When you've been hustling a million miles an hour all day long, the idea of collapsing on the couch and unwinding is like the Holy Grail. Decompressing from the daily grind is easier said than done, though—in order to unwind, your brain might need a nudge.
Here are a few simple strategies to boost your mood and help put a stressful day behind you.
Take a Hike
Literally. If you live near wilderness of some kind, lace up your walking shoes and get to steppin'— science has proven spending time in nature can be massively beneficial for our mental wellbeing. Besides, exercise gives you endorphins and, as Elle Woods would say, endorphins make you happy.
Phone a Friend
Few things can pull you out of a funk faster than hearing your best friend's voice on the other end of the line, and there's a psychological reason for this. Talking to loved ones triggers a relaxation response in the brain. So go on ... put those unlimited minutes to good use.
Brainstorm Your Bucket List
You've been neck-deep in projects and deadlines all day, miring you in the stressful present. Breaking out your bucket list and daydreaming about future possibilities will perk you up and remind you why you work so hard in the first place. According to Psychology Today, goal-setting enhances focus, bolsters self-esteem and, well, just makes us feel pretty darn good about life.
Get Your Yoga On
If you haven't tried yoga yet, there is no shortage of reasons to master Sun Salutation and Downward Facing Dog. This practice is ideal for decompressing both physically and mentally after a stressful day, improving everything from immunity to mindfulness.
Pump Up the Jams
Music has major mood-boosting power and—bonus!—it may even help lower blood pressure. If you're in need of some Zen, power on your MP3 player and cue up a soothing playlist or pick a feel-good track that never fails to make you smile.
Grab a Nap
If you just can't even after a long day, sometimes the only option that makes any sense is sleep. The solution? A power nap. Snoozing for just 10 to 20 minutes will increase alertness and energy, leaving you feeling rested and refreshed.
Uncork Some Vino
Praise be! It turns out light to moderate alcohol consumption (think a glass of wine after work) is effective in reducing stress and increasing carefree feelings. Just don't overdo it—nursing a hangover the next morning is decidedly un-fun.
Book a Mani-Pedi-Facial
Or buy those shoes you've been eyeing. In other words, treat yourself and don't feel guilty about it either. Research shows splurging on ourselves occasionally helps diffuse the stress of everyday life and heightens confidence, to boot.
Hey, it's just a fact—having sex floods your body with feel-good hormones like oxytocin, making it impossible not to feel all warm and fuzzy. Really, any kind of close physical intimacy should do the trick. Just think of this as your prescription for love.