We can't be busy, excited, or rushing all the time.
We need to balance with periods of quiet rejuvenation.
That balance that we desperately need can be hard to find. Relaxation doesn't accidentally find us.
Recovery doesn't accidentally find us.
Calm doesn't accidentally find us.
De-stressing doesn't accidentally find us. We have to go get it.
De-stressing isn't "blowing off steam"
It's not about engaging in high-energy, aggressive activities like:
pounding the crap out of something in a kickboxing class
pounding the crap out of yourself with high-intensity workouts
screaming at the other idiots on the motorway inside your closed car
Blowing off steam isn't bad. Actually, it's awesome and important to turn healthy aggression outwards instead of inwards, in productive ways.
Better we go ape on a punching bag, run some hard miles, or visit a Rage Room to get our frustrations out than yell at our kids or seethe silently until we explode.
Still, those kinds of activities, even if they're healthy and appropriate, are stimulating.
They amp you up.
The same is true of these other stimulating recreational activities:
watching TV or movies
surfing the internet
playing video games
While fun or even mentally relaxing, electronics send powerful stimulation to visual senses.
Anything involving a screen is out as a reliable, sustainable recovery strategy.
What counts as de-stressing?
a relaxing walk
being out in nature
listening to relaxing music
mindfulness practice and meditation
laughing (check out this guy)
snuggling a loved one or pet
yoga, gentle mobility, and/or slow stretching exercises
a solid, awesome, Kleenex-destroying cry, if you need it (crying actually helps us get rid of stress hormones)
indulging in a trip to the salon to get your hair washed, or get a facial; or getting one of those dope old-school hot-towel shaves at your local barber
gentle swimming or water immersion (such as a hot tub)
relaxing in a sauna
having sex (and here you thought getting healthy wouldn't be fun!)
singing along to your favourite song (the breathing for singing competes with "anxious breathing"—and you end up diverting worry energy into belting out your power anthems)
physical, non-competitive play, like dancing or tossing around a Frisbee
Think of de-stressing as purposefully chasing relaxation.
These also double as self-love and self-care. Necessary and deserving of all humans.
What's your oasis?
What truly relaxes and calms you?
Your Health Coach, Chris
*information provided by Precision Nutrition