I’m all about hustling your buns off all day at work, but when you leave the office (even if it is your home office) you need to let yourself mentally decompress. A recent study showed that many women view their homes as second jobs: housework, bills to pay, and a dog to walk, oh my! I know you can handle all of that and then some, but before you dive into job numero dos here are some creative ways to R-E-L-A-X:
1. Shut it down: My favorite apps (I know, I know, it sounds counterproductive to download an app to unwind from technology but this is the most fool-proof way to go) for unplugging at the end of the day are: Moment, which allows you to schedule time, say at dinner, to be tech-free; Anti-Social, which lets you schedule a certain amount of time away from social networking sites; Self-Control, with which you can ban yourself from certain sites, like your work email; and Offtime, which is a souped-up version of the others that gives you real data on how long you’re on your phone as well as a detailed report of what you missed when you plug back in. And if you don’t want to download anything, the Do Not Disturb icon for iPhones and Priority setting for Android are my favorite price: FREE!
2. Exercise your brain: There are a ton of apps out there that are cheap and help you clear your head so you can get good brain juices flowing. My favorites include: Headspace, which is like a gym for your mind to help you unwind with great programs like Take10; Happier, which offers mediation tips and writing exercises; and Calm, an app that helps you schedule mini relaxation sessions from 2-20 minutes in duration.
3. Work on your side hustle: We all have a dream, a passion. What would we be doing if we didn’t need money for, you know, LIFE. Is it owning a cupcake shop? Becoming a clothing designer? Learning to be a nail artist? Whatever it is, it’s where your heart is and what you want to be doing in a perfect world. It can happen, but you have to work on it. The best way to do that, ideally, is when you have a job. So get all of your proverbial ducks in a row on the side before you are ready to pounce on making your dream a reality!
4. Be a journal-ista: Journaling is a great way to find mindfulness and reset before the next day you’re going to seize. You can do it digitally; I love Day One Journal because for folks without much of an attention span, like me, this is a good way to get something down and even add photos and links to my favorite things. If you want to kick it old school, my favorite is the I Need To Unplug Journal which offers inspirational quotes and prompts to kick your journaling booty in gear!
5. Be a podcast queen: Podcasts are increasing in popularity like crazy. They are also my favorite price: FREE! There are great ones that can help you chill but also step up your career game in humorous, satirical or inspiring ways. My favorites are Spirit Junkie and The School of Greatness. There are others that offer projects and challenges like The Bored and Brilliant Project that gives you daily creativity challenges.
6. Network with unusual workouts: Forget pricey drinks or dinners to network; start your own networking group, like I did. I’m talking cardio trampoline, aerial yoga, pole dancing, even swordfighting! You can find many of these classes on the ClassPass app, which gives you access to unlimited classes in your area with a monthly membership. I created a networking group of women in my industry and set up a different fun and quirky class outing per month. Nothing like bonding while sweating your butt off in a Beyonce dance class to get someone to pull for you at work the next day.
7. Learn something new: As Steve Jobs said, sometimes it’s the skills that have nothing to do with your job that help you the most—hence his calligraphy class that led to the fonts we use on our Macs today. It’s easy to stop trying new things when you get into a regular workweek routine. So sign up for something new, like a pottery class, conversational language club, or knife skills class to up your cooking game. A new skill might be just what you need to hit “refresh”—and you’ll meet people outside of your usual circle, too, which is always a helpful thing!