I find it really hard to switch off. I don’t sleep a lot. I’ve recently started jogging, but so far I’ve been too busy feeling like it’s killing me for it to de-stress me at all. I don’t cook, I like knitting but I lack the patience for anything but short bursts. I love writing, but that takes concentration and a buzzing mind so it doesn’t really lend itself to chilling out.
So when I need to switch off and de-stress, I read. Reading takes me out of my own mind and stops me obsessing and overthinking, even for a brief period of time. It lets me immerse myself in somebody else’s story, and for as long as I can remember that has fascinated me. Getting involved in a story is the most distracting and relaxing thing I can think of. Even if the book is tragic or terrifying or infuriating, it gives me a chance to switch off everything else, everything real and difficult and personal, and put all my investment temporarily in a fictional world. And when I stop reading and resume regular thinking and worrying and living, I’m better for having had that time to lose myself in a good book. That’s how I get ‘in the zone’, and I’d be lost without it.