Consider the last time you were in a yoga class or listening to a meditation app. You were probably instructed to "release your thoughts" and to "set your intention" so you could be "fully present" for the session. If you’ve found yourself rolling your eyes in retaliation, wondering how on earthy you’re supposed to shut-off your mental wheels when you have to meet a friend for drinks after and respond to an email to your boss on the way. With so many deadlines, meetings, event invites, friend obligations and ya know, sleeping to do, many people feel overworked, stressed out and well, exhausted.
“Methods of decompressing are changing because technology has made it feel more difficult to do so," Monster.com career expert Vicki Salemi tells Bustle. "A while ago, if you went away for a four-day weekend and didn’t check messages, that was a big deal. Now, not checking messages from the time your head hits the pillow until you wake up is a big deal. Expectations are changing so that’s why it’s important to start small with your methods and build from there."
But instead of the typical go-to relaxation methods like yoga or tuning into a mindful app for meditation, there are actually some interesting and unique ways to actually disconnect from the chaos and give your body and mind the break they need from daily stressors. From tiny, seemingly-insignificant changes in your routine to floating pods, here are ways to take some much needed ‘me’ time without rolling your eyes at the thought of it:
1Breathe In The Middle Of A Stressful Moment
So that co-worker that you don’t exactly get along with sent (yet another) passive-aggressive email. Your first instinct is to respond with a sassy comeback that merits an email mic drop, but instead of letting your annoyance rule, empower your breath to calm you down ASAP. Author Anita Perry tells Bustle that using your inhale and exhales can be a powerful tool that’s typically overlooked.
Here’s one way to handle the situation: “Start by turning away from your computer monitor or work station," she says. "Close your eyes if you can. Take a deep breath through your nose. Hold for five counts. Exhale through the nose for 10 counts. Repeat three times."
2Make A "No Phone" Rule
It’s not only one of the dirtiest things you own (when was the last time you wiped it down, eh?) but we spend more time looking at our phone than we spend looking at much anything else. This constant connection can be addicting, leaving us staring into the eyes of our phones well into the night. Salemi says to create two bedtimes — one for when you tuck yourself in and one for when you tuck in your phone.
Her suggestion is to start by 9 or 10 p.m. to get the feel benefits of decompression. “Charge it in another room and buy a digital clock for your bedroom so your phone doesn’t couple as your alarm clock," she says. "And then make a pact with yourself to not check your phone until you’re out the door on your way to work."
3Go For a Walk
Especially if you work at an office job with poor natural light and you’re often in conference rooms all the time, fresh air might feel more like a luxury than a given. Truly prioritize movement during your workday — even if you have to block off the short stint to get outside. “This is beneficial, especially if you’re in the midst of working, because even 15 minutes can get your blood flowing," Salemi says. "I used to do this when I worked on accruals for annual budgets. My head would be spinning after a while looking at spreadsheets and it got pretty intense — I needed to decompress and I needed to destress fast! So I would go for a brief walk."
...or tell your employer you need a mental health day if you’re on that level with them. Everyone needs a day to sleep in, refocus and relax, even if you’re not laying on a beach or boarding a plane. After all, as Salemi says, what are the chances that you’ll be fire for not checking your email for one 24-hour period. During this day, you can’t think about work at all. “Often times our lives are blurred — work seeps into life seeps into work — so if that means you also need to stay off social media for that one day because you’ll otherwise see colleagues’ pictures on Instagram, do what you need to do," she says. "You must preserve your energy and micromanage your stress levels, before they end up managing you."
5Use Essential Oils
Trendy in makeup products and on Instagram, essential oils can do more than create a dewy look for your brunch date, they can also be impactful on your levels of anxiety, stress and frustration. Get a diffuser or a salt lamp to make your home a comforting oasis, instead of a place you have clean, manage and worry about.
“The ancient art of aromatherapy can produce calming effects. Single oils such as lavender, or combination blends can be infused or worn,” Perry says. “The glow itself of a Himalayan Salt Lamp can be calming, but it some of the other benefits include air purification and reduction of airborne infections.”
6Use Float Therapy
You’ve probably seen these pods trendy on your newsfeed and wondered what the big deal is. Basically, when you’re in this salt-infused water, you will get the sensation of being weightless and enjoy complete stillness, since it’s dark and your senses aren’t engaged. The temperature in the tanks is traditionally warm, which can also be soothing.
However you want to disconnect, try it. Making time for yourself and for your health is not only trendy, but it's important. You can't be the best you can be without taking some time just for your bad self.