That conversion can be personal. Maybe you change into your favorite sweats, make a cup of tea, slowly cook a favorite meal, meditate, or do something else to channel your state.
But it can also feel difficult when so much of our labor—whether for work or our family and personal lives—occurs at home. That’s why, if you’re looking for a way to shake off the day and get into a state of self-care, we humbly recommend a good stretch.
Stretching at night is beneficial for both your body and mind. It can create space in joints that have become congested from being in one position all day and release endorphins that promote relaxation and calmness.
“Stretching should be an important part of your evening routine,” yoga instructor Claire Grieve previously told Well + Good. “Regular stretching helps release everyday tension, stress, and anxiety. Stretching your hips is especially useful for clearing out emotional debris from the day. Stretching in a passive, restorative way will prime your body for sleep and help you enter a state of relaxation. Relaxation.”
If that sounds like a good plan to you, try this seven-minute end-of-day stretching routine led by Kat Atienza, founder of The Sessions in Brooklyn. Your hips, along with your back, sides and glutes, will have some delicious opening and lengthening.
“All of these movements are really great for helping you stay active and mobile and release any tension you may be holding at the end of the day,” Atienza says.
You’ll start with some exaggerated shoulder rolls and jerks where Atienza urges you to “speak really clearly,” meaning that your motion should be deliberate and big. Then you lower the body by stretching for your lats and your upper/middle back, aka the thoracic spine. Then Atienza leads a short stretch through your hips, quads, and hamstrings into a series of runner’s lunges, hitting that thoracic spine again with a literal twist. He rounds that out with a “juicy” 90-90 stretch with some love for your lower body, and ends with some comfortable knee hugs that will help you find relief for your lower back.
Expect to feel long, loose and warm and ready for wherever the night takes you. Hopefully, it’s somewhere comfortable.