We all experience our share of stress on a daily basis, with responsibilities at work and home, there comes that point where we just want to take some time for ourselves and get away from it all.
I used to have a system in place; various things I would like to do to zone out and unwind after a long day of work or other activities.
But lately, I guess it's just become a little monotonous. So, I'm trying to come up with some new ideas, especially for that time before going to bed.
Exercise helps some, but that's something I have to fit in earlier in the day or I'll stay awake much longer than I?need to.
Television has become boring most of the time, so if it's on I'm not always paying much attention to it.
I've always enjoyed reading to relax. I can't tell you how many times I've fallen asleep at night, in bed, with the lights on and a book in my hand.
Unfortunately, I've found a major drawback in this job that's decreased my reading enjoyment in recent years. You see, while I still enjoy sitting down with a good book, I find myself catching the various incorrect spellings, missing words or other typographical errors that make it past the editors and those big, multi-million-dollar making production houses.
It makes it difficult to read the latest Dan Brown novel, for example, when you notice there should have been an "of" in that one sentence. The story can still be good, but when you know you're going to do it, you also just don't see the point of using it as an escape.
Some people have been known to cook or bake to help relax.
I enjoy learning new recipes, and have even helped to make a batch or two or cookies from time to time. On the other hand, I gave up eating sweets a couple months ago, so I'm not sure making a couple dozen cookies is such a good idea. It would be too much of a temptation.
I would have to bring them to work, at which point they would still be sitting nearby, or give them to others, like people I don't see too often.
With the opening of Summit Gallery in Weirton, I've considered the possibility of getting into art a little bit. These thoughts have crossed my mind full well knowing I have little to no ability to draw and the most painting I've done has been with one color on a wall.
But it could still be a possibility. I do like the idea of finding something creative and expressive instead of just taking up some activity with few results.
I'll just have to figure out my own method; what feels right for me.
I guess part of the issue is feeling the need to constantly be connected to the rest of the world.
We never know when something could happen that would send us running out to get a photo or story, so I'm always looking at news feeds, Twitter, my phone or some other informational device, just in case.
Those moments I am away from my phone, or have it off, I spend worrying no one is trying to get in touch with me.
My mind has numerous thoughts bouncing around throughout the day, thinking of ways to write an article, a column or a blog, second-guessing how I could have framed a photo better or edited a video clip, or planning the next day's edition.
Really, I guess there are two challenges ahead of me. The first is making sure I am able to set aside the time to do something fun, relaxing and for myself. In itself that is no easy task.
The second would be to find a hobby or activity to actually help with the relaxation.
A friend has tried meditation, and has said it helped through a variety of difficult times and to stay focused.
Several other friends have taken up running. Many have even taken part in various local 5Ks and marathons.
Some family members go fishing, which would get me outdoors for a little while.
Maybe I just need a good nature trail to hike on periodically. Grab a camera and do some photography for fun instead of work.
So many options, so little time.
(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)