A lot of people will tell you that winter is the worst time for stress, and they do have a point. The days are short and dark, and the weather is miserable. Jobs always seem to find a way to pile on the pressure in the weeks before they break up for the holidays, and if you’re a freelancer or you own your own business, then you’ll know all about how work can slow down to a worrying amount at the start of the calendar year.
And let’s not even get started on all the seasonal bugs and viruses, especially if you’re a parent.
But it would be completely wrong to say that all that stress just vanishes when the weather starts getting better and the spring arrives. There are so many pressure factors right now, from rising costs to job anxiety. You still need to be thinking creatively about how you can disconnect from that work stress and have a bit of you-time.
1. Make Sure You’re Clocking Off On Time
This point is particularly aimed at people who work from home, freelance, or run their own businesses. It can be so easy to tell yourself that you’ll just do a few more minutes before you sign off for the day. It can seem like you’ll be saving yourself a lot of stress tomorrow morning if you can get that project all squared away before dinner, or even afterward.
But it’s such a slippery slope that ends with you closing your laptop and going straight to bed. If you let work continue to eat into your personal time, you are going to burn out very quickly indeed. If you are finding that you’ve got too much work to get done in the day, talk to your manager or think about restructuring your workday.
2. Get Into An Exercise Routine
There can be something so energizing about shaking off a bad day at work with a quick jog around the block or heading off on your bike for a long ride to nowhere in particular. During those moments, you might ask yourself why you don’t do this more often.
So, why don’t you? Building regular exercise into your daily schedule is a great way of giving yourself a bit of a mental break (and doctors recommend it). One of the best tricks to making sure that you keep to this routine is to find an exercise activity that you enjoy.
If you force yourself to go to the gym even though you hate it, you probably won’t be doing it for very long. If you love swimming, for example, then look for a health club near you and find out what time they open so you can get a few laps in before you start work for the day.
3. Look Into Online Gaming
Online gaming has become an increasingly popular choice for people looking to unwind at the end of a busy day. There’s nothing wrong with parking yourself in front of the TV for a couple of hours, but it can be so easy for your mind to wander and start thinking about all the work tasks that you still have left to do. Or you can end up getting your phone out and end up aimlessly scrolling your social media feeds until it’s bedtime, and that isn’t always the most relaxing activity in the world.
Online gaming is great because it offers so many different options. You can dive into an MMORPG, or you can try your luck at online slot games. If you have been looking for a good online casino, remember that there are plenty of bonuses and other incentives out there. There is also so much choice, and Jackpot Casino offers daily payouts with VIP loyalty.
4. Use Your Annual Leave When You Can
This might sound like an obvious statement, but it can be so easy to realize that you’ve not taken a day off in months. Now, sometimes you want to stockpile that annual leave for a big holiday, but you need to think about how you can take a proper break from work. It’s even tougher when you are working for yourself and every day that you spend away from your desk feels like lost earnings or at least lost opportunities.
But if you don’t take those breaks, then you are going to find yourself in burnout territory. You don’t even need to go anywhere necessarily. Just having a sofa day for the first time in a long time can make a massive difference. On the other hand, if it has been a long time since you took a vacation, why not treat yourself? Even if it’s just a night away in a hotel nearby, there is something very special about sleeping in a bed that you didn’t make yourself.
5. Don’t Isolate Yourself
It can feel like you don’t have time to socialize when you are overstressed. In fact, it can feel like you don’t have time for anything at all except for the situation that is right in front of you. When that feeling comes, it is going to be easy to start isolating yourself. Before you know it, you’ll have gone from canceling a couple of drinks at the bar to not having seen your friends for weeks. It is so important to maintain social contact with the people closest to you for a number of reasons.
One of the best is that talking through a problem is always going to be one of the best ways to remind yourself that it is just working at the end of the day. The other big one is that it can help you to disconnect from all your job stress by talking about something completely unrelated. Those conversations that don’t seem as important as that overwhelming stress factor are so important for your mental well-being, so try your best not to cancel those meetups.
6. Find A Hobby That Uses Your Hands
In the same way that exercising is a great way to keep your stress levels down, a lot of people find that doing something with their hands can really help to center them. Stress has a way of creating a lot of noise in your head. When you are doing something practical, there are no numbers and no pinging notifications. It’s just you and the task at hand. Some of the best examples of this are ones that require patience, and pay off over time.
Gardening has been consistently cited as a great way to manage stress, so if you are lucky enough to have some green space, why not give it a try? Head online to find out what you should be doing with planting at this time of year. Ask yourself what kind of plant life you would enjoy cultivating and looking at, whether it’s beautiful flowers or growing your own fruit and vegetables. If you don’t have a garden, you could always find out if there are any allotments near your home that you could sign up for. And if you are a little anxious about giving it a go, you can always get started with a simple houseplant.