5 Quick Ways to Decompress

Feeling stressed? Try these quick fixes

No matter how much you love your work, there are times when you run out of steam. Some days do you feel as if:

  • Your motivation has run dry?
  • Stress will overwhelm you?
  • Your brain has turned into a bowl of mush?
  • You’ll blow if one more thing goes wrong, if one more child whines about being bored, if your computer acts up, if….

You’re done.

Just. Plain. Done.

Remember recesses from school? Everyone watched the clock slowly creep toward 10 a.m. when you had 15 or 20 minutes of freedom. You couldn’t wait to get outside and expend all that built-up energy from the classroom.

That 10-year-old kid you were exists today and needs a recess.

Instead of ignoring what’s going on or trying to fight through it, step back and recharge with a quick recess.

What can you do in 15 or 20 minutes to release stress, irritation, and frustration and rekindle your motivation?

1. Go Outside

Fresh air, sunshine, and a short walk can do wonders to help you decompress. Even if all you do is walk around your back yard or around the block, it will help dissipate the negative energy you feel. Kids bored? Take them with you and turn the walk into a game of I Spy.

Spending mindful time in nature is a well-known method for relaxing, and research on Japanese shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, shows that being in nature , benefits your body, mind, and spirit.

2. Move

Stretch, sweat, boost oxygenation to rev your engines. Can’t jog or drop and do a few planks or push ups? Try some yoga stretches or ballet moves. Movement gets blood flowing and ramps up positive energy. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management.”

3. Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

Eat and drink. Reach for fresh fruit or crispy veggies and a glass of cool, fresh water. Take it slow and savor each bite and sip. Express gratitude for what you are eating and drinking, for all those who had a hand in making it available to you, and for the important people in your life. Research from Stanford University and other academic institutions shows a direct correlation between gratitude and enhanced well-being.

4. Entertain Yourself

Where’s that book you’ve been wanting to read? What about those podcasts sitting in your inbox? How about 15 minutes with an old Seinfeld episode?

Completely shutting off all thoughts about the present situation and focusing on something entirely unrelated can immediately shift your mood — especially if your attention is on something humorous. Laughter is one of the best stress relievers. Check out the laughing baby with 11+ million views on YouTube.

5. Chill

According to Psychotherapist Julia Lehrman, LCSW, RYT, writing in PsychCentral, “Much like meditation, putting on our favorite song or playlist can take our minds out of the vicious cycle of regret, worry, or fear, and help us to refocus our attention on the sound and rhythm of the song, even if just for a short while. Almost instantaneously, we have the ability to bring our minds away from the trap of its constant mental chatter, and into states of present moment awareness and enlivened being.”

Decompress and Replenish

According to research from Cornell University, “What you do doesn’t matter, but don’t allow yourself to worry or focus on the work you have to do or the stressors in your life. Letting your mind and body take a break should be your only goal.”

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” Ovid

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