As I have gotten older, I have taken more thought into the various ways people unwind, de-stress, and relax. Obviously as we age, the more responsibilities we have. Gone are the days of homework or sports practice or music lessons being the only main things we have to focus on. We have work, maybe kids, commitments, and bills! Because of this, it is even more important to find a way out of that work/to-do list mode so we can actually enjoy some of our days. Especially those extra stressful ones.
Simply put, being a functioning adult comes with a lot more. (Does anyone else get annoyed that being an adult seemed so awesome when you were little because you could eat what you want, drive where you want, or go to Toys’R’Us anytime you want? And now we just order what’s healthy, do anything we can to minimize time in the car, and well, Toys’R’Us lost most of its appeal.) I digress. Haha it happens….. But we have so many “must-dos” on our plates that it is crucial to find the things that are “just because”.
I mostly started paying attention to this when my fiance and I moved in together over a year ago. He has a very stressful job, works long hours, and is in charge of people whereas I have busy days at work that require focus and planning… and about a million projects to manage outside of it from freelancing and the blog. We both process stress differently (and have different kinds of stress) which made me start to reflect on the things we both do that help us unwind. (And how we can be respectful of each other’s preferred methods).
I’m chatty by nature, him less so, SO when he gets home, he likes to just relax, hang out on the couch and watch tv. Basically, his version is zoning out with some entertainment. Because of this, I try (keyword is try) to keep bombarding him with any news or excess information until we’ve both had a chance to eat and unwind (we are both those who suffer from hanger).
I find that usually if I am in front of the TV and not watching something I’m invested in, out pops my computer and I’ll start blogging, writing, wedding planning, answering emails, or something so it can be relaxing but also I’m still being a bit wired and productive. Reading is actually my preferred way to unwind because once I’m into a book, I am committed. It’s part of the reason I love it so much. It relaxes my mind more than anything and I just completely submerse myself into that world.
I decided to talk to friends and notice my own preferences and behaviors and figured out some great options if you are in need of finding an activity or method that allows you to just let go.
I love hot water and have been known (and lectured) about the temperature of my showers by most everyone who I have lived with so baths are definitely a treat! They are so good for your muscles and when you put in little additions like epsom salts or essential oils with relaxing music and candles… you are essentially giving yourself an oasis of calm.
Like I mentioned above, I have a super active imagination and as a writer, am in my head all day thinking so reading actually lets me go into someone else’s mind and life. I love how totally swept away I can get so this is by far, my favorite way to unwind.
Cards, Heads Up, Solitaire, Catch Phrase, Banana Grams, Bejeweled…literally anything that will keep you in the game mindset is perfect for those of you who are competitive by nature. Just be careful, if you are a phone game player, that extra screen time may be counter productive.
Any sort of class, group fitness, or even some alone time on the stair master can really help drain that extra stress from your body via sweat. It’s also nice to get in your body when we spend most of our days in our head. So really, any physical activity is good 😉
It’s fun, it can be mindless, but it also adds some creativity and inspiration that may get you moving on starting a fun project outside of your responsibilities that can serve as another unwinding tactic.
I find that getting lost in the kitchen is not only invigorating for my senses but keeps me focused on the task at hand.
You never know, sometimes all you need is a scrubbing brush and some bleach or cleaner and you can really feel de-stressed. I think the people who like doing this and use it as a way to unwind, enjoy the physical removal of dirt and grime. I get it!
“Get ya head in the game!” -High School Musical
Fresh air, nature and pretty scenery can definitely serve your mind and soul well.
It’s like cooking to me except it keeps you outside and in nature. Also, the excitement and odd miracle of watching something grow is pretty phenomenal.
It won’t get more zen than this! The mediation at the end too simply can’t be beat when it comes to shutting down and unwinding.
I recently started doing this and I love it! It absolutely helps and makes you feel great. I was so relaxed, I once just fell asleep on the table with all the needles in! I am a firm believer in mixing Eastern and Western medicine and I have absolutely loved (and found solutions) in acupuncture!
It’s expensive but really, need I say more? The very idea of it makes my whole body feel better already!
Painting or Arts and Crafts
I love coloring books, panting, friendship bracelet making, or anything that allows me to just focus and work with my hands. It really is oddly soothing. To make it less stressful though, relinquish any sort of perfectionist tendencies.
While I was on vacation, during the moments of down time, giving myself a break from the sun, or wanting to relax, I really loved pouring myself some rose and kicking back with a puzzle (of surfboards of course). I found it to be a great unwinding activity… as well as a group one! My nephew definitely sat with me a few times and helped out too!