I’m all about hustling your buns off all day at work, but when you leave the office (even if it’s a home office), you need to let yourself decompress. 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 foolproof 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 setting for iPhones and Priority setting for Android are my favorite price: free.
2. Exercise your brain.
There are a ton of cheap apps out there to help you clear your head so you can get those mental juices flowing. My favorites include Headspace (which is like a gym for your mind and helps you unwind with great programs like Take10), Happier (which offers meditation tips and writing exercises), and Calm (an app that helps you schedule mini-relaxation sessions from 2 to 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. 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 before you make a major move in turning your dream into reality.
4. Be a journal-ista.
Journaling is a great way to find mindfulness and reset your body and mind before you get up tomorrow and seize that day. You can do it digitally, too. I love Day One Journal. For folks without much of an attention span, like me, it facilitates the process, making it easy to just get something down and even add photos and links to your 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 getting more and more popular. They are also my favorite price: free. There are great ones that help you chill, and others step up your career game in humorous, satirical, or inspiring ways. My favorites are Spirit Junkie and The School of Greatness. There are others, like The Bored and Brilliant Project, that give you daily creativity challenges.
6. Network with unusual workouts.
Forget pricey networking drinks or dinners. Start your own networking group, like I did. I’m talking cardio trampoline, aerial yoga, pole dancing, even sword fighting! You can find all kinds of classes on ClassPass, which gives you access to unlimited classes in your area with a monthly membership. I created a group of women in my industry and set up a different fun and quirky class outing for us every month. There's nothing like sweating your butts off in a Beyoncé dance class to encourage bonding.
7. Learn something new.
Steve Jobs believed that the skills that'll help you the most often have nothing to do with your actual job. Case in point: His calligraphy know-how was the basis for many of the fonts we use in our Apple products today. It’s easy to stop trying new things when you get into a regular workweek routine. Don't.
Sign up for something new, like a pottery class, conversational language club, or a knife skills class to amp 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 can change your life for the better in no end of ways.