How To Unwind After a Stressful Day

Ahh the day in the life of a recruiter. Some days you rise gently and the sun’s already waiting. A random playlist throws out a banger as your pace hits the beat. Your legendary local barista hands you a coffee… “It’s on us today pal. Enjoy!”

You get to the crossing as the green man greets you. Without breaking pace, you smile. It’s going to be ‘one of those days.’

You pick up the phone. It’s an offer. They’re going in strong because they love the candidates. Yep. Both of them. The phone goes down as the smile grows wider. THEY’RE ON HOLD someone shouts. They’re excited. They want news.

Everything you touch turns to gold thereafter. You’re a winner.

This is just the world letting you know. 

And then… there are other days.

Everything’s turned to mush before you get to the office. Arriving home three hours late, you pine for no one to ask you anything. Lest you have to hear more of your own voice.

But they do.

The wet dog starts by physically questioning why your shirt’s so clean.

Then your lovely family bombards you with questions.

You’ve got three voicemails waiting.

Dinner needs cooking.

“Did you get my text about the rice?”

“Oh the hot water’s stopped working for some reason.”

And all of this without a whimper about both candidates accepting a counter offer. Your other half’s already heard that story, and they feigned interest the first time. Unless there’s a twist, the 27th rendition might not live in the memory bank.

It’s difficult at this point not to turn into the Incredible Hulk. Ripping the shirt from your back, green with envy at anyone who doesn’t harbour the same stress levels. Your shoulders struggle under the weight of the world.

If only you could unwind.

Forget it all. De-stress. Relieve the tension in your increasingly spasming neck. There it goes again.

Well, today… you can. I’ve got some top advice for you. To prolong, not only your career. But your relationships. Happiness. And possibly, life.

And if you’re going to live longer, you’ll need a bit more commission. So let’s turn this advice into the brand that makes you more successful while we’re at it.

Here’s the down-low on downtime from the grind.

1. Breathe

*Breathe in* for as long as it takes to, ever so slowly, whisper this sentence, in your head.

Then.

*Breathe out* for as long as it takes to, ever so slowly, whisper this sentence, in your head.

I’m not suggesting you change speed-dial#1 to the Dalai Lama, unless that’s your thing. But if you did, he’d tell you breathing’s one of the best things you can do to relax.

In fact you can even abate “stress-related health problems from panic attacks to digestive disorders”  just by breathing. It’s a controllable action. So by regulating your body, you regain self control and peace of mind.

Here are some breathing exercises to try if the one at the top didn’t work.

2. Turn off

Your phone. Your TV. Your computer. Your lights.

Don’t even turn the TV on. Turn it off at the wall and have some peace.

If you’re already stressed, inviting the Cillit Bang bloke round to shout at you’s only going to make it worse. Go ‘old school’ and have a conversation about life. Not work. Catch up with your family or your friends. Someone who can put a smile on your face.

It’s been proven looking at a phone or computer before going to bed makes getting to sleep harder. So having a break will help you sleep and improve your health.

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3. Work out

Whatever your thing, exerting yourself physically, even by a small amount will change your mood.

You could go for your ‘one rep max’, or simply stretch.

Even if it’s just slowly tensing your muscles and then relaxing while breathing. Do something different with your body. That could be a walk or it could be knocking seven shades out of a punch bag.

4. Go outside

Fresh air flowing through your lungs will invigorate you physically and mentally. It’ll clear your mind and sinuses, aiding the breathing suggestions above.

Why not take the dog? He loves you. And actually wouldn’t mind hearing the story about the counter offers, as long as you wouldn’t mind throwing that stick occasionally?

If you can go somewhere with greenery or water, do. With no intention other than being in the moment.

Run Forest

5. Say ‘Thanks’

The world grinding you down’s a one-way-ticket to stress. And when you’re stressed, you count all the things currently going wrong. The fact you got home late pales insignificance to the counter offers. They were so keen? And that shirt’s probably ruined.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Only… things aren’t that bad. You’re probably the top 1% for privilege in the world. You have a roof over your head. You have a job. You have the bare necessities.

And while it may seem counter intuitive, gratitude’s extremely healthy for you. Think about all the things going right in your life. And if one of those things has ears… say it out loud for them.

6. Play

Play’s something you do less and less of as you get old. But it’s a huge part of life and very healthy. Even thinking back to your childhood, where you had time to play, makes you smile.

So do it now. There’s nothing stopping you.

And it doesn’t matter what you do.

I play guitar at the end of the day. I go into a sort’ve trance. An unknown period of time later I come to and feel at ease.

But you can play anything. Play cars with your kid on the carpet. Throw your daughter an egg to catch to test her reflexes in the kitchen. Break out Battleships with your other half.

Whatever floats your boat. Or, in this case, sinks it.

7. Music

Hear it. Don’t just listen. Put on an album. Something old. A classic. Your favourite. Turn it up and dance in the kitchen. Or light some candles to accompany dinner.

Music has incredible healing powers that are difficult to replicate. Set the scene for the evening by choosing a genre easy to chill to. Be it Jazz, Blues or if your day’s been like that, Rage Against the Machine.

8. Life admin

Despite how much you detest the thought of doing a chore, the sense of relaxation afterwards is deeper. Could be a small task like mowing the lawn, which I particularly enjoy.

Or you could go for the mother load and clean your bedroom.

Even just having a hot bath will relax you. Eat healthy. Trim your beard… if you have one. Have an early night. Going to bed with things in order will mean the next day you’re likely to wake up refreshed and in a better mood.

9. Read

I know you’ve been reading CVs all day but that’s not what I’m suggesting. I’m suggesting you read something non-digital. You know like a real life book. With paper. Ideally in bed. Lighting set in the sweet spot. Reading, like the other suggestions above, is also good for you.

Make it a novel.

Something with a plot that whisks you off to another place.

The less you have to think about your own troubles, the more you’ll be able to unwind, and the easier they’ll be to deal with.

10. Drink

Stay with me.

Water’s one of the best things you can give to your body. It cleanses your skin. And contains nothing but good stuff. This is a sweeping statement, but I’m going to guess… you need to drink more water. Everyone does.

And doing it will help you feel better.

On the flip side of that.

If, like me, you like the odd thimble of rouge. A glass before bed will not only improve your mood, but also your sleep. Remember though: Always rouge in moderation. Especially on a school night.


Keep an eye out for signs of stress in your friends and loved ones.

Everyone has bad days. 

It’s why we set up Hope You’re Well. A set of criteria for Hunted partners to offer their staff to promote positive mental wellbeing. And something we shout about regularly, either on social media, or in accreditation via Badges on the platform.

But sometimes the small things matter. So now you’re armed to the teeth with ways to unwind, share the wisdom.

Take the initiative, and give others a helping hand.

You’ll both be better off for it.