Rest. It’s something that always seems to elude me. On weekdays, I tend to get 6-7 hours of sleep a night and wake up tired. Weekends are a bit better because I sleep in and take naps. But even then, I still wake up tired. It’s annoying to wake up feeling like you slept four hours when your sleep app says that you got 6.5 hours of sleep.
Plus, after a few days of unrestful sleep, I start to feel the effects. Crankiness and an inability to think clearly are the top two. I spent most nights, working on my laptop and/or phone until around 10ish. Then, I would watch TV until I fell asleep on the sofa.
Enough was enough.
I needed to change my bedtime routine. After some research, I stopped using my laptop at least 30 minutes before I go to bed. It’s a simple change that’s paid off well. Since making that one change, falling asleep is easier and I wake up feeling more rested.
When I get off work, the first thing I want to do is wind down from the day. Those 1-2 hours allow me to calm my mind and get back to my normal.
In Back to Center: Update 4, I briefly mentioned that having a decompression period was a crucial aspect of my relaxation plan.
Since then, my decompression period has become a huge part of my self-care routine. For this update, I wanted to expand upon the specific components that make up my decompression period.
There’s at least one day during the week where by the time I get home, I really don’t want to touch anything electronic other than my TV. I can try to get SOMETHING productive done, but my attempts are futile. My brain wants no parts of productivity sometimes and that’s fine.
Listen to Music
It feels great to grab my noise-cancelling headphones (truly a lifesaver) and listen to instrumental music to wind down. Lately, I’ve been enjoying Joey Alexander, in addition to The Piano Bar and Piano Chill playlists on Spotify.
Sometimes, there’s too much going on in my mind. My mind won’t stop and that prevents me from getting a good night’s rest. When I can feel that coming, I tend to write my thoughts in my journal so my mind can relax. As soon as the pen hits the paper, I feel better.
Take a Nap
Look. LOOK. LOOK! When I tell you naps are the BESTEST (yes, bestest) thing ever…I ain’t lying. Sometimes you need a nap just to regroup yourself. It can start as a power nap and end up being hours long. But when I wake up from a nap, I feel good all over. Whew!
Drink Something Relaxing
Whatever it is (e.g., alcohol, tea, coffee, water, etc.), I hope it helps you feel better. Cheers!
Scream, Laugh, and/or Cry
I have moments when I go through the motions of wanting to laugh, cry, and/or scream.
When I want to laugh:
I watch YouTube videos. My favorite ones are people doing stupid things and kids being kids.
I watch/listen to a lot of comedy shows. My favorites are by Bernie Mac, Katt Williams, Richard Pryor, and Gary Owen.
When I want to cry:
Crying in public is a no-no for me, so I do 99% of my crying sessions at home. As soon as I finish sobbing, I feel sooo much better.
When I want to scream:
Like crying, screaming in public is a no-no. If I’m driving, i just turn the music up and let it out. If I’m at home, I put a pillow over my mouth and let it rip. Immediate relief.
When I get home from a rough day, most of the time I don’t want to watch anything that requires a lot of thought. Watching comedy and reality shows along with cartoons really help me to relax.
I love to read. Being able to escape from reality for a bit works wonders.
That’s it for now. Tell me, how do you decompress? What works best for you?