Such a simple word. Alas, not enough people truly unwind today. Most of us are strung too tightly. We think we are unwinding when we stop for dinner, until we realize we are staring at a screen too much of the time. Many eat with the television on, which dampens conversation. Many more have to have phone surgically removed from their hands.
What does it take to truly unwind? Do we need to escape to a sunny beach someplace, where drinks are served with little umbrellas and the air is full of the scent of sunblock? Some unwind by hiking. Others like hanging out at home, lying on porch mats and generally enjoying life.
The first and third work for me. Years ago when I was younger, hiking was my greatest getaway. Just me and my dog, a German Shepherd/Malamute mix. We would take off on Fridays after classes ended or work was over for the day, exploring various trails in California. A couple of nights in the wilderness, disconnected from electricity and phones, sleeping under the stars where no city glow hid the Milky Way, set me back on my feet with a peaceful mind.
As I’ve gotten older and somewhat wiser, I lust more for a sunny beach or hanging around my own house, cutting myself off from screens. I find I can unwind just about anywhere. I can slip into mindfulness and savor the moment. Sometimes, it’s enough to shut down early, whether I’ve finished my writing or not, and move to the deck to sit in the sun and read. Or watch birds flit through the trees. Or boats move through the cove. Or all three.
The point is, you unwind where you can and how you can. You have to make time for it.
I have a dear friend who claims he’s wired not to unwind. He throws himself into everything and rarely takes a few hours off. Is he balanced? No way. He thinks being mindful is a waste of time, even as he occasionally walks on his green way. I’ve tried to work with him, but he’s adamant. He’s wound too tightly to relax. Probably. I know he’s wound too tightly for me to help him.
What do you do to unwind?