FIVE Top Ways to Decompress

We hear about how important it is to “decompress” at certain times, like after a major event, a stressful situation, or a prolonged activity.  What does “decompress” mean?  How do you do it…. without stressing over it.  The official definition of “decompress” is to “relieve or reduce the pressure on something.”  The more common and casual definition is to “calm down and relax.”
Living in our fast-paced culture with high demands on everything from staying on top of our jobs to creating Pinterest perfect meals, many families these days are finding themselves either in the middle of a pressurized situation, or just coming out of one.  We want to help with some creative ways to literally inspire our readers to “calm down and relax.”  Here are the top five ways that seem the most appealing.

  • Deep Breathing—This is the most immediate and easiest way to begin that process. Try to take in a deep breath and count to 10 as you exhale.  If you can do this 3-5 times slowly, your body will feel the effects immediately.  This also helps to calm a child in the midst of a stressful situation.  If sitting in a peaceful environment, the effect kicks in even greater.
  • Take a Walk—After some deep breathing, if you can get outdoors and walk at least 10 minutes, this aids in the decompression process even more. If going outdoors is not an option, maybe you can walk the halls of your workplace or some other public building that is safe with an easy path to walk.
  • Disconnect and Doodle—Can you turn off your phone, your laptop, the TV, or any other devices that might be calling for your immediate attention? Then, pull out a scrap piece of paper and just start doodling.  The free flow of your hand making movement over paper will clear away your stressful thoughts and bring your mind into a state of creativity. 
  • Love on someone—Many therapists will tell you that helping someone else will help to reduce the stresses of your own life. Can you purchase some flowers to take to a friend?  Or maybe you prefer to bake some cookies to take to a family coming out of their own stressful situation. Even sitting and writing a brief note to someone takes the mental attention off of your own needs for a few minutes.
  • Take a Nap—Excuse yourself to your room, pull down the shades, and prepare for a long nap. Turn on some peaceful music, then dab some lavender oil on your wrist and inhale before you close your eyes. This may truly be the best way to “stay calm and relax.”