What do you do after work every day? Maybe you’re someone who has a full social schedule, or you hit the gym hard to create a healthy winter fitness habit. No matter your standard after-hours schedule, switching it up every now and then can help you create variety, improve your mood, or even help you find calm amidst chaos. Want to transform your routine and try something new? We put together a list of ideas you can try to keep things fun and fresh.
1. Change your clothes. Are you often tempted to lay down and chill out right when you walk through the door? Stop yourself in your tracks with a simple trick: Change your outfit. It might sound silly, but research shows that what you wear impacts your thinking. Who knows, maybe you’ll be more inclined to grab a drink with friends or head on an impromptu date when you’re feeling yourself rather than flopping down on the couch and calling it a day.
2. Learn something — just for fun. Haven’t taken a class since college, or can’t remember the last time you took on a project just because you were interested in something? We hear you! It might seem hard to tap into thinking mode after work, but weaving some education into your evening routine, even if it’s just once a week, is a great way to increase your skills and satiate your personal curiosities. Sign up for painting or pottery at a local art studio, take a cool writing class at your local community college, or learn how to decorate a cake with a course online. PS: Learning something like how to grow your Instagram following totally counts!
3. Spend a night at the museum. Many art exhibits and museums are open late at least a few times a month, and visiting during the evening can be a completely different experience than the afternoon drop-ins you might be accustomed to. Bring a couple of friends or pencil in a great date with your partner if you usually fly solo; if visiting exhibits with friends is typically your MO, try visiting on your own. Take all the time you want to explore each work, or simply to sit and reflect.
4. Share your skills and talents. Take a break from standard post-work plans by volunteering for a cause you care about. Whether it’s acting as a mentor, giving a talk at a local school’s career night, or lending a hand at a community event, meeting new people and sharing your skills and talents is a feel-good way to hit refresh on your normal schedule.
5. Write a letter. It’s easier than ever to keep up with friends and family with digital apps, texts, and calls these days, but heaps of people talk about feeling sad and lonely — symptoms of being disconnected. Writing a letter to someone you love is a nice way to spend a night and it will bring someone else happiness. Use your letter to let the person know what you love about them, the things you miss, what’s happening in your life, or to ask questions about what’s new in their life. Make it creative by adding drawings on the pages, decorating the envelope, adding stickers, or by including another small, thoughtful touch.
6. Do a digital detox. Can you honestly remember the last time you spent a night at home without surfing the internet or unwinding in front of the TV? Challenge yourself to cozy time spent indoors without a single device nearby. Cook the recipe you pinned years ago but never tried making, dust off your knitting needles, or finally crack open the book your roommate has been recommending for weeks. You’ll remember how good it feels to focus on something without any digital distraction.
7. Mix exercise and friends. Go ahead and give yourself snaps if you consistently carve out time for fitness following a long day at the office. (Finding extra energy at the end of each day can be tough!) Since overhauling a healthy habit doesn’t make sense, transform your after-work routine in this instance by doing something different, like rollerblading, taking a walk, or going ice skating with a friend or special someone. Good to know: Walking with a friend has proven therapeutic benefits.
8. Create a bedtime routine. How you go to bed can make a major difference when it comes to how well you sleep and how rested you’ll be for the following day. If your normal night calls for making your way to your room after you’ve already fallen asleep on the couch or crashing after a night on the town, consider creating a bedtime routine you feel excited about. Now’s the time to incorporate a bubble bath and test out a new face mask, or power down your cell phone and read until your eyes feel heavy. Maybe you’ll even begin writing in the journal you bought awhile ago. Whatever works, stick with it by incorporating it into your regular bedtime routine.