Word-Of-the-Week #750: Decompress

January 2, 2019 by  

Decompress to relax;unwind.

How often do you take time to relax and unwind? Are you feeling “stretched” and stressed with commitments over the Holiday Season?

To keep this short and sweet I am taking excerpts from Catherine Price’s “Take a holiday from your cellphone.”

As the whirlwind of the holidays descends, you may find yourself wishing that you could slow down time. Here’s the thing: You can.

You just need to put down your cellphone. 

I first discovered this myself a few years ago when, as an experiment, my husband and I took a 24-hour break from all our screens starting at sundown Friday. Saturday morning we accomplished more by 11 a.m. than we’d normally get done in an entire day. We cooked. We talked. We cleaned. We read. I practiced guitar. We played with our daughter. I felt like I’d unlocked a time-stretching superpower that I hadn’t known I possessed.

Since then, I’ve heard many similar reports from people who have taken up my suggestion to try a 24-hour phone fast — what I like to call a “phast” — for themselves. It turns out that this is the result of a real psychological phenomenon. 

From now till the end of the year, I’ve resolved to plug my phone into an out-of-sight charging station the moment I walk in the door in the evening.

Although phones can make hours seem to mysteriously disappear, the good news is that the opposite is also true: By putting digital devices aside, you can make your perception of time slow back down. As Greenfield explains, “Putting down our phone places us back in what I call ‘real time,’ and this is where life is really lived and experienced.”

Indeed, the way we spread joy during the holiday season ultimately comes from our presence. I recently met a man who’d given his young son a coupon book of activities they could do together. The father was touched and, he admitted, disturbed when the first coupon his son chose to use was “a day together where Dad is not on his phone.”

A 24-hour phast (or two, or three) from sundown to sundown is also a good way to decompress from too much holiday stimulation. You are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms — I certainly did — especially the first evening. But most people I’ve talked to about their own phasts are surprised by how refreshing and empowering they feel.

This week is all about making time to decompress. How would it feel to truly relax and unwind? How often are you “totally present” with your family, friends, and co-workers? Who knows you just might like your “phast” and may want to make it one of your New Years resolutions?

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