It's time to relax and decompress
For most of us, hectic days bleed into hectic nights.
Even as things start feeling a bit more “normal” in our worlds, we have to wonder if the old normal is what we want our lives to be like.
It’s pretty common to feel a little out of control. Daily responsibilities take over.
Until we’re left with nothing at the end of the day but a bundle of nerves and a struggle to finally relax.
It can be overwhelming.
Yes, it’s true. But it can be different. You actually can slip off the stress of the day and learn to reliably wind down.
And it doesn’t have to be that hard.
The rewards when you do are immeasurable. Stress levels go down. Your chance of a good night’s sleep goes up.
And if you do get the proper rest, you have more energy during the day, so your days feel less overwhelming too.
So… how do you do it?
First, you have to move your body at some point, each day. If you can manage to wake up and do it in the morning, terrific. But if you can’t, finding a time in the afternoon or evening to at least walk will set the tone for much of what comes next.
Next, prioritize a healthy dinner. Especially if you’ve just exercised, a nice warm meal feels like a reward for a job well done.
Sure, I like to dine out on occasion. But when I cook at home, I know what I’m eating, what’s in it, and what I’ll feel like afterwards.
If you can, share this meal as a way of spending quality time with family. Conversation and connection are so important to your health, something you don’t get by mindlessly eating in front of the TV.
Next, enjoy something that’ll help you relax. For some, that’s a cup of non-caffeinated or herbal tea. I love Patriot Gold for this purpose, because it has the extra benefit of aiding digestion too – a great cap to a nice meal.
I also like to leave my kitchen clean after dinner. Nothing is more stressful – at least to me – than the prospect of dishes left to do at some other time. Because believe me, that “other” time is probably just as busy as right now.
Certainly first thing in the morning is the last time you want to deal with a sink full of dishes.
So I clean as I cook, and take the necessary 10-15 minutes afterwards to finish the rest. You’ll thank yourself in the morning, trust me.
Then, take some time to decompress. For some, that’s reading. Others, it’s a favorite show. Or music. Or just some additional conversation.
Prioritize this time, because a break is what you need and deserve.
The next step is one I sometimes skip, but I regret it if I do. And that’s prep for the next day. I set the coffee up, make sure Ellie’s leash is near the door, and set out my workout clothes for the morning.
You can do a little or a lot, but if your lunch is ready for tomorrow, you will treasure having done this the night before.
Lastly, it’s the final stage. I make sure the temperature in my room is nice & cool. I have a book by the bed, and I’ve put away my phone (because there’s always one more email to read). My teeth are brushed and my dog is snoozing at my feet.
I try to prioritize getting to bed with enough time to enjoy 7-8 hours if I can. You may feel like you need more or less, but for me, I feel it if I don’t get at least 6-7.
And I know that if I’ve done the things above, I’m more relaxed, there’s less on my mind, and getting the rest I need will come easier.
Which means tomorrow I’ll be ready.
For what? Who knows? But it’s always something.
And today’s wind down will prepare me for what’s ahead.