10 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself after a Stressful Day

be kind
be kind

Whether it’s a demanding boss, a looming deadline, a big presentation, or a challenging client, stressful days happen. 

In the midst of a total burnout, I left the office stressed to the max every day and learned the hard way that the worst thing you can do is to take it home with you. 

Stress is like a black mold; it’ll spread to every aspect of your life if you let it.  Stress nearly destroyed my relationship; my husband hated coming home to me and worked late so he didn’t have to.  It devastated my health.  I put on weight and was embarrassed by my body.  I used alcohol as an escape instead of dealing with my problems.  I used caffeine to fight the fatigue I felt all day, but that just kept me up all night.

It took me years to fix what chronic stress did to my life.

Let’s be honest: no matter how positive or present you are, stress is sometimes unavoidable.  Fortunately, it is possible to leave a stressful day at the door.  Use a bad day as a catalyst to be kind to yourself.These ten tips for self-care offer simple ways to flip the stress switch off. 

1. Practice Gratitude

First things first: flipping the stress switch off starts with a mindset shift.  It can be easy to focus on the things that went wrong.  Shift your perspective by spending a few minutes being grateful for the good things that happened during the day. 

2. Get Moving

Exercise has been shown to alleviate stress by releasing mood-boosting endorphins, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend hours at the gym after a long day.  Go for a quick walk around your neighborhood, string together a series of sun salutations, or throw an impromptu dance party in your living room.

3. Take a Shot

A wheatgrass shot, that is.  Stress – even acute stress – can create an acidic pH in the body, which leads to insomnia, fatigue, nervousness and anxiety.  To fight the acidity, take a shot of wheatgrass.  Not only is wheatgrass alkalizing to the body, its full of vitamins and minerals that help fight free radicals, it detoxifies the liver and blood stream, and it promotes healing of cells in the body.  Grab a shot at a local juice bar on the way home or keep powdered wheat grass on hand for easy access.

4. Order Take-out

What?  A health coach encouraging you to order take out?  Look- you’ve had a long day… the last thing you need is adding the stress of cooking and cleaning to the mix.  Just stick with real, whole foods – like a yummy seasonal salad (dressing on the side), vegetable curry, a burrito (hold the cheese and sour cream), or steamed veggies with rice. 

5. Enjoy a Glass of Wine

Alcohol is naturally soothing and can help you sleep.  Wine, especially red wine, has added health benefits of reducing your risk of heart attack, heart disease, stroke, cancer, cataracts, and type II diabetes, promoting brain health, and helping you live longer.  But, take everything in moderation – enjoy a single glass of wine at dinner.

6. Have a Treat

Sugary treats will only leave you feeling worse in the long term, but if you want a little after dinner treat, nibble on a piece of antioxidant rich dark chocolate.  Look for something with a high cacao content (70% or higher) to fight free radicals and oxidative stress. 

7. Unplug Before Bed

Stress often leaves us “tired but wired” – zapped of energy, but unable to sleep.  Add artificial light from TV and computer screens to the mix and the problem only gets worse; screen lights impact melatonin production and throw off circadian rhythms, preventing deep, restorative sleep. To ensure a good night’s rest, spend at least 1 hour before bed unplugged.

8. Sweat It Out

Stress can be toxic, but a 20-minute detox bath can be enough to start cleansing the body.  Add 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil, 2 cups of Epsom salts, and 1 cup of baking soda to a hot bath (you want it hot enough to make you to sweat!).

9. Do An Inversion

Spending a few minutes in shoulder stand or with legs up the wall can do wonders for releasing stress.  Not only do inversions offer a change in perspective, they also reverse the effects of gravity on your body by improving circulation and lymph flow and bringing blood and oxygen to the brain.

10. Set an Intention

Don’t let a stressful day set the tone of the rest of your week.  Consciously set an intention that will create ease and grace in your life tomorrow and every day after.