It's been one of those days. The customers wouldn't stop complaining, your boss refused to see the progress you've been making, you got a less than stellar mark on the paper you were sure that you had aced. As much as you want to forget about it all, it can be really difficult to leave the day behind. Here are some ways that you can help your body and mind unwind and relax after a long, hard day.
Drink Something Hot
Bring a cup of water or milk to a simmer on the stovetop, watching the tendrils of hot steam escape into the cool air. If you're making tea, pour the water slowly on to the teabag, watching as the colour infuses the clear water; if you're making warm milk, slowly add honey or vanilla to the milk to taste. Hold the cup with both your hands and breathe in the steam and aromas, let them open up your sinuses and refresh your sense of smell. When you sip, sip slowly; feel the warmth spread from the tip of your tongue to the base of your stomach.
Have a Bath
Start by turning on the water and running your hand under the fast stream as you feel for that temperature that's just right. Let the sound of running water soothe your thoughts as you light a candle in your favourite scent. Turn down the rest of the lights so that you can see the candle's flickering cast across the walls; let the glow dance across your skin. If you're able to, keep a little stash of natural bath products on hand for nights like these – you can even make them yourself. Put one in your tub, and step in. Feel the warmth envelop your body like a blanket and forget that there's a world outside your little paradise.
Watch the Sunset
If you're feeling restless, bundle up in your favourite socks and scarf and step outside, otherwise curl up in a blanket by the window with the best Western view. Watch as the sky paints with a palette unique to tonight and revel in the fact that there will never be another sunset quite like this. Crane your neck as you search for the first star and remind yourself that you are never to old to make a wish.
Turn Off Your Phone
We have become so reliant on our phones. They are a main source of communication, entertainment, information and, occasionally, stress. So much time is spent looking at that little bright screen that perhaps you should consider turning it off this evening. If there's someone you're wanting to connect with, write them a letter or call them instead. If you find yourself antsy after ten minutes without knowing what your friends are up to, try reading about someone's fictional world. You may find that you enjoy your immediate world a little more when you're able to occasionally able to separate it from everyone else's.
Sometimes we're not aware of what is weighing us down in life until it's staring us in the face. Writing or journaling gives you the opportunity to process the day's or week's events without fear of judgement, and it may give you a chance to overcome worries that you didn't even know how to name. Let the pen be an extension of your arm, the ink of an extension of your veins; let yourself flow into the pages. No one will judge your written words – they're safe. If you're finding yourself in a rut, list five things that you're grateful for and how they enrich your life.
Read a Book
Perhaps the best way to completely lose yourself after a hard day is by losing yourself in someone else's life. Whether you prefer to read biographies, fiction, or even scientific textbooks, a book can take you out of the world you are in and introduce you to a whole new one, away from the stresses of school or the workplace. “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” - George R.R. Martin
Get a Good Night's Sleep
When the time has come to end the day, tuck yourself in between your softest blankets and sheets. Let yourself be covered in cotton form the tips of your toes to right below your chin and deeply breathe in the faint smell of fresh laundry that lingers between the fibers. Resist the urge to reach for your phone and go online until your eyes finally shut; instead, practice simple meditation, focusing on each breath and how it relaxes your body. Don't feel anxious if sleep doesn't come immediately – simply enjoy the last few moments of your day doing nothing, for tomorrow will come soon enough.