OWN

A Totally Unexpected Antidote To Stress

There's a better way to decompress than snuggling into your couch.

One Sunday afternoon, my 8-year-old daughter and I decided to spend the day exploring. We started with a ferry ride to the city, then wandered up to our favorite little tween clothing and gift shop, where she got her nails done and we both tried out the Hula-Hoops. Then we took a long, zigzaggy walk to a playground we'd never visited and decided to see who could swing the highest. We ended the afternoon at a seafood shack, where I ate oysters and she gobbled fries. We called it supper.

The following day, I had a chat with my professional coach, Charlie Brown, PhD. I was excited to tell him about my Sunday: "We were out for hours. We walked for miles. It made me so happy." He said, "That's called active recovery. Doing something fun, but not regimented, can help you get back into the flow of things." Now, my first impulse after a stressful week had always been to take to my couch. I'd spent many a weekend watching old movies (preferably starring a Hepburn) in an effort to shake off my tension. But Dr. Charlie helped me realize that sometimes, a lot of times, a couch weekend made me feel slovenly, not renewed. Ever since, my husband, our daughter and I have opted to make Sunday a day of active recovery. The rules are as follows: no schedule, no rushing, no meeting up with friends and plenty of snacks and leisurely meals. It's vacation behavior. We talk and walk and feel connected, and it refills the well for the week ahead.

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