8:30pm finally hits. After taking care of ALL the things from work, kids, school, and practices, you’re beat. But don’t worry, you get to do it all over again tomorrow.
If we aren’t careful to take care of ourselves, this is the routine we can fall into. GO GO GO until we fall into bed and then crawl out of the covers to repeat it the next day. Something’s got to give. And when you’re making sure everyone else is taken care of, the thing that usually falls in last place, is you.
Back in December we talked about personal self-care is to every person. What might be life-giving to one person would be soul-sucking to another. Same thing with taking the time to unwind and recharge. In order to really settle your mind and allow yourself to take some moments just for you, you need to understand what fills you up in the first place.
The most polarizing example is when we’re talking introvert vs extrovert. While there’s definitely cross-over between the two and you can often find yourself with a foot in both camps, the easiest way to tell which side you more naturally fall into is to think about what you’d rather do after a long day. If you’re drained with nothing left, what sounds more appealing to you...sitting on the couch by yourself or maybe a friend or spouse watching a movie, or inviting several friends over for game night? Most people can easily tell which one they are by their reaction to that question. “Who would EVER want to invite people over after a long day? And I’m DEFINITELY not leaving the house.” or “If it was a long day, of course I want friends to come over! If I’m drained from work, I don’t want to be bored at home!”
Figuring this out is going to be crucial to finding ways to unwind and recharge. It tells you what activities would fill you back up and which ones would be terrible ideas. Each of the next ideas can be shifted a bit to make it work for you and exactly how you’re wired.
1. Brain dump
It’s kind of a weird phrase, but when your brain has been ON all day long, it can be really tricky to turn it off and relax. Sometimes you’ve just got to get it all out there. Grab a piece of paper or journal and a pen and just start writing. This is anything and everything you’ve got floating in your brain. Tasks you need to do the next day at work, things you need to pick up at the store, ideas you have, problems you want to work through. This doesn’t mean you need to find solutions for all of these things right now. Just getting it all down on paper can really help you close all the tabs in your brain you’ve got open.
2. Use your drive home.
When you walk in the door of the house, if you’ve carried all the stress of the day with you, it’s going to take even longer before you can really be “present” in your home. Use your commute home to prep yourself for the next phase of the day: kids, spouse, dinner, practice. Whether it’s riding home without the radio on so you can decompress in silence, or playing your favorite comedian, allow yourself those minutes so that when you step through that front door, your mindset is already positive and ready to go. If you’re a stay at home mom, this can be trickier for you. I’d encourage you to find 15 minutes at the end of the day to just sit and do nothing. Literally nothing. This can be hard when you have been the “do-er” all day, but I promise it’s so worth it.
One of the BEST stress relievers and mind-clearers is exercise. Anything to get your heart pumping and blood flowing. It can actually improve your mood...like it’s actual science. Those endorphins are no joke! A quick walk around the block, a yoga video on youtube, or even taking your kids to the park and chasing them around for a bit. While it might seem like one more task on your list to complete, exercise of any kind is such an excellent way for your body to recharge.
Going until we have nothing left just to repeat it the next day is not only a bad idea for you health-wise, but it also leaves nothing for your family and friends. “You can’t pour from an empty cup” rings true here. Take the time to unwind and recharge from your busy days so that you can still have the best of you to give!