The Bends (Decompression)

The past few weeks have just been nuts for me, dear readers. On top of it all, I got sick not once, but twice. I’ve already written about this experience in my post about community, but today I wanted to focus on the practical side of dealing with a seemingly never-ending illness, jam-packed days filled with meetings, hundreds of emails to wade through, and all of events that happen over the holidays, plus the holiday aftermath.

Normally I pride myself on being calm no matter what the circumstance, working through the pressure, deadlines, and workload. But sometimes our bodies just shut down, and we get sick.

You see friends, stress suppresses the immune system, and as a consequence it becomes easier for you to get sick. So while stress cannot “make” you sick, it definitely contributes to the environment.

You have to make time to care for yourself when in stressful situations.

Decompression

What that really means is that you have to teach yourself some decompression techniques. No, I’m not writing about decompression sickness (also known as the bends or divers’ disease) but that is another type of illness that requires treatment early on.

What I’m referring to creative cuties is decompression from stress. I may have written about this in a different capacity once before, focusing on things like self-care, taking breaks, reviewing previous successes, enlisting support and seeking inspiration, but today I want to focus on things you can do immediately to help with the decompression process.

Most of these actions are physical which is good when you’re sick or stressed. We hold a lot of tension in our bodies from stress.

Here are some of the best options:

  1. Deep breathing. Take a breath in, slowly exhale, and start over again. If you do this for about ten seconds each time and keep at it for ten minutes, you’ll feel it quick.
  2. Self-massage. Tense and then relax each muscle, from your toes to your head.
  3. Take a walk. A five minute walk in the midst of a stressful day does wonders.
  4. Exercise. This can be great for quiet thinking AND all of the chemicals your body releases while exercising are great stress relievers.
  5. Get outdoors. Just connecting with the outdoors can be helpful, but the fresh air helps too.
  6. Sex. An obvious choice. Just ask my girlfriend.
  7. Vacation day. Take the time to focus and recenter.
  8. Meditate. Be somewhere quiet, close your eyes, relax, and focus on your breathing. Your mind will be very active during this process, so embrace the thoughts and allow them to leave.
  9. Read. Whether you read fiction or something more practicaI like a biography. Taking some time with a good book is great exercise for your mind.
  10. Love. Get in some hugs and cuddles with your loved ones. It’s a win-win-win scenario and helps strengthen intimacy for all involved.
  11. Disconnect. Technology can be both a godsend and water torture. Do yourself a favour, and turn off the phones, computer, and ignore the outside world for as long as you can.
  12. Take a nap. A shot nap does wonders for refreshing the mind and the body. Thirty minutes should do the trick.

Now with that said, finding and using different ways to reduce tension is important but it should never add to your stress. You need to pick the techniques that best suit your lifestyle, but I have this theory that as you add different habits, you’ll be hungry for even more.

Another thing to consider folks.

On a really busy day it might feel like you are faced with an impossible task and that none of those techniques will do the trick. Just stick with it though. I can assure you that taking the time to unwind will be huge for your health and I have this theory that you’ll be more productive in the long run.

Tim!

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