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How do you make your mind let go of work/school when you're specifically trying to decompress?

#july20 #work #healthcare #school #work-life-balance #medicine #technology #nuclearmedicinetechnology #psychology #biology #radiology #intern

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Margaret’s Answer

Meditation is an excellent method of letting your mind go and decompress. Personally, I meditate twice a day to start and end my day with a clear and balanced head. Meditation is not about thinking of nothing, but more so observing what you are thinking/feeling, acknowledge that you have that thought but not not thinking any deeper or go into details about your thoughts but simply acknowledging they are there. After observing those thoughts, say to yourself, "ok," breathe, and observe just being. It's hard at first but with practice, meditation can help you decompress anytime, anywhere, within seconds.
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Sloane’s Answer

Hi Kaela, great question! When trying to decompress, I tend to find it working the best for me when it's an activity I really enjoy. For example, I enjoy taking walks with my dog, spending time with friends, or even watching a show on Netflix or TV. I find it especially important to think of activities that you know will distract your mind from stress. I would give advice on paying attention to those activities or hobbies you really enjoy and are able to completely take a step back from your school or work stress with.

It's equally important to make sure you're blocking off that time for yourself to decompress with those activities. Where our society is at now, technology wise, it's easy to access your work or schoolwork at any time and feel like you should be doing something productive at all times. But it's important to keep in mind that your work-life balance should remain a priority. For me, I've found success in doing this by having scheduled time during the day that's devoted to my work or school work, and saving the rest of the time during my day for myself to decompress. Hope this helps!
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Diego’s Answer

If you are working from home, I would recommend having a separate work space that you can leave when you are done with work for the day so that it is easier to mentally separate. I also like going on runs and when I go running, I try to keep my mind as blank as possible, sort of like meditating but while being active. Getting physically tired for me allows me to take a mental break from work.
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Fatima’s Answer

One of the ways I've found helpful to decompress is to go for a walk or get outside and just breathe. Decompressing is a transitory phase, where you're trying to release some tension from a work or school day. If you've been inside a building or house all day, your body needs a different environment to tell it that you're physically changes spaces. Breathing really helps regulate the tensions and walking can also be beneficial because you're likely away from a screen, outside, and you get a chance to practice being more grounded.
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Sindhu’s Answer

Kaela, this is a great question! A few things I've tried that have partially helped me, but I'm still trying to figure this out after over 20 years of working.
1) Meditation: I use an app like Calm or Headspace to try and meditate for 10-15 minutes before bed. When I do this consistently, it is easier for me to decompress and get better quality sleep.
2) Reading/Non-work or school activity: Another thing that helps me is reading, playing a game, or watching a TV show for at least 30 minutes after I wrap up work so I stop thinking about work and my mind is engaged in something else. A show doesn't work as well for me as reading a book or playing a puzzle-type game that requires concentration.
3) Phone notifications: I turn off all phone notifications when I want to decompress. If I see or hear that I have a work email, I feel the need to address it quickly, so turning off visual and sound notifications helps me do that.
4) Maintain a list: Despite trying all of the above, sometimes work ideas and "to dos" pop up frequently. Rather than address them when they do, I put them on a paper "to do" list for the next day. Removes any mental energy spent on trying to remember it for the next day.

Hope that helps. Good luck!
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Caroline’s Answer

I try to make time for myself by doing things I enjoy outside of work such as running, reading, exercising, hanging with friends and I turn off my work phone/notifications when I am participating in those things. It is easier said than done especially in times when work gets super busy. If you are anxious about something at work I also think it is helpful to talk to someone either a coworker who you have more of a friendly relationship with or with a friend or family member who is not familiar with your work. Sometimes when explaining what you are getting anxious about to other people you realize that it is something that is silly to be anxious over.
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Kevin’s Answer

I tend to take a long job or run out in the open trails to decompress from work. Sometimes if it has been a stressful work day, I add high intensity running sprints for 3-5 minutes and then alternate back to a moderate jog for the same time. Running is an acquired taste and is a great stress reliever. I hated running before but set your goal for half a mile and move your way up to 1, 3, 5 mile goals.

You can also find other sports, fitness routines, or even hobby to decompress.
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Benjamin’s Answer

Hi Kaela,

Do what makes you happy! It will always be easiest to decompress when you are happy. Personally, I work out and lift weights in order to decompress when I feel stressed. However, before I learned that working out best helps me decompress, I tried many methods to decompress such as meditating which I found to be great for me. Although I do not meditate often, I have found that it can be extremely helpful when I feel overwhelmed. Overall, doing what makes you happy is optimal, but trying new methods to decompress can also be beneficial.

