How to Have a Relaxing Evening

Three Methods:Leaving Work at WorkCreating a Relaxing EnvironmentDoing Relaxing Things

If you've had a stressful week, you may need to give yourself a night to relax. Self-care is important for doing your best at work and in relationships. By leaving work at work, creating a relaxing environment, and doing something relaxing, you should be able to have a relaxing evening.

Method 1
Leaving Work at Work

  1. 1
    Set a time at which you will stop working and stick to it. This is especially important if you do part of your work at home (such as grading papers or homework). You’ll want to make sure you can actually put off the work and that you won’t be negatively affected by not completing it by a certain time. Worrying over the consequences of foregoing work will likely ruin a relaxing evening.[1]
    • Remember that taking time to relax will actually help you work better later.
  2. 2
    Take a few minutes to unwind from your day at work or school. You’ll want some time just to process your day. Just because work was stressful, doesn’t mean your evening has to be. Acknowledge the experiences that stressed you out and the accompanying emotions. Then let them go.[2]
  3. 3
    Enjoy something humorous. Often finding something you can laugh at such as a silly joke or a satirical television program can help distract you from a stressful day. Laughing can help you transition from feeling stressed to feeling relaxed.[3]

Method 2
Creating a Relaxing Environment

  1. 1
    Turn the lights down. If you want your mind to relax, make sure to remove any blue light from the room, as this activates our brains. You can adjust the TV picture settings and use a program like f.lux to change the screen to orange tones in the evening. This will help your mind relax.[4][5]
  2. 2
    Put on some music or some relaxing nature sounds. Music helps to make your body feel more relaxed by potentially decreasing blood pressure and by slowing your heart rate and breathing. Nature sounds can also relax you. Either or even both can be effective (there are sound tracks that include nature sounds and music called biomusic).[6][7][8]
    • Keep the volume at a reasonable level to relax.[9]
  3. 3
    Make sure the temperature is comfortable. If you are too cold or hot, it will be hard to relax. Use a blanket if the house has a chill. Use a fan if it’s too hot, or drink something cold. Either way, if you’re comfortable, you’ll be able to relax better.[10]
  4. 4
    Turn your phone off. Turn off notifications on your phone and turn it on silent or off. Better yet, put it in another room. This will keep your relaxing evening from being interrupted. Seeing the notifications on your phone will energize you and possibly distress you depending on whether they relate to work or some other obligation.[11]

Method 3
Doing Relaxing Things

  1. 1
    Drink something hot. This could be herbal tea or hot cocoa. From the warmth rising from the cup, to the pleasant aromas of your favorite hot drink, you will find that a hot drink relaxes you. Even holding a hot drink can make you feel friendlier.[12] Avoid anything with too much caffeine such as regular coffee or black tea, as caffeine increases energy and can increase anxiety in some people.[13]
  2. 2
    Do some yoga. If you’re struggling to get out of your head or having a hard time relaxing, try yoga. You don’t need to do much—just 5 to 10 minutes can help. And there’s no need to do any position that’s too hard or twisty to get the effect. The child’s pose (laying face down with your knees tucked up under you and your hands stretched out in front of your head) or the corpse pose (lying flat on your back with your palms face-up at your sides) can be easy poses to relax with. Once you’ve done yoga, you should be able to relax better.[14]
  3. 3
    Recline. Reclining at a 135 degree angle is best for your back. Sitting in a cushy recliner can make you feel more at ease whether you’re watching television or reading a book. You might even get so relaxed that you fall asleep there. Just make sure you aren’t holding your hot drink if you start to feel like your dozing off.[15]
  4. 4
    Do something you want to do. Sometimes you might judge yourself too much for doing things you want to do that. This can keep you from practicing basic self-care. Sometimes self-care is simply giving yourself permission to do something you don’t usually let yourself do, like read a book for fun or binge-watch a new season of your favorite program. You’ll be surprised how much giving yourself permission do something you really want to do helps you relax.[16]
  5. 5
    Order food in or eat snacks. Unless cooking is relaxing to you, order food in for dinner or eat snacks. You can even indulge a little and have cookies for dinner or some other fun snack. You can get your favorite dish from your favorite restaurant. Either way, do what helps you relax.[17]
  6. 6
    Put off any tasks that aren’t urgent or do them before you start to relax. This is really important. It’s not fun to realize you really need to do laundry in the middle of your relaxing evening. If laundry really can wait (you still have something reasonable and clean to wear the next day), then give yourself permission to put it off. If there are chores you absolutely must do that evening, do them first before beginning your relaxation.[18][19]
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    Draw a bath. Keep the water warm, but not too hot. You can use bubble bath if you like (This can irritate some sensitive skin). You can even take your hot drink with you. A warm bath can help you relax (and relax your muscles) after a long day. Just be careful not to fall asleep in the tub![20]


  • Feel free to personalize your relaxing evening.
  • Don't judge yourself if you're having trouble relaxing--that will only make relaxing harder.


  • This advice is not meant to replace the advice of a mental health professional.
  • If you are experiencing regular anxiety that keeps you from enjoying your evenings, you may need to see a mental health professional.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Relaxation Techniques | Emotional Health