It’s almost 12 months since the UK government issued ‘’start working from home where you possibly can’’ instructions to the nation. So much has changed since then. Those who hadn’t done the whole working-from-home-thing before could be forgiven for thinking the day was defined by pyjamas until noon, martinis shortly after, and an afternoon spent firing off a few emails from the bath.

How differently things have turned out. In fact, it seems that away from the central office, we’re working longer hours than ever, with efficiency and productivity hard to maintain from the home office setting. Indeed, Bloomberg reported in April of last year that ‘’the pandemic workday has obliterated (our) work-life balance’’, with the average working day now three hours longer than in pre-COVID times. With the job market tighter and more competitive as 2020 wore on, we assume that the days have gotten even longer since.

It’s essential, then, for your own sense of wellbeing and worth, that you make sure you’re winding down thoroughly after work. If you’re looking for new inspiration on how to do just that, then why not try these 5 ways to de-stress after a tough day at the (home) office. 

AN AFTERNOON SOAK 

Is there anything better than a mid-afternoon soak? It just feels so indulgent, and gives us that chance to draw a line under the day, away from your devices and alone with our thoughts. 

When it comes to baths, you can make them even more relaxing according to what you put in them. Moreover, lots of bath bubbles, foams and bombs are specifically designed to help reduce stress and soothe anxiety. We’re big fans of Lush Cosmetics 4:20 bath bomb; adding this smoky sandalwood, patchouli and cannabidiol bath bomb can help you reset after a day in the home office.  The product contains cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD oil, which has gained some momentum in recent years due to its potential for having non-intoxicating but relaxing qualities.

When it came to choosing to put CBD oil in their bath, the guys over at lush said “One of the things we’ve heard a lot from our customers is that CBD helps them feel good. So it’s only natural that we’ve worked on adding CBD oil in some bath products  – if it can help someone feel a little better, and supercharge that self-care in a safe and ethical way, it’s worth a try, right?” Indeed, though the science regarding the efficacy of CBD for stress relief is still in its infancy, we just love the aroma of the stuff in our bath! Any potential relaxation is simply an added bonus.

While it’s not advised to put CBD oil straight in the bath, many people also incorporate it into their beauty routine as a form of self care. British Vogue recently suggested that “CBD offers a three-pronged skincare approach – it’s anti-ageing, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory’’, 

To source CBD oils in the UK, make sure you’re ordering from a legitimate supplier; always check the label of every CBD product that you’re buying. Trusted CBD products should have back panels that include a disclaimer from the FDA in the USA, and the FSA and MHRA in the UK. Additionally, check for third party lab testing results. Reputable sellers should have this readily available for customers who would like to view it.

DRAW A DISTINCT DIVIDING LINE BETWEEN WORK & PLAY

Perhaps the best way to de-stress after a tough day is also the most simple; you first have to draw a distinct dividing line between work and play before you can fully settle into your evening. 

This needn’t have to be a big song and dance – although, come to think of it, that would be a wicked way to transition into ‘play’ mode – but rather, a ceremonious shutting down of your laptop, a setting of your ‘out of office’ reply, and perhaps even a standing down of your home office set up for the evening. Out of sight, out of mind, and all that. 

COOK YOURSELF A CHEFFY MEAL

After a busy day, another stretch spent in the kitchen doesn’t always feel appealing. During stressful times, it’s so easy to just reach for the phone and order in some comfort food for the fourth time of the week, but let’s be honest; this doesn’t serve to destress you. In fact, a diet heavy on the saturated fats, salts and sugars is probably making you feel much worse.

On the flipside, a nourishing, balanced diet, full of omega-3 rich fatty fish, avocado, nuts and probiotics, may actually help to reduce stress. 

And that’s even before we even consider the therapeutic, stress-relieving properties of the process of cooking. After a tough day staring into various screens, stepping away from your devices and into the more analog, manual environment of the kitchen can be relaxing and rewarding in equal measure.  

So, instead of going for a takeaway or a microwave meal, why not ask yourself; what would Nigella do? She always seems super-chilled, after all!

TAKE A MOMENT

We’re not the first to extol the many virtues of mindful meditation, and we certainly won’t be the last. But the ubiquity of the ancient Buddhist practice hasn’t dented any of its effectiveness. In fact, it’s believed that as many as 500 million people meditate globally, with one in five of those people using ‘taking a moment’ specifically for stress relief.

Meditation is a particularly powerful tool when considering work related stress; in 2018, 52% of employees offered mindfulness to their staff to help. If you’re keen to start on your journey, check out these IDEAL steps to better mindful meditation. And breathe…

SIMPLE STRETCHES

If a fully fledged 30 minutes spent doing yoga with Adrienne feels like too much of an undertaking after a tough day in the home office, then why not consider some simple stretches to enjoy similar benefits?

Rather than witter on (we understand you’re keen to log off and chill out), we’ll instead point you in the direction of these 5 IDEAL stretches to help you relax after a day in the office.

And if you’re keen to explore even more stress-busting strategies, then here are 5 free stress relief strategies for Winter. Don’t worry, you can apply these in Spring, too!