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Learn to decompress before you explode (or otherwise make a mess)

The other morning the strangest thing happened. Instead of merely fantasizing that I had a full day of absolutely nothing to do, I made it happen.

I rescheduled my appointments. Moved assignments into another day. Worked out and showered at my own pace. Then was in the bedroom decompressing by 11 a.m. It was just me and Lt. Joe Kenda on “Homicide Hunter” streaming on TV until I drifted off into a nap.

The most amazing thing is that I did all this WITHOUT guilt. Without worrying about stuff that “should” be getting done. And without simply filling my decompression time with other tasks that have been lingering in the background.

That’s right. I did NOT prune the backyard ferns or touch up paint on the kitchen cabinets. I took time out just for me.

Relaxation as unchartered territory

For many of us, having a day – or even an hour – with nothing on our schedule is indeed the strangest thing. It’s instead become the norm to have an overflowing load of work, errands, household tasks, background to-dos and about 17 other things begging for our attention at any given moment of any given day.

These obligations whip us into a whirlwind of activity that keeps us bulldozing forward all day long. Keep it up long enough and we end up burnt up, burnt out – or exploding in a frenzy of stress.

But you don’t have to take it to the burnout level. Take a decompression day when you notice you need one and you can recharge your energy before you explode.  

Signs you need a Decompression Day

  • Your brain feels like a Yahtzee cup, with endless thoughts banging around like scattered dice.
  • You may feel lightheaded or as if you’re coming down with a cold, flu or other illness. Yes, our bodies know when we’re on overload. And they may try to slow us down with physical limitations.
  • Everything makes you cranky. Nothing is fun. Even the fun things are overshadowed by the thoughts of non-fun things that are next on your schedule.
  • Your head is living in the future, thinking about the next thing on your schedule without truly paying attention to the thing in front of you at the moment. Our bodies are designed to handle 24 hours at a time. If we keep piling on 48 hours by continuing to fret about yesterday or 72 hours by adding worry about tomorrow to the mix, our bodies are likely to rebel with some type of ache, pain or illness.
  • You look and feel like hell.

We are human BEINGS, not human DOINGS.

How to lighten your overall load

Prune your schedule. Remove anything that brings more anguish than pleasure.

Learn to say No. Don’t take on new responsibilities unless they bring more pleasure than anguish.  

Delegate. Ask your spouse, kids, neighbors for help, or hire someone to take care of certain tasks that continue to bog you down. God invented landscaping and handyman services for a reason.

Ease into sleep. Schedule at least ONE HOUR of time between your last task of the day and sleep – without your phone – to simply chill out with meditation, music, pleasure reading or mindless TV. If you go to sleep frazzled and exhausted, you’re likely to wake up frazzled and exhausted.

Remember you are human. Yeah, this one is a tough one for those of us who think we are Superwoman or Superman. We have limits on how much we can do before, as mentioned, we explode.

One more tip is to schedule decompression time into each and every day. You don’t have to wait until you need a full day of doing nothing to re-energize. Take time each morning and night to amp up and unwind, respectively.

The World’s Best Bullet Journal can help with that. Or feel free to create your own morning and evening rituals that give you the time and space you need each day to stop doing, doing, doing and simply BE.

Want help becoming a human BEing instead of a human DOing? Schedule free coaching session now.

Do Something Radical: Take a Day Off – VIDEO

Give Yourself a Break – PODCAST

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