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How to Decompress After a Long Week

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Author

Paaez Coleman

Ever wondered how the expression TGIF came about? 

Because people work themselves to the point of near exhaustion, and by the time Friday rolls around, people are more than ready to have some time to themselves!

The fact of the matter is that many people still struggle to relax and recharge their energy during the weekend, which is an essential step in gearing up for a new week.

Although we know it’s even harder to find a mental resting point when the world seems to be crumbling, but it can be done!

Allow us to guide you to the best type of weekend relaxation with some simple tips. 

1. Leave Work at the Office—All of It

There’s always something pressing that needs to be done, especially when it comes to your work. While it’s admirable to stay on top of your work duties, overextending yourself can cause burnouts and adverse effects on your mood and your health. 

Did you know that 83% of Americans admit they suffer from work-related stress? 

Harboring this type of stress, or any kind of stress can manifest itself in different health issues such as hypertension, a compromised immune system, cardiovascular disease, and a higher risk for substance abuse. 

To avoid falling into work-related worry over the weekend, try to get as much done as possible on Friday and also map out a task list for the upcoming week so you don’t feel overwhelmed going into the new week. This type of planning and organization reduces stress and allows you to work more efficiently. 

Protect your mental and physical health—do yourself a favor and set work boundaries that give you a much-needed break on the weekend you deserve!

2. Pick Up a Good Book

Woman grabbing a book

In our current social climate, there isn’t much to do “outside”. 

Thankfully, that’s a great reason to build up your personal library! Challenge yourself and explore books outside your comfort zone and try a different genre––a classic, a page-turning mystery, or even a motivational book? You can even take it a step further and choose a book for you and your friends to read together and discuss. 

Many benefits come with sitting down and reading at least 5 minutes a day. You’ll notice an enhanced vocabulary, stress reduction increases memory, and helps you sleep. 

If you haven’t really “taken” to reading in the past, try reading at different times of the day. Some people like to read a little in the morning with a cup of coffee. In contrast, others prefer to read before bed because it promotes a special kind of relaxation perfectly suited for bedtime. 

3. Put Some Music On

Now that you’ve put work on the back burner until Monday morning, it’s time to kick back and enjoy some tunes. Surely you’ve heard that many people find music therapeutic for different reasons? Whatever the motivation, there’s real science behind the effects that music has on the brain. 

Listening to music reduces stress, pain, and symptoms of depression––but that’s not all. The University of Central Florida found that music improves cognitive function, motor skills, and spatial learning. Amazingly, it also encourages neurogenesis––the process of your brain, creating more neurons. 

This is a big deal because for a long time scientists believed that once those neurons were lost, they couldn’t be regained. As we age, we lose neurons that we don’t use, but we’ve learned that certain activities can regenerate these neurons, increasing our cognitive abilities. 

You’re probably wondering what kind of music you need to listen to in order to create more neurons? It’s actually whatever you prefer…whatever you’re already accustomed to! 

Go ahead, turn on your favorite song, and dance around a bit. 

It’s the weekend––live a little!

4. Sit Down and Meditate

A woman in a forest meditates

Have you ever thought about meditating, but stopped yourself because you didn’t think you knew how to do it? 

Many think that meditation has to be done a certain way to be effective. They’re right to a certain extent, so practice in a way that produces the most benefit for yourself. 

Although there are traditional ways of meditating, there’s something called mindful meditation that’s much easier for those embarking on a new meditation journey. 

All you need to do is find a quiet place and focus your attention (be mindful) of your breaths. How often are you breathing in and out? What does it sound like? Feel like? It’s essential to take note of how often your mind wanders off because when it does, you need to bring it back to the attention of your breathing. It is this process that creates “mindfulness”. 

If you’re only starting out, you can set a lower time limit of 3 minutes and work your way up as you become more experienced and engaged. 

Also, it won’t hurt to throw in some visualization techniques! While you’re focusing on those breaths, envision in great detail what you want your life to look like. Combining these techniques produce compelling results if done consistently. 

Meditation lowers stress, encourages meaningful connections with those around you, improves focus and concentration, and it also helps to reduce extra noise in your brain. 

5. Take a Walk

We know…you’ve been indoors quite a bit…even on the weekends. 

But why? 

Even though much of “outside” is closed, that’s no reason you shouldn’t get out and enjoy everything that the outdoors has to offer! Get out and walk around the block or even go for a nice hike in the hills if the option is available to you. 

We all know by now how beneficial walking is and how much it can add to our lives. Walking burns calories encourages circulation, tones the body, strengthens joints, and it also boosts immunity, energy, and creativity! 

Sometimes we forget that the simple things in life benefit us the most, so give yourself a break every now and then to rest and recharge!

 

DID YOU KNOW?

Stress-related illness is one of the key factors in shortening the lifespan of many U.S. adults.

DID YOU KNOW?

Meditation has been shown to not only reduce stress but also improve cognitive function and even a practitioner's lifespan!

 

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