I hope this answer helps!
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Eddy’s Answer

One of the most important things for me personally is to get a change of scenery. If you've spent all day locked inside due to school/uni/office jobs, go outside. Take a walk, ideally somewhere where there is nature around. If you've spent all day outside, take a breather indoors, do some meditation excercises or do something you're passionate about indoors (that dish you always wanted to cook, that song you always wanted to learn how to play, etc.).
Acknowledge that you're stressed about work/uni/school to yourself and actively identify the things that make you forget about those worries. It is crucial that you do not let negativity take a hold of you. Try not to complain to your peers about your perceived levels of stress and don't engage in conversations that you just give you what you want to hear. Instead, focus on a positive mindset and solutions that will help you decompress, seek out solution-oriented conversations that help will you manage your stress more effectively in the future.

Eddy recommends the following next steps:

Engage in outside physical activity
Try medition (I can personally recommend the app Headspace)
Work on hobbies and skills that you are passionate about
Get a change of scenery
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Benjamin’s Answer

Hi Kaela,

Do what makes you happy! It will always be easiest to decompress when you are happy. Personally, I work out and lift weights in order to decompress when I feel stressed. However, before I learned that working out best helps me decompress, I tried many methods to decompress such as meditating which I found to be great for me. Although I do not meditate often, I have found that it can be extremely helpful when I feel overwhelmed. Overall, doing what makes you happy is optimal, but trying new methods to decompress can also be beneficial.

I hope this answer helps!
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Sheila’s Answer

Hello Kaela: This is a great question and you've received some very good responses. I'll keep it simple for you from my viewpoint.

One way I decompress is by window shopping/browsing online at Amazon (I love to (window) shop). In my household there's always someone ordering products on the site just to keep from physically going into a store.

Another way I decompress is by watching TV shows that I like. I'm a big fan of TCM (Turner Classic Movies). Anything Vincent Price & Bette Davis I could watch forever; in addition to monster, suspense, disaster, drama and scary movies on TCM.

I'm sure you'll eventually find what works for you when decompressing and clearing your mind. Think outside of the box. It doesn't have to be structured and complicated. Just find what you are passionate about and do it.

Best of luck to you!

~ Sheila

Sheila recommends the following next steps:

Try window/browsing shopping (you don't have to buy anything). It's literally a distraction
Tune into your favorite TV shows
Think outside of the box and find what you are passionate about and do it
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Alexandra’s Answer

I think a helpful tip to decompress from work/school is to remove yourself from that environment. This could include leaving your office/desk, getting off school grounds, etc. In such a remote world where we work/study in the same place we live, this can be a difficult task. My suggestion would be to leave the room that you typically work/study in to get yourself into a new environment. It can do wonders just simply walking away from your computer! Another helpful tip if you feel stuck in the fast paced mindset of work or school, is to practice meditation and breathing exercises. This always helps me to let go of thoughts that feel "stuck" in my head. Finally, I would suggest getting outside, exercising, reading a book, listening to music, calling a friend - essentially anything that gets your mind off of things that you enjoy! Don't forget that while work and school are very important - so is your mental health!
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Ray-Kelle’s Answer

Hi. I am in law school and work full time, so my mind is constantly racing between work and school. One thing I do is dedicate time specifically not doing work or school every day. This is normally 1-2 hours each day and I try to do something that keeps my mind distracted yet relaxed. Sometimes this is reading a book or finding a good TV show or movie to watch. When I try to relax with just a bath or even meditating, my mind still goes back to whatever I feel is urgent at the time. Ultimately, I have to keep my mind busy with fun things in order to really decompress from work.
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Will’s Answer

Hi Kaela,

One thing that helped me was having a "work thought journal". I used this to get thoughts about work out of my head and on to paper. It was a way to let out thoughts, and the have the bonus of being a resource for remembering your thoughts when you return to work.

I have specifically used this when laying in bed when work is keeping me up at night.
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Nathan’s Answer

This is a great question that I think a lot of people struggle with! I love nature, so I find things like hiking, road biking and fishing to be great activities to decompress, but I think it's also important to identify when to relax and watch a movie as well! As long as you have a healthy balance of activity, there's nothing wrong with a day to do nothing.

Set a time that you finish with work (As much as your able in the context of your role) and shut the computer down at that time. Anything that comes in can wait for tomorrow, and its a good skill to be able to compartmentalize it rather than feeling the need to tackle it at that time.

Overall, its really important to know what works for you. What hobbies/activities make you engaged and happy. I generally try to take the approach of find and do the things you enjoy, and simultaneously learn to compartmentalize work/school stress and I find the stress fading more and more over time!
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Gina’s Answer

i think it's important to find activities you enjoy and make time for those. I am generally an anxious person-- so I love to work out. I find comfort in releasing the extra energy and getting a different mindset. Yoga has been a game changer for me. Surrounding myself with the positivity of the instructors has sincerely been life changing and gives me an extra boost/recharge.
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