Billions of dollars are spent each year on unwinding. Vacations, dinners out, spa treatments and yoga classes have all become a direct result of being stressed out, overworked, stretched too thin and having too many balls in the air. We work ourselves until we are worn out and then have to unwind and recharge. While we often disguise these things as rewards, they are often much needed therapy and escape. If this sounds all to familiar to you, it might be time to think about not getting “wound up” in the first place. After all, if we are spending our hard earned money on extravagant ways to feel well enough to keep up with a crazy pace, aren’t we caught in a vicious circle?
I love a nice massage as much as the next girl, but it is so much more enjoyable when I don’t “need” it. It is unlikely that one hour of a Swedish rub down is going to make up for the damage I did working so hard in the first place. “Working hard” is probably the wrong phrase. When we are working hard on things that we believe in, things that energize us or help us to meet certain goals, we aren’t left feeling depleted. Unfortunately, in most circumstances, we are running ourselves ragged trying to please everyone and do everything in record time, and need at the very least, a weekend to recover from the insanity.
There is enough information out there on how to unwind, but if you incorporate some of the following ideas, you won’t need to spend as much time and money to relax.
7 Ways to Prevent the Need to Unwind
- Track your time: Really understand where your hours go each day. For 3-5 days, track your activities to see what you can cut. Be honest and include how much time you spend checking email, twitter and your blog reader.
- Choose Wisely: It is easy to get caught up in saying yes to volunteer activities and extra projects. Try choosing one extra activity at a time and say no to everything else.
- Pay yourself first: Think of energy like money. Save it and spend it thoughtfully. By exercising first thing in the morning, you put extra energy “in the bank” and prioritize your health.
- Enjoy a nice lunch: Take an actual lunch break that doesn’t include using your steering wheel in between bites of something that was handed to you through a window. Plan your lunch, pack a cooler and don’t share your meal with your computer or work obligation.
- Ask for help: If you are overwhelmed, and a big chunk of your day is spent thinking about your next vacation, talk to a friend or even a medical professional to get some perspective. Sometimes you need some outside advice to not only see the severity of the situation, but to understand that you always have options.
- Set aside time for distraction: While personal email, web surfing, and even reading your favorite blogs can add value to your life and give you great ideas, they can also be big distractions. Schedule time in your day for for them, and they won’t interrupt your focus and productivity. After you track your time, you can figure out how much time to schedule.
- Make a change: After assessing your situation, you might find that a change is in order. You might not be able to implement the change immediately but you can start planning it. Thinking about, and proactively working towards something better will immediately improve your current situation. Remember that “something better” looks different for everyone and doesn’t always mean more money, or a big title. Living life on purpose is about choosing what is best for you and your life.
Living more simply will reduce your need to unwind and recharge. I highly recommend yoga, but use it to be in the present, and to improve your future, not to fix the past. Vacations, dinners out, and spa treatments can all be great ways to enjoy yourself and live life on purpose, but when they become something we repeatedly use to unwind, they are part of the problem, not the solution.