Decompressing is something I'm very familiar with because it's the theme in my household since the birth of my daughter last year. My husband and I have packed schedules and penciling in time to de-stress would just cause further stress. Once in a while we can plan a nice weekend trip or schedule massages but that doesn't do too much for the amount of stress we deal with everyday.
We are not alone in this. My household is perpetually busy, so taking a few minutes for a quiet walk sounds necessary and normal. However, a society where both men and women can "have it all" if they choose comes with great rewards but also large amounts of stress, whether you're married, single, with kids or without kids.
Think of your own daily routine. Do you endure stress at work, school or home? How often are you able to take breaks and unwind for a moment before you jump back in? And what about transitioning from work to home, school to work, or even weekend to weekday? (I mean, how many memes have we seen about Mondays?) For most people, the transition can be dramatic, but we don't always acknowledge that.
Just as everybody handles stress differently, healthy decompression is also unique for every individual. I would like to share with you some of the basics to guide you through finding your own quick and effective ways of decompressing.
1. Make it a ritual!
Find your best method for unwinding and make it part of your routine. My husband's strategy is walking home from work and detouring through the park. Exercise and fresh air are great stress-busters! You may have one go-to calming moment or several options, so make unwinding one of your healthy habits.
2. Find your focus!
Whatever you can do to help you reflect and acknowledge your state will help you to release it and move on. Meditation, yoga, listening to music or just plain ol' thinking are effective ways to re-center. The goal here is to not be bothered by the outside world and give yourself the space to reconnect with your authentic self.
Breathe... and breathe deep! Also focus on areas of your body that need to relax. Common spaces that we hold tension are jaw, shoulders, neck and back, but take inventory of where you feel tense and make a conscious effort to let go of the tightness. You can provide your own quick no-frills relaxation just by paying attention to yourself.
Stress is pressure or tension. What happens when you seal a lid on a pressure cooker? Boom! So talk, write or work it out. Talking or writing about the feeling or source helps to acknowledge and release stress. Having a healthy physical outlet also helps. Exercise and stretching are conducive to relieving stress. Bonus points if you experience some awesome endorphins from exercise!
5. Ignore your phone!
When you're taking the time to decompress, give yourself that time fully. Feel the power in shutting off your phone completely. This guide is for quick decompressions, so whatever urgent business you have going on will likely still be waiting for you when you return to your phone.