We love to talk about breathing exercises, self-love, self-reflection etc etc. But we never really practice what we preach. It's far more aesthetic to just preach and seem like you have your life put together - when in reality you're losing your mind because you have 99 tabs opened and the 100th is going to cause a system malfunction.
Some know how to cope well with their body, brain and soul malfunctioning, others are simply good at ignoring it - I am others. You might have had a moment where you wanted to scream your lungs out because of the heaviness you feel, but you didn't have the guts to do it so you just took a deep breath and said it's okay you'll get through this. Just as you've said every other time (and gotten through it!). In these moments, when you seek to confide in anyone else and hear the words 'just relax, it's alright', you feel chills in your spine because that's the most annoying and useless advice you've ever gotten.
We're in a constant state of go-go-go that when we decide to inhale and exhale, we take a deep breath in, and focus on all our senses, but when we're working towards releasing our breath, we rush to do anything but focus on our breath. When was the last time you took a proper breath? Actually, when was the last time that you took a break? I'm not referring to time off work, I mean when was the last time you took a break where phones were not stressful, work was not on your mind, all you thought about was yourself and how peaceful you were. I can't really speak for ya'll but it's been a while since I've taken that deep breath in and felt at utmost peace. However, I don't just come bearing bad news and negativity in the form of my blog. I feel like I may have cracked what my issue is, I've maxed out on the amount of deep breaths I could take. I keep taking these deep breaths, sighing, huffing and puffing but I've not really let that one long exhale out to tell myself it's alright, you're okay.
Don't we deserve to give ourselves a little time in the day to unwind? Take a deep breath in, count to 5, release your breath, count to 5. Giving ourselves the time to unwind and relax is quite essential to our mental and physical wellbeing, but again, we choose to ignore this fact because we're too busy to practice any type of self-care in this toxic world.
I'm going to share 5 ways that we can unwind/exhale our way through life (even during stressful days) in hopes that perhaps maybe you can pick up on one or two of these and add it to your life so we can all breathe better.
1. Focus on one task
So when we're doing a million things at once, we're obviously going to come crashing down. We're only humans, not robots, hence we're not designed to complete everything in one day. Multitasking seems like a great skill to have, but despite what large corporations have to say, it is preferable to take things one at a time when you're feeling overwhelmed and looking to unwind. This will help keep you motivated to gradually tick off other tasks and feel more confident in yourself that you are capable of finishing things.
I just want to add that you should also learn to say no, there may be moments when you are asked to do more than you can handle, whether it is at work, at school, at home, just say no when you have too much on your plate. You really don't need to fill your plate up like those crazy salad bar plates @ Pizza Hut (the OGs know what I'm talking about). And trust me, they can do it without you. As important as you are, you are not the only person on this planet that can do a particular job, so just take on as much as you can and schedule your tasks accordingly.
2. Tidy your room
This reminds me of my mom. But as of recently I've been doing a lot of tidying, organizing and cleaning up. And I've noticed the more I clean and declutter my room, the more I feel in control of my life. Both may be completely irrelevant, but it's just a psychological thing. Cleaning and organizing are strongly associated with decreasing stress and anxiety because these cluttered or messy areas are seen as unfinished business in our minds, whether it is consciously or unconsciously, it just adds unnecessary stress to our minds. So once it's cleaned out, it's one thing off our list, and also gives us a place where we can sit and relax with our horrid thoughts. I'm kidding. It provides us with a place where we can breathe in peace and not look around and stress out!
3. Play games
As childish as it sounds, play games. Whether its board games, finding activities such as karaoke, bowling, pool/snooker, or even just download games on your phone. Keep your brain focused, but let it be something casual. Don't try to solve crimes or anything. Just light-minded games that can distract your brain from the worldly life but also not take full advantage of your tired brain.
If you play Wordle or any form of it, kindly message me cz we can be friends.
Just have a designated time in the day when you choose to do this so it becomes a routine and you're forced to take a break and just play and unwind.
4. Treat yourself
This could literally mean anything. You want to go eat at your favorite restaurant? Do it. You want to indulge in retail therapy? Do it. You want to get a massage? Now is the time. You want to grab a coffee with a friend? Do it. Just think about what you would do for a friend, and just do it. Sometimes we tend to treat our friends better than we treat ourselves, that's just a flaw I have come to accept. So in times when I feel like treating myself, I just think about the things I would want to buy for my friends or things I would want to do for my friends, and decide to do that for myself because I deserve it too.
Now obviously you can't be lavishly treating yourself everyday. I don't want to be the reason anyone goes broke (by anyone, I mean the 3 ppl reading my blog). But treat yourself with little things too. Have the chocolate that's in the fridge that you keep telling yourself you won't have now, have some ice cream, watch a rom-com, delve into your guilty pleasures. Just a take a break fam.
5. Get sleep
Funny coming from the queen of insomnia.
This is something that I need to work on the most. But as per the several articles I've read on unwinding, I assure you that it's beneficial for you.
Literally, according to sleepfoundation.org, they mention how getting sufficient sleep (especially REM sleep) helps the brain process all emotional information. So while we're off in dreamland, the brain is gathering our thoughts and memories of the day and filing it away in its relevant folders of happy, sad, angry etc. Now if you're not sleeping well, the brain can't really do it's job of sorting. And if they can't sort it, your files are all over the place and you're back to the first paragraph of this blog. I don't make things up, it's literally science!
"when in reality you're losing your mind because you have 99 tabs opened and the 100th is going to cause a system malfunction"
Now that we have come full circle, I suppose I should end this gracefully. Therefore, as your self-proclaimed best friend and uncertified therapist, please understand that doing something that helps you relax everyday will help trigger your brain to unwind. It'll help your brain declutter all the unnecessary thoughts and let you focus on you. It could literally be anything that you find peace in doing. Whether it's having a cup of tea, taking a bath or playing a silly game. Just take care of you as you would take care of others.