressmanagement #mentalhealth #anxiety

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