Shalom's Cottage Home Blog

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Rock Island, IL, United States
Hi, I'm Shalom. Artist, crafter, gardener, flea market enthusiast, bargain hunter, and lover of flavor. Welcome to my journey!

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Monday, April 7, 2008

Lessons From Bookmarks: Take Time to Unwind

Continuing with my bookmark series ... The message behind the bookmark I designed here is simple enough. It's important to balance out the craziness of our lives with "down time". We are only human after all and can only go so long or push ourselves so far before we must unplug and give our minds and bodies a rest from the responsibilities of life. If we don't, we risk serious emotional and health problems. Coffee and energy bars can help us get through the workdays, but they are not permanent solutions.

"Unwinding" is probably different for everyone, and is not the same thing as sleep. In fact, if you try to go to sleep before you've had sufficient time to relax, it will probably take you much longer to actually fall asleep, and the sleep you do get might not be the most restful. But don't think of unwinding as merely a tool to help you get better sleep, either. Think of it more as the sugar in a cake recipe. If you bake a cake without it, it will most likely come out looking fine, but it sure won't taste as good. Remember, you work hard and you deserve a little time to yourself, a little sweetner. It will make everything else in your life seem worthwhile, if you actually give yourself a break once in a while.

For me, the perfect way to unwind after a long day (and since I work evenings, this means the time right before I go to bed) is by curling up on the couch with a hot cup of chai tea and my latest book under soft, diffused light. I read for about an hour or so and by that time, my entire body - inlcuding my mind - feels relaxed. I like to wait until I get to the point where I'm having trouble concentrating on the words on the page or on anything I have to do the next day - REALLY tired. I have learned the hard way that trying to force myself to go to bed when I'm not tired, results in me laying awake for hours and being uncomfortable. So this is not only something that is one of life's simple pleasures for me, it also helps me sleep better.

There are other ways to unwind, that don't result in sleepiness. For instance, I consider taking a long walk through my neighborhood at a brisk pace a good way to unwind as it releases stress and leaves me feeling refreshed and healthy (notice I said walk, not run). However, I never get on my computer to unwind as I associate my computer and being in my office with work. But working in my garden or sitting down with an embroidery project are good "time outs" for me. I cannot say, however that watching TV is a good way to unwind, unless it's for a limited period of time, because the constant flashing lights and colors coming at you tend to keep your brain alert and leave you with eye strain if you stare at the TV for too long. This is not the case with a book, which is simple black text on a neutral background.

Some other ways to unwind, even if they are work, but not what you do for a living could be:

• Cooking
• Sewing
• Painting
• Writing in a journal
• Playing an instrument
• Singing
• Bubble baths
• Going on a picnic
• Taking a bike ride
• Going out for coffee and conversation
• Visiting your local library

I'm sure there are many others, that I cannot think of at this point, but however you unwind, make sure that you are getting what you need out of it and enjoy yourself.

1 comment:

PamperingBeki said...

Oh just reading this makes me feel relaxed and peaceful!