Ways to Wind Down
Winding down has become such a crucial part of my life. Going to a demanding university meant that I practically never had any "me" time. It was actually really easy going from a demanding school life to a demanding work life. When I graduated I felt ready for New York because, well, it was very similar to the life I had at school—little to no time off, extremely long work hours, and committing to things even if your heart wasn’t in them (HA).
Once I had that change of heart and moved out of New York, I was happy, but extremely unfulfilled. I felt bored most days and had so much free time that I didn’t know what to do with myself! I’m happy this change occurred because while my life was chaos, all I wanted was a vacation of nothingness for a while. Once I got that, I realized it wasn’t really what I had in mind either. Here’s the thing—I learned that I loved a hectic life. I like being busy and working on projects—but my heart HAS to be in them. This might be obvious for a lot of people, but when you’re on autopilot, it’s hard to realize these things about yourself. I honestly urge everyone to take a “break” and try something different for a little while if you can. I did—and coincidentally Lisa did too—and it totally changed our lives!
Now going back to winding down: I find that this is a crucial step to include once you realize you want a busy life. You need to relax, take your mind off things, escape, and just treat yourself for all your hard work! This step is also totally necessary in the creative process, you know, the part where you walk away? Winding down ultimately keeps you happy and excited about the work you’re doing. And trust me, this is a really difficult happy medium to find. You don’t want to be bored, and you don’t want to be too busy, but you do want to be preoccupied and taking on challenges, oh and then you also need time to relax, but when you’re not working you should be focusing on adulting and paying bills and such, but you also want to travel and see your friends and on and on and on. I STILL struggle to balance all the things in my life, but ever since joining the world of planners, it’s gotten a lot better. Now enough with all my rambling, here are 5 ways to help you wind down.
1. Make the time.
You know how you pencil in lunch with a friend or a doctor’s appointment into your calendar? Why not do the same with “me” time?! I love designating a night of total relaxation into my weekly schedule. I look forward to it and it keeps me motivated to stay on top of all my projects. The second I get behind on something, I know that block of relaxation will be rescheduled to become catch up time.
2. Figure out what your hobbies are.
I seriously did not know what my hobbies were in college—or if I even had any. One day I sat down and made a list of things I enjoyed doing. These activities had to have a low stress level and also had to be unrelated to my every day life. For example, I like listening to podcasts—but you’ll never find me listening to a podcast about audio or theatre during downtime because that would just stress me out. You really need to not think about your job, school, or anything that you’re already thinking about most of the time. I usually like to wind down by doing mini creative project that help me and my artistic flow. This could be coloring, drawing, or learning a song on ukulele. When I don’t feel like putting in the effort, I’ll usually watch YouTube or Netflix (and yes, these ARE hobbies)!
3. Relish in the simple things.
You would not believe how little effort it takes to wind down. If it means going to bed early and enjoying some hot tea and Netflix for an hour or two before going to sleep, then do it! (Personal favorite, by the way.) However, you can also take a bath instead of showering one night—light a candle, grab some wine, and fill it with LUSH goodies! Or order your favorite meal instead of stressing about cooking dinner. Even doing a facemask while you pay bills can help keep your stress at bay! (I know this contradicts the whole RELAX ONLY notion, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.)
I’m really big into escapism. It’s really easy for me to delve into a world outside of my own because I’ve been doing it my whole life. I used to have an imaginary friend when I was really young, and my elementary school years were spent in libraries reading series like Harry Potter and Magic Tree House. I still use this to my advantage when I’m trying to relax. Whether it’s binge watching a new show on Netflix, catching a movie, or reading a book, I love diving into characters and stories outside of my own life!
5. Be comfortable.
Think about how uncomfortable you are on a day-to-day basis: tights that won’t stay up, riding the subway next to someone smelly, standing for hours at work, jeans that became too tight after lunch, being too hot or too cold. I usually don’t scrutinize and try so hard to figure out when I’m feeling uncomfortable, but in the grand scheme of things, don’t you feel best when you’re at home? Whether it’s taking off your bra as soon as you walk through the door, or changing into sweatpants right away, be as cozy and comfy as you can! To me, this means lounging in PJ’s, wearing fuzzy socks, taking off my makeup, and lighting some candles.
I hope this list can help you out in figuring out how to wind down! Leave any questions or comments below and I’ll be sure to help you further if you need it!