I’m on vacation this week with 2 of my daughters. We are at Disney World. This last time we were here was the week prior to Disney’s shut down in mid March 2020. That was our last traveling vacation prior to today. What is interesting to me is it seems like these two trips here are bookends around an unimaginable year. This trip is prompting me to reflect on all the events, personal experiences and learnings I have had in the past many months.
One habit change I have made includes using a new term for helping me unwind in the moment. I call it the Power Decompress. I define it as a quick, powerful, mindful way to shift focus from my busy, working self to my true self who desires to be relaxed, creative and living moment to moment, a self that is in “vacation mode!”
I use it when I’m leaving work, on weekends, and any time I come off call. It is a purposeful mindset choice to help me leave work behind me, allowing me to into feel like I am on holiday. It involves finding a landmark moment that is the hard stop to my work day. A power decompress involves the senses. It involves using my body to remind me to be mindful! When I need that mini vacation I begin to search my environment around me for something that catches my attention and then I make that moment the defining shift.
For instance, the other day as I was driving home, mulling over the events of a busy day and a critical patient, I turned the corner into my neighborhood and saw a robin on the grass pulling an earthworm from the dirt. That was my hard stop to switch off my ruminating mind. I took a mental snapshot of the robin and over the next couple of minutes only focused on what life for that little bird must be like. I thought of soaring in blue skies, rustling leaves and morning sunrises, and I felt a slow unwinding of my tension. That was my power decompress. It felt so great in that moment to be intentional about leaving the busyness of the day behind me.
What I notice about the power decompress is similar to what I notice with meditation. In meditation, when distracting thoughts arise I must remind myself to return to the anchor of my breathing. With the power decompress, when events of the day keep coming to mind, as I continue to think about what could have been done differently, and I keep making mental notes of what I still need to do, I must remind myself to stay decompressed and unwound. What a mental exercise!
So as you enter your day today, enjoy your work, do the things you are good at, learn a lot, and then at the end of the day use your senses to help define your moment of powerful decompression, relaxation and mental shifting to vacation mode!