When I got home, I thought I should be relieved- I was done with a looong day at work. But somehow I still felt completely overwhelmed- like I was in overdrive and I couldn’t slow down. I didn’t know what to do first. Should I fold laundry, and then do paperwork? Or should I do paperwork first and then if I got around to the laundry I’d fold it then? Or should I make that dinner I’d been craving all week, and leave the other work til later in the night? Shower now, or later? How am I even going to get this all done when I can barely keep my eyes open?! All of these seemingly benign questions swirled in my head until I nearly had a panic attack. Thankfully a little light went on inside my head, and I realized the FIRST thing I needed to do was NOTHING.
I put on some music (the new Adele album….a-mazing. I highly suggest it), poured myself a small glass of Pinot Grigio, and sat at my kitchen table with my feet up on a chair (opted against the couch or bed for fear I’d be asleep in no time). I took small sips of the wine, and sat for a few minutes just listening to the music. It didn’t take too long for my over-active brain to say “oh, I should grab that Fitness Journal I got in the mail and read it” or “I should bring my planner over here and see what my week looks like” or “I should grab my Blackberry and text a few people, or write a few quick emails”. And I had to consciously tell myself NO. I forced myself to just leave those things alone for a bit; I needed time to unwind and enjoy each moment.
Slowly, after the first 5 minutes or so, I began to really relax. My brain started slowing down and was thinking about things other than work. I had enjoyable thoughts about life, and they had nothing to do with appointments, deadlines, or dates. I looked over at the clock and decided I would stay in the seat for 20 minutes, just relaxing.
It was amazing. It was probably the closest I’ve ever come to meditating. I closed my eyes, put my hands behind my head, and took a few deep breaths. I listened to Adele’s soulful voice and the powerful sound of her piano. I let the music really go THROUGH me. I was as calm and relaxed as I had been in months. Each minute was more relaxing than the one before. I realized that when I LET myself be relaxed, it can be quite nice! That 20 minutes was a lifesaver. When it was done, I got up from the chair and felt refreshed, and replenished with energy. I was able to get all the tasks on my list accomplished, AND I even made time to watch the Celtics game.
I am constantly reminding my clients, friends, and family members that Balance is key in life. Balance of work, play, exercise, sleep, healthy eating, reasonable goals, etc. If we make the important things a priority and maintain balance, we’ll achieve our goals. Saturday night was life’s reminder that I need to heed my own advice. And boy, am I glad I did. This week’s goal for me is to build that 20 minute session into my schedule BEFORE the stress takes over as much as it had last week.
Has this ever happened to you? What are your ways of de-stressing and relaxing?