Let’s check in: It is 6:00pm, my dinner is almost done cooking in the oven (chicken with broccoli rice, mushrooms, and marinara sauce), I just poured myself some kombucha in a wine glass, and I am going on hour eight of work with the expectation of making it to at least a ten or eleven hour day.
I am also currently writing an article about unwinding – something I am, quite ironically, not doing at all regardless of the fact that it is one-hundred percent time to unwind.
Here’s the thing: I find it quite difficult to unwind but I am not so sure that is a bad thing all the time. I have my ways when it’s time to truly take a mental break – I’ll get into those later – but for the most part, I am always plugged in and that’s the way I like it.
Sitting on my couch, watching TV alone, and losing my focus to an ever scrolling screen doesn’t captivate me anymore. In fact, it leaves me quite empty. If I am going to unwind, it’s with a friend at a cute bar, two glasses of wine deep; it’s with my fiancé Adam watching a movie and cuddling on the couch; it’s taking a yoga class; it’s reading a book in bed or visiting a bookstore; it’s preparing an at-home facial; it’s cooking dinner; it’s going to dinner with family; it’s writing a short story.
Unwinding is merely doing anything else that makes me happy that is not work.
And I recognize that my job blurs those lines significantly – but let’s just run with it.
Unwinding is said to be key. It is that thing we have difficulty obtaining unless it’s glass-eyed and deep into scrolling through Instagram mindlessly. That, we all do quite well.
But let’s perhaps aim for a mindful unwinding session.
When I have been working a lot and truly do need to schedule in unwinding moments, I employ a few methods.
How to unwind mindfully:
- Schedule the time you will stop working for the day. If it is in your calendar – “at 6:30 pm, I will stop working” – then it becomes an actual plan that you must keep with yourself. If it is scheduled, then the guilt of not working can creep away.
- Chose to focus on ONE thing when you unwind. If you are going to read, then solely read. If you are watching a movie, don’t have your laptop out. If you are grabbing dinner with a friend, make sure you are present and engaged.
- Commit to the moment. If someone texts you, be okay with the fact that you can get up to date on your phone notifications after you have completed whatever it is you are doing. If this is difficult for you, turn your phone on silent and place it out of sight.
- Find something you love just as much as you love working (if you love work). AKA find a hobby that you genuinely want to participate in.
Overall, I think changing the perspective of what it meant to unwind was the most critical step. I used to equate unwinding with zoning out, becoming absent, removing myself from reality. That is not unwinding, that is detaching – nor is it healthy.
Think about this: if unwinding means finishing a chapter in your book, your unwinding session just bettered your mind and allowed you to relax while also remaining productive.
While I am not unwinding tonight – sometimes you gotta work, ya know? – I have made a commitment to myself that when I do unwind, I am one-hundred percent focused on my activity.
It is difficult for us to unwind because we are consistently stimulated, addicted to our phones, obsessed with our careers, and out of touch with ourselves as individuals.
That sounds scary, or dramatic, or daunting. It is, however, true and a common millennial problem.
What is also true: being stimulated, using our phones on a daily basis, pushing forward to create or impact the career of our dreams, and needing to remind ourselves that self-love goes a long way doesn’t need to be a bad thing.
Unwind mindfully and balance your life, connect with yourself, and fill your schedule with the things that you love.
What are your unwinding rituals?
P.S. She The Seeker helped me unwind the other day with vino and cute clothes and great company! Everything I am wearing above can be found here: Will & Bear Whitman Wool Hat, ASTR Reyna Off the Shoulder Blouse, and Rolla’s East Coast Staple Jean all at She The Seeker.