Monday, 26 January 2015

Top 5 Ways to Relieve Stress After a Long Day on Set

Warning: This blog post is going to get a bit personal. 

Not to brag or anything, but we here at Swagger have had an amazing 2015 thus far. We've been working on TONS of amazing projects for some really exciting clients, and we are busting our proverbial behinds to get these projects out into the world. But as stimulating as our work is, no one is a 24-hour work robot and we all need to find a way to decompress.

I myself have spent some long hours on set and in the office recently and no matter what, I think it's absolutely crucial to my creativity, organizational ability, and downright sanity to schedule in some time at the end of the day to relax and refuel, no matter what time I get home. So, whether you spend long hours on set like me or are just looking for some new ways to unwind, I thought I'd share some of my favorite ways to relieve stress.

1. Eat your weight in tacos.


This is definitely not a strategy to employ at the end of EVERY stressful work day, but now and again let's face it: you deserve some tacos. I myself live dangerously close to Tacos A Go-Go and admit that on more than one occasion I have ordered so many tacos to go that while I'm standing in line I pretend like I'm getting text messages from my "friend" who is "texting me what they want me to order for them". Whatever. Worth it.

Pro-tip: The barbacoa tacos at Tacos A Go-Go are CHOICE. For a vegetarian highlight, opt for the mushroom and pepper quesadilla. Oh yeah.

2. Take a long hot shower with a fiiiiiine glass of scotch.


I love washing the day off of me with the assistance of a sensible adult beverage. Also, notice I said shower "with" a glass of scotch. Yeah, that's because you're taking that scotch (or beer or chocolate milk or other pleasing drink of your choice) into the shower with you. Stay in there as long as you like. Crank it up as hot as you please. It's YOU time now. 

Pro-tip: If you like 'em a little angry like me, try Lagavulin 16. #scotch

3. Press play on your favorite podcast.


Sure, it's easy to collapse on the couch, pop on the television, and numb out. But let's face it, a lot of what you watch when you're in that kind of mood is just noise. Flashy, noisy noise that doesn't leave you feeling relaxed, just like time has passed. That's why I opt for podcasts instead when I've had a particularly rough day. When you're listening only, you're forced to be a bit quieter, calmer, and you focus a little bit better. Even though "forces you to focus" may sound like you have to work harder, I find that that kind of pointed focus is actually far more relaxing. It's like how when you multitask a million things in a day, you tend to walk away feeling completely unproductive, but if you finish just one solid task, you walk away satisfied. 

Plus, because you're not watching anything, your hands/eyes are free to roam about and take care of some much-needed house chores, like laundry or dishes, upping your productivity even when you're beat. I don't know about you, but these things are much less likely to happen if I'm zoning out in front of the tube.

Pro-tip: If you aren't familiar with This American Life, then change that. This weekly show is a master class for anyone who is involved in the telling of stories. Download the app and you get 500+ hour-long episodes free. Ira Glass will change your life. 

4. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.


Sometimes when work is overwhelming, you can lose sight of why you do it and why you're proud of your abilities. So, watch a video, reread a project you're particularly proud of, or pull up that old email where the client was overjoyed and showering you with compliments. Sure, it sounds a bit narcissistic, and I'm not suggesting you spend 3 hours of your evening meticulously crafting a scrapbook of your achievements, but taking 5 minutes to think about an old project that truly made you proud can do wonders for motivating you to look forward to the next day, rather than dread it. Make a conscious effort to consider your achievements, then let it all pass away and enjoy your night knowing that even that awesome stuff is not all that defines you.

Pro-tip: Quick! Right now write down three things you are proud of that you can reference in the future. Can't think of a single project you are proud of? You might have more to worry about than a long day at the office. 

5. Go to bed early.


Yes, you can sleep when you're dead. But also, you can sleep now! And you'll probably be glad you did. I always am. I've definitely regretted not sleeping far more times than I've regretted sleeping too much. This is a no-brainer.

Pro-tip: Can't sleep? There's an app for that! No seriously, I've recently downloaded a couple of apps that hypnotize me to sleep, and so far, they seem to work pretty well at getting me to chillax and slip off on that great big steamship to Dreamtown posthaste. (I'm not going to mention the apps by name now, though, for liability's sake, just in case they are actually brainwashing me into clucking like a chicken or liking asymmetrical necklines. Jury's still out, but it's worth a shot!)

What are some of your favorite ways to mellow out after a long day? A woman can only eat so many tacos (so they tell me), and 2015 doesn't look to be slowing down any time soon, so I could always use some more ideas in my arsenal! Leave your tips in the comments below. 




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