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4 Tips on How to Unplug After Work

You know how flight attendants always tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others? Taking some time to unplug is just like that. By making your own well-being a priority, you can be the best mom / employee / partner / superhero you can be. Life doesn't stop when work does, so you may not have a lot of time to relax and restore, but you can get a lot of self-care done in less than 15 minutes.

Here are some of our best tips on how to unplug after a long day at work:

1. Meditate

Sitting still and being quiet sounds like... nothing, right? But millions of people swear by the power of meditation, and science backs up those claims. Meditation has been proven to improve concentration, decrease anxiety and depression, improve mood and protect the brain as you age. Plus, emptying your mind is a great way to shift your focus away from work and onto your personal life.

Starting this new practice might seem daunting, but funnily enough, you can use technology to help unplug. Download one of the many available meditation apps. Most operate in similar ways: an expert's voice will guide you through the whole process, including how to sit and what to think about. And you don't have to commit 30 or 45 minutes to meditation. Many sessions last just 10 minutes. Some of our favorites include Headspace, Calm and Smiling Mind.

2. Exercise

The good news: exercise has been proven to reduce fatigue, stress and anxiety, while improving mood and sleep. The even better news: you don't have to find time to hit the gym in order to reap these benefits. If you can't fit a full workout with strength training and cardio into your after-work schedule, take just five or 10 minutes to exercise.

Walk around the block a few times, jog in place in your living room, do some squats and crunches, or run up and down your stairs. And yes, there are plenty of apps for this, too. Pick one that offers short workout routines to do at home. After just a few sessions, you'll be able to do the routines on your own without having to follow along. 

In our office, we have desks that raise up and down so we have the option to stand while we work. While that doesn’t replace exercise, it helps us keep the blood flowing and our (bra)ins going.

3. Pamper Yourself

Think of your favorite spa service (or the one you'd most love to experience) and find a way to replicate that at home on your own. If you love massages, sit with a heated neck or back massage cushion or consider treating yourself to an in-home massage with Zeel If you're a pedicure girl, soak your tired feet in a foot bath with jets. Give yourself a mini facial using an exfoliator and a luxurious face mask, followed with all the serums and moisturizers you have on hand.

Not much of a spa person? Change into stretchy pants, curl up into a nest of blankets and spend a few minutes sipping a cup of tea or a glass of wine. Snack on really good-quality chocolate or fresh fruit and listen to your favorite guilty pleasure music. (Wham! Here's to you.) It's crazy how just a few minutes of doing something relaxing and taking a second to regroup can change the course of your entire day or night.

4. Unplug

Unless you're a park ranger, your daily tasks probably require you to use computers, phones and other forms of technology. And if you're like most people, you're probably incredibly dependent on these gadgets. Forcing yourself to take a break from them gives your brain time to rebound from your busy day.

It might not be feasible to completely unplug, especially if you have kids who are out of the house in the evenings. But strive to give yourself at least a one-hour period of reduced technology use sometime in the hours after work. You can keep your phone nearby, but use this time to read a book or cook with music in the background instead of scrolling through Facebook or watching TV.