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Escape the Daily Grind: 5 Creative Ways to Use Fiction to Unwind After a Long Day at Work

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

Writer Smita Das Jain with her latest book Twisted Tales and Turns

In our increasingly connected and demanding world, finding respite from the stressors and triggers of the workplace can be a significant challenge. The hustle of everyday work life often leaves us drained, and it becomes vital to find ways to recharge our mental batteries. Fiction, in its diverse forms, offers an excellent avenue for relaxation and stress relief. From enthralling plots to captivating characters, fiction can transport us to another world, providing a sanctuary from the pressures of daily life.

5 Ways to De-Stress With Fiction

There are benefits to reading fiction. Let's explore five ways you can utilise the magic of fiction to de-stress after a demanding day at work.

1. Read Fiction in Bed

Curling up in bed with a novel is more than just a leisurely activity; it can be therapeutic. Engaging with a fictional world before sleep allows your mind to drift away from the worries of the day. It can act as a buffer between the pressures of work and the tranquillity of sleep, easing the transition into a restful slumber. Consider picking a genre that resonates with you, whether it's a fantasy adventure or a romantic tale, and let your imagination do the rest.

Let’s take the example of Sonali*, a busy executive who often finds herself tangled in work thoughts at bedtime. She discovers solace in reading a chapter of her favourite mystery novel every night. The characters and the plot captivate her imagination, allowing her mind to drift away from the daily stresses. Within weeks, she notices better sleep quality, crediting her bedtime reading routine.

2. Listen to Audiobooks on Your Commute

For many, the daily commute is a tedious part of the workday. Audiobooks transform this often-stressful time into an opportunity for escape. By immersing yourself in a well-narrated story, you can turn the drive or train ride into an enjoyable experience, allowing you to arrive at work refreshed or return home with a sense of calm. Services like Audible offer a wide array of options to suit every taste.

Rohit*, who endures a long and monotonous daily commute, used to arrive at work already feeling drained. He then stumbled upon the world of audiobooks. Whether it's a thrilling sci-fi saga or a historical romance, the narrated stories transform his drive into an adventure. He now looks forward to his commutes, arriving at his destination refreshed and with a newfound zest for the day.

A Price to Love by Author Smita Das Jain

Do a stellar academic background, a well-paying job with ample recognition, and a loving life partner imply happiness?

Find out in A Price to Love

3. Read Short Stories During Your Lunch Break

Lunch breaks are meant to be a pause from work, yet often they become an extension of it. Introducing short stories into this break can change that. Compact and compelling short stories offer a brief escape without the commitment of a full novel. Whether it's a mystery thriller or a light-hearted comedy, a short story can provide a quick mental vacation, recharging your energy for the afternoon ahead.

Lunch breaks often become a hurried affair, but not for Esha*. Working in a high-paced environment, she decided to turn her lunchtime into a refuge by reading short stories. Whether exploring Hemingway's crisp prose or the wit of O. Henry, she's transported to different worlds within minutes. These literary excursions became her daily recharge, improving her focus and performance in the afternoon.

4. Read Fiction in a Quiet Place

Finding a peaceful corner to lose yourself in a book can be a transformative experience. Whether it's a park, a library, or a secluded spot at home, reading in quietude can enhance focus and deepen immersion. By allowing yourself to be consumed by a gripping narrative, you're not just reading a story; you're living it. It’s a perfect way to detach from reality for a moment and find solace in the world of imagination.

Meena*, a teacher, finds solace in reading fiction in the hidden corners of the school library during his breaks. The peaceful surroundings allow him to immerse himself entirely in the stories, whether it's the magical world of Harry Potter or the dystopian landscape of Orwell's "1984." The quiet reading moments become his way of disconnecting, providing mental clarity and emotional refreshment.

5. Read Fiction with a Friend or Family Member

Sharing the joy of reading with someone close can add another layer to the experience. Reading a novel together, discussing characters, and debating plot twists can create a bonding experience that goes beyond the pages. Connecting with others through a shared literary journey can be both relaxing and enriching, offering a unique way to unwind and engage with loved ones.

For Tanvi* and her father, reading fiction together became a shared passion. Every weekend, they would take turns reading aloud chapters from classics like "To Kill a Mockingbird" or modern favourites like "The Kite Runner." This shared experience not only helped them connect on a deeper level but also initiated insightful discussions and reflections on the stories they explored. Their reading sessions turned into cherished bonding moments, fostering a unique and lasting connection.

In each of the scenarios explained above, fiction serves as a soothing balm, a mental escape, and a rejuvenating force. By seamlessly integrating reading into various parts of the day, it can become a powerful tool to enhance well-being, connection, and joy in everyday life.

The Last Word: Use Fiction to De-Stress and Relax

The enchanting world of fiction is not just a source of entertainment; it can be a healing force, a friend, and a refuge from the strains of daily life. Whether it's through reading in the comfort of your bed, listening to audiobooks during the commute, enjoying short stories over lunch, finding solace in a quiet place, or sharing a book with someone you love, fiction offers diverse paths to relaxation and rejuvenation. The next time work leaves you feeling worn out, why not reach for a story? Let the magic of fiction guide you to tranquillity, one page at a time.

Twisted Tales and Turns- the latest fiction by Writer Smita Das Jain

What if reality was a carefully crafted illusion, and every truth you thought you knew was a mirage?

Find Out in Twisted Tales and Turns

Fiction can be a useful tool to manage your stress. Start reading fiction today!

* Names changed on request to protect privacy.

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Smita Das Jain is a writer by passion and writes every day. Her debut short story collection 'A Slice of Life' was named among India’s top three fiction works by Writefluence, and her debut novel 'A Price to Love' found a mention in the Top 50 books of 2022 by Delhi Wire. She is also the first-prize winner of the prestigious Bharat Award for Literature-2023 for her short story ‘Purchased Love’, and the only Asian to be named in the Top 20 flash fiction winners list in the Spring 2022 contest of the prestigious US-based Women On Writing (WOW!) magazine for women writers. Her award-winning short stories have been featured in prominent anthologies and literary ezines around the globe. You can know more about Smita's writings at

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