With the light waning earlier each evening as I write this in early November, it’s natural to be craving more downtime. After the seemingly endless shopping, working and errand running, it’s a relief to come home and finally rest up — but when we slip into that all-too-familiar routine of screen time and snacks right up until bed, our bodies and minds don’t have a chance to fully recharge. By setting up your space with care and establishing a few simple new routines, you can choose to replenish your energy instead. Take these 12 tips to heart and add your own favorite ways to undo stress in the Comments section.
1. Tend to green plants and fresh flowers. Living plants add fresh oxygen to the air and remove toxins, which is especially important for our homes in fall and winter, when we open our windows less often. But beyond plants’ air-purifying effect, the act of tending to living plants or arranging cut flowers is a wonderful way to let go of stress.
5. Establish boundaries between work and home.A fact of modern life for many of us is that we simply cannot leave work at work. But even if you must do some work at home, setting limits will go far toward preserving your personal space. Setting a cutoff time works well for many people (for example, no work after 9 p.m.), but try to give yourself a whole day completely without work as well.
7. Fill your fridge and pantry with real food. When our schedules are overfilled, it seems easier to rely on takeout, but having healthy ingredients for meals and snacks on hand is often faster and cheaper than going to pick up food from a restaurant. If you’re truly strapped for time, perhaps try swapping out a few takeout meals with healthy snacks and high-quality ready-made food from the market.
9. Practice mindfulness while doing small chores. After dinner, instead of dreading the cleanup, view it as an opportunity to start a mini meditation practice. Focus on your breathing as you attend to the task at hand; when you notice your mind wandering, gently remind yourself to refocus on your breath.
10. Get social. Shake up your weeknight routine by inviting a friend over to share coffee and dessert, or even start a group around a common interest. If a book club sounds too serious, get creative — how about a wine- and cheese-tasting club, a periodical society to discuss favorite magazines, a film club or a crafts night?
12. Develop a simple 10-minute bedtime routine. Before turning in, take just 10 minutes to walk through the house putting things in their places. Run the dishwasher, toss laundry in baskets, put away books and papers, and set out your clothes and bag for the next day.