I don’t have time to decompress

Published on October 23, 2019

Cynthia is a single mom of two active boys.  To support her children she also needs to work.  She feels guilty that she doesn’t have enough time for her children, so she spends all her free time with them.  She loves her children, but she is overwhelmed and exhausted. She feels guilty if she spends time or money on herself.  She wants to relax and decompress but thinks that she doesn’t have the time to do this; she feels like she must always be on the go.  If Cynthia doesn’t make time to decompress, her stress threshold will wear thin and she might lash out at others. The potential to become depressed or anxious will be higher.

Contrary to popular belief, going non-stop is not as efficient or effective as taking time out each day to decompress and to relax. The brain is like any other organ in the body; it needs time to restore.  Just like going to the gym, your muscles become tired and need some time to recover. Daily decompression and relaxation will make you happier and healthier.  Your brain will be more productive the next day if it has had some time to rest. 

Here are 7 ideas that might help you decompress.

1. Doing absolutely nothing

Sometimes, people feel guilty when they are not doing or achieving something.  Relaxation is an achievement in and of itself.  Turning down stimulation such as noise, lights and turning the tv off can have a therapeutic effect on your brain.  Your senses can overload your brain as the mind can only process senses one at a time. For example, if you close your eyes and listen, you will notice that you can hear more sounds when your eyes are closed.  This is because your brain is able to focus on one sense. Taking time out to listen to the birds, feel the cool breeze, or notice what scents are in the air can be a way to centre yourself.

2. Music

Some people find music relaxing.  This is another way to tune in to one of your senses.  Turn the lights low, adjust the temperature and just listen.

Let your mind process: Sometimes we are so busy during the day, running from one thing to the next that our mind doesn’t have time to process anything.  At the end of the day, you can sit in silence and see what your brain is still processing. Are there problems to solve? What did you do well today? What are you noticing now after looking back on your day that you didn’t notice before?

3. Nature

At the end of the day, a short walk in nature can be calming.  If you live in the city you can find a park, a balcony or a rooftop to soak in the calming effects of being outside.

4. Dance or exercise

When we sit all day, our body builds up tension and stress.  The best way to let it out is to move your body.  If you don’t have a gym membership, you can go home, turn on the music and just let your body move to the rhythm.  It doesn’t matter if you are good at dancing or not; just let your body move and release any tension or stress. Your body will let you know what it needs if you listen.

5. Appreciate small things

Appreciate the small things, like a nice meal, a friendly message from a friend, a smile and a wave from the neighbour, or anything else that makes you feel good.   

6. Cuddle and a hug

Cuddling or hugging a pet, a friend, family or a partner helps to release oxytocin and reduce your blood pressure.  

7. Laughter

Laughing is an excellent way to shake things off.  You can watch a comedy, or make jokes with your friends and family. It’s ok not to take yourself too seriously.  


If you would like to set up an appointment please contact me on +852 2521 4668 or email m.borschel@mindnlife.com. You can book a private or Skype session.

Photo by A. L. on Unsplash

Category(s):Caregiver Issues / Stress, Relaxation techniques, Stress Management

Written by:

Dr Monica Borschel

Registered Clinical Psychologist (HK)

Dr. Borschel specializes in Attachment, trauma and Loss. She is experienced in helping adults, teens, children, and families adjust to anxiety, trauma, abuse, divorce, separation, loss of a loved one, and loss of finance. This may include deciding what is in the best interest of the children during custody disputes, strengthening the relationship and communication between the parents and the children.

From Nov 2020 Dr. Borschel is only available for online consultations.

Dr. Borschel’s attachment-based therapy along with EMDR and Brainspotting enables her clients to find healing within themselves. In so doing, she can help her clients to overcome anxiety, trauma, neglect, emotional, verbal, physical abuse, and child abuse.

Furthermore, as an attachment specialist, she also helps individuals understand relationship patterns which prevent them from developing or maintaining healthy relationships. She is able to help reduce anxiety, insomnia, depression and promote confidence and self-esteem.

Dr. Borschel is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. She graduated with her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University in New York City. She later moved to Hong Kong to pursue her doctorate at the University of Hong Kong in Social Work and Social Administration.

Registered Clinical Psychologist with The Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology (HKSCP). Member of the American Psychological Association (APA), The British Psychological Society (BPS), and the Hong Kong Family Law Association (HKFLA).

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