When you look for things to do after a stressful day, you often get suggestions such as enjoying a long bath or shower, meditating, or sleeping. But what if the things that will give you a more restful day are more work?
Adding a new task to your routine is probably the last thing in your mind during your free time. But certain types of work can reduce stress instead of aggravating it. Think of it as a healthy way to be productive. Rather than overworking yourself, which hurts your physical and mental health, fill your time with a hobby or a new activity to try. That way, you can end each day feeling fulfilled, not drained of energy.
That said, here are some therapeutic activities perfect for your free days:
Fitness enthusiasts make exercising sound fun, but for busy people who work from 9 to 5, workouts can feel more like a chore. Skipping exercise can make you feel guilty, especially if you’ve wanted to get back in shape for a while now.
If you can’t commit to a daily fitness routine, don’t beat yourself up and stick to weekend workouts for now. You don’t even need to go to the gym, subscribe to a fitness YouTube channel, or pay for an online fitness program. There are other types of exercises besides weight training and cardio. If you can only dedicate your weekends to fitness, consider walking around your neighborhood or going on nature trips to hike or kayak. As long as your body gets vigorous physical activity, you’re good.
Yoga has weight loss benefits, too, making it a suitable type of exercise for people who haven’t worked out in a long time. But yoga is more known for its stress relief properties. You can already reap its benefits after your first session. The different yoga poses improve your focus, and yoga instructors usually tell you words of encouragement to motivate yourself to commit to your practice. In the long run, you can receive physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits from yoga. And if you stay consistent, your strength and flexibility will also improve.
Pilates is another type of exercise with some similarities to yoga. It focuses on the core, lower and upper body strength, as well as flexibility and posture. Its founder Joseph Pilates states that the exercise is about the “complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit.” It uses six key principles, namely centering, control, precision, coordination, breath, and flow.
Pilates is best practiced in a wellness facility, where a certified Pilates instructor can teach you. But first-timers may start by watching YouTube videos or downloading Pilates apps.
4. Arts and Crafts
Engaging in arts and crafts has long been proven beneficial for mental health. In a study entitled “The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health”, it was found that individuals who engaged in art experienced lower levels of stress and anxiety and an increase in positive emotions. Creating art frees up space in your brain, diverting your mind from your responsibilities. It gives you something beautiful to focus on, and what makes it amazing is that you’re the one who created that beauty.
Even if you don’t consider yourself artistic or creative, you are perfectly capable of creating art. Craft activities such as knitting, pottery, weaving, or carving have an artistic touch in them too. By practising as often as you can, your confidence in your skills will improve, contributing to your overall self-esteem.
5. Grooming Your Pet
If you normally take your dog to a pet salon for grooming, try grooming them yourself next time. Pet grooming at home gives you the opportunity to get to know your pooch more, familiarizing yourself with their behaviors as they get pampered. It will forge a stronger bond between the two of you because your dog will also learn to trust you with their grooming needs. But if you’re a total novice in grooming, get some training first, and use essential grooming supplies, such as a pair of high-quality dog-grooming shears. For safety and hygiene purposes, you should never use art or kitchen scissors on your dog!
6. Reassess Your Daily Routine
If you think you have no time for any of these activities, perhaps you need to reassess your daily routine. Every individual should allow themselves some leisure. If your entire day and night consist of nothing but work, something is clearly off with your to-do list. Maybe you’re squeezing in 12 hours of work in 8 hours. Overworking yourself that way doesn’t result in genuine productivity, only in stress and fatigue. Again, doing something you love is what makes you feel fulfilled every day, not workload after workload.
Do your mind and body a favor by managing your time more wisely and engaging in any of the therapeutic activities above. They may feel like a chore at first, but once you learn to love them, you’ll look forward to doing them every day.