3 easy things you can do to relax and unwind from stress

It’s fairly common for stress to enter your life at some point, whether it be home or career induced. Beware the jobs that are so stressful they take over the rest of your life. If you are reaching that point, it’s a good idea to stop and figure out how to unwind.

While your job might encourage you to keep going all the time, it’s always healthier to stop and figure out a way to restore your own sanity.

Here are three simple ways you can relax and unwind after work gets you down.

1. Exercise

Yes, exercise can be unpleasant and it’s not exactly the first thing that most people think about when they want to unwind. It is, however, something that can help you to greatly reduce your overall stress. When you put your body to work, you’re allowing yourself to focus on something other than what’s bothering you at the office. You’re also releasing a number of chemicals in your body that help to reduce your overall anxiety levels.

Find a workout routine that works for you and commit to it. You don’t have to run a mile every day, for example, but you might want to hit the gym and play a pickup game of basketball a few times a week. It doesn’t matter what the exercise is, only that you are able to get out there and get your body moving.

2. Take a real vacation

One of the more toxic aspects of the American workforce is the stigma against taking time off. If you’re always at work, though, you’re contributing to your stress. You’ve earned the right to take time off from work and you deserve the chance to really enjoy that time. Instead of just taking a sick day and trying to catch up on your sleep, you deserve to get out and allow yourself a little bit of adventure.

Taking a real vacation will allow you to decompress and visit somewhere new. Try taking a vacation overseas, for example, and allow yourself to live like a local. Go somewhere without cell phone reception and unplug your brain for a bit. Above all else, you need to make sure that you are physically and mentally as far away from work as possible. The more you disconnect now, the better you will feel when you get back.

3. Find a hobby

What do you do when you aren’t at work? If your answer revolves around watching television or taking naps, you might be contributing to your own problem. One of the better ways to get rid of work stress is to start finding ways to enrich your life outside of work. A good hobby can allow you to put your body and mind to work in a way that isn’t related to your job. Simply being able to do something that brings you joy will allow you a brief bit of respite from the hectic nature of your job.

The important thing about a hobby is that it makes you happy. It doesn’t matter if you’re racing motorcycles or knitting—it’s the act of embracing something that you actually love. This not only helps you relax, but it can remind you of the reasons that you actually work at your job.

Remember, your job is just one of the many facets of your life. If you are becoming overwhelmed and unable to function elsewhere, it’s time to step back and figure out what can make you feel happy. Some stress might be normal, but it should not rule your life.

This column originally appeared on BossedUp.org.