It seems to have become the norm to talk about how stressed we are, how none of us have the time to catch up…let me just check my calendar for a month from now….how we’re overwhelmed by all the things we have to do. Did you know over 500,000 people are suffering frorm work-related stress, depression or anxiety. Add on everyone else that has these issues from life impacts, well you get the point, that’s a lot of people. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been there and to be honest I still have one foot in that camp, but recently I’ve been doing some serious life evaluation….again.
It’s funny what happens when you’re forced to focus on what’s important. If you were to drop dead tomorrow, what would you be annoyed about missing out on? Yes, we all have bills to pay, but what do you do after work? I know we shouldn’t live for the weekend and we’re always told to do what you love, I’m pretty fortunate because I do enjoy my work, I work with good people and my brain is tested on a daily basis. I still prefer my time off – this is still relatively novel now I’m employed again, I actually have evenings and weekends off, massive quality of life upgrade!
Back to the question at hand, how do you decompress? Why is it important? Surely it happens when you just chill out and watch some TV?
As it turns out, no. Watching TV doesn’t really help nearly as much as going for a walk, or doing an activity you really enjoy.
If I’m honest, if I’ve had a mind melting day, the TV just hurts my brain. I’d rather just go for a quiet walk, no podcasts, no audiobooks, just the sound of birds, the wind and possibly cows…there’s a lot around here.
As I said, I’ve been contemplating things a lot of late. I love being active, always have. Now I’m not talking about exercise classes – although I do enjoy them, I’m thinking more free form. So I’ve really decided to focus on things that bring me joy.
Just look at that grin on my face while I’m hanging from a wall! I love a bit of bouldering, I may not be able to do lots, but I can do some and it makes me very happy! I’ve also been forcing the husband out of the house more and dragging him on walks – well not so much dragging, more gentle prodding. We recently went to Thetford Forest and I managed to walk 6 miles!! That’s the most I’ve walked in one go in months. Dead pleased.
Seriously I don’t have time
You wanna bet? I’ve started to zone in on what has to get done, versus what I think has to get done. Big difference. I prioritise my work and I get it done within working hours. I turn off around 6pm – yes the odd time I have to work evenings, but these are becoming rarer.
As for blogging and vlogging, yes I enjoy these things but I’d rather go for a walk with my husband, or go climbing, or spend time with friends. You may have noticed that I post once a week now, sometimes twice, it depends on what my plans are. This is the important thing – I make the plans and my blogging/vlogging fits in around it…it’s a hobby that I still want to enjoy, rather than putting extra pressure on myself to post constantly.
I’m getting better at saying no, both to myself and others. I’m not adding extra stress without good cause – I’m very much aware of the physical impacts now! You don’t know how lucky you are to have good health until it’s gone.
But what about the kids? OK a bit harder to deal with, maybe you can take it in turns with your partner to have some time to yourself? Even if it’s just an hour. Maybe you’ve a grandparent that is delighted to look after them for a wee bit? Is there a good friend you can bribe with wine and chocolate? You could take them with you and have a mini adventure! Where there’s a will.
OK, we get it, you like to move
More than that. With these additions to my week, my mental and physical health are improving. I’m becoming more positive – which I think is having a massive impact on my physical health to be honest, I feel like I’m better able to cope with the bad days.
Last weekend, I barely checked my email, or Facebook or Instagram or any other social platform. My head didn’t ache from information overload and when Monday rocked around, I felt ready and I had ideas buzzing around my head on things I wanted to accomplish. I’ve not had that happen to the extent it did for quite some time.
Stepping away from the computer, phone and TV can massively help. Moving your body can massively help.
I remember reading about Forest Bathing (also known as shinrin-yoku) a while ago and thought to myself “wow, well done, you’ve gone for a walk in the woods”….yes I was being snarky…can you tell where my head was at!? Turns out there’s a lot of sense to it.
We spent a few hours just walking in the woods, I made myself breathe deeply, to listen to the sounds of the woods and I felt calm and relaxed and my brain felt at ease. It was glorious. We had to drive for an hour to get there but it was entirely worth it. I want to make sure we do it on a regular basis.
So how do you decompress? Have you heard of Forest Bathing? Are you like me and do you head for the woods and countryside? Are there any activities like bouldering that occupy your brain and body so much that you can’t focus on the stresses of life?
If you want to see what we got up to with all these activities and you want to see more of the woods, you can check out the vlog below!