When you’re bombarded with life chores and events, creating a space to plug out and decompress is hard. It’s easy to get caught in the whirlwind of daily life, but creating a regular space and time to fill yourself up could give you that extra charge you need by doing very little.
See, most men are task-oriented. It’s inconceivable for some guys to think of decompressing and doing nothing. And I’m not necessarily talking about kicking back with a drink or two (or three).
Men can be just as guilty of giving out more than they’re taking in. We end up neglecting ourselves and our need to recharge, which creates problems down the line. When we fail to meet this need, it appears as stress, physical problems, anger, irritability, frustration and feeling generally short with the world. We feel worn out, chronically exhausted and not at rest.
One related issue is that there are some guys who need to be busy 24/7. Some find that they can distract themselves with an ever greater to-do list, or can avoid their problems at home with burying their head in work. I talk with others who “thrive on chaos,” except it’s the chaos that eventually wins in the end.
What to do when creating time alone:
- Recognize that there’s a difference between finding alone time, and disconnecting from your relationship or marriage (if you’re in one). It’s a fine line, and it takes some time to do, but navigating the fine line between finding alone time and still staying connected to your partner is key.
- Communicate with your partner about this need for “plugging out”, and assure them that you are with them, you love them, and you need some decompression/time for yourself. They’ll understand if you communicate this clearly, and if not, they may think you’re avoiding them.
- Identify what makes you happy with the time you’ve got: do I like to just veg on the couch? Do I want to lift weights? Do I want to sit and read, or just contemplate? It’s up to you, and getting in touch with what works for you is important, because it’s different for each person.
- Clearly draw the line in the sand between personal time, work time and family/relationship time. It’s too easy for those lines to blur, and then you go back to feeling irritable and frustrated.
- If you don’t know what that time looks like, or how to just be with yourself, think about it over the next week. Ask yourself “at what points in time do I feel relaxed (when not on vacation)?” “How can I create more of that feeling of relaxation or rest in my home or on my free time?” And, “what’s preventing me from doing more of it?
- Get support from your partner or mate: they’ll understand that need and care for your well-being. Plan on creating both of your alone times at the same time, before you reconnect.
- If you need to immediately decompress when you come in the door, and you’re in a relationship, make that need know when you’re not just walking in the door. Discuss it with your partner at a different date, and tell them it’s important for you to disconnect before reconnecting and talking.
What not to do:
- Fall into smoking pot or drinking for your alone time. If you’re not careful, you may be inadvertently avoiding your pain or problems in your life. Watch out.
- Just expect that the time will present itself to you. You need to take the bull by the horns, and block out the time every week, or every day if need be. You know yourself, and it’s different for each guy.
- Stop communicating your need for time alone on a regular basis with your partner
- Stop planning your schedule to include personal or free time.
- Start planning out more things to-do, because this is your down time
- Fail to create and execute what your down time looks like, because without sketching out what your time looks like, it may not appear.