While this week has not been a long one by any means (I had Monday and Tuesday off for Rosh Hashanah), last week was. It was such a long week that on Saturday afternoon, after getting what I thought was a full night’s sleep the night before (hint: when you’re making up for a week’s worth of lost sleep, one eight-hour doze doesn’t cut it), I crashed, and I crashed hard. I crashed so hard that I had to call a friend to simply tell me to wash my face and brush my teeth as a way of pressing re-start at 7pm.
Which brings me to this post. Trust me – I know how to “unwind.” I have a whole repertoire of old habits that used to relax me. They involved sweets, popcorn, and binge-watching TV. But over the past eight years of seriously practicing yoga and other forms of mindfulness, I’ve realized that these aren’t actually ways to unwind. They are ways to check out. (Not that I don’t love some good TV time with popcorn and a glass of wine once in a while, but now I know that I can do this mindfully, in a planned and joyful way.)
Unwinding, however, should be part of life, not an escape from it. I am so grateful to build a repertoire of strategies that honestly allow me to unwind after a long week. I’m balancing work, grad school, and the rest of life; long weeks are just a fact sometimes. This repertoire is slowly, but surely outgrowing my old checking-out one, and here are the strategies I have to share with you.
- Take a Friday afternoon nap.
- Take a bubble bath. Lotion up after. Take in the scents.
- Wash your face.
- Brush your teeth.
- Go to an amazing yoga class.
- Do a half hour of a hOMe yoga practice.
- Sit on a block or cushion and meditate for five minutes.
- Go on a date to a nourishing restaurant.
- See a movie with friends. Savor the company.
- Do a handstand (or down dog, or child’s pose).
- Journal about how the week went.
- Have a dance party in your room, alone or in the company of others (these impromptu end-of-week dance parties are one of my favorite parts of my romantic relationship; playfulness is so important!).
- Check in a spin class. Let it feel like a night club on wheels.
- Spend time with family. Let yourself be taken care of.
- Organize your own tea time with a lil treat + cup of tea.
Deep breaths. Let go. Unwind.