Author Topic: Decompression Tips?  (Read 3005 times)

HovEratoTo

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Decompression Tips?
« on: August 16, 2018, 12:04:52 PM »
Hi all,

Next Friday is my last day. I have a vague idea of what I will be focusing on as I begin my "retirement" - spend more time with my young son, projects around the house, exercise, cook, read, research. I'm a little out of shape from years of working too much at a desk and not prioritizing health and activity, so I want to gently increase my activity level and regain some stamina and physical strength.

Something that's been on my mind though is the "detox" period that a lot of folks talk about. Many recommend 6 months or so to process letting go of work and transitioning to "life after".

Does anyone have tips on navigating this time? What to do, what not to do? How to take care of myself in that time? How do you know you're making progress?

I'm 31, if that makes any difference.

bamboopuppy

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Re: Decompression Tips?
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2018, 04:32:38 PM »
Congratulations! I'm 31 as well, and quit working 3 years ago. You're on the right track with exercise being a big help in transitioning. Its good for your mental health and makes you happier overall. I also found that the end of a heavy cardio workout has that feel good feeling similar to coming home at the end of a long work day. If you miss that.

But in general I don't worry about "decompression" that much. It sounds like you have plenty of things to do without "working", and many more things will come along. You'll know things are going poorly if you start watching daytime television. Things are going great when you still feel like days are too short and you have even more things you want to do but don't have time for. It's weird at first, but at least in my experience very easy to get used to. The hardest part is probably explaining to people how someone our age isn't working, and never needs to have a job ever again.

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: Decompression Tips?
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2018, 05:21:05 PM »
I just recommend trusting your own natural process.  Accept whatever feelings come.  Embrace them even.  Once it is done, the transition will seem to have been perfectly natural in hindsight.

BigMoneyJim

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Re: Decompression Tips?
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2018, 05:54:48 PM »
4-6 months after my layoff and contemplated semi-retirement / downshifting I realized I was still detoxing/adjusting. And another 6 months later and I'm still continually reevaluating my future, and I think it's all starting to come together, and in maybe another 6 months I'll semi-retire for real and figure out how I want to make $10k or $20k/year to supplement my savings.

And I've known for a long time I want to retire early. It just seems like a lot of other questions and uncertainties came up, along with unrelated (?) family drama.

gerardc

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Re: Decompression Tips?
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2018, 08:57:57 PM »
Haven't done it yet but my plan is:

Take 2-3 days to relax
Get healthier habits: exercise, eat well, move, etc. Maintain this from now on
Travel for 1-2 weeks and try to be highly social, make friends, etc., have fun and relax
DON'T get back into old rut
Take it from there


Decompression will naturally happen with time while you're doing something else. You need to make an obvious change so that your mind understands things are changing (changing environment, habits, activities, etc.)

GreenEggs

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Re: Decompression Tips?
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2018, 10:16:34 PM »
A bit of "me time" with my motorcycles and I'll be good.  :) 




Accidental Fire

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Re: Decompression Tips?
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2018, 05:35:12 PM »
I'm only semi-fire'd I did cut down to 20 hours a week and only work two 10 hour days.  So I have 3 weekdays off each week.  What I've found is to make at least a rough schedule.  I'm not a fan of rigidity, but I go to bed every night thinking "tomorrow I'm going to work on my graphic designs, get a 30 mile bike ride in, and blog a bit".  That would be a typical day home for me.  The order, or even the times might change based on weather or whatever else, but I plan in a broad sense.  It's helped me.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Decompression Tips?
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2018, 06:12:22 PM »
If you have a normal relationship with work, no real hardline stress or trauma, then you absolutely should do whatever you feel like. For about a month.

Sleep until you wake up. Eat whenever. Live in your pajamas. Play games/watch tv/read/paint/play music... take a month long hiatus from being a "responsible adult."

After a month, you should start nudging yourself towards figuring out a basic, lowkey schedule for exercise, interaction, and things you want to do. You don't have to map out the rest your life at this point, but having some simple goals/purpose likely will be key for the next year.

Get a job with someplace that really matters to you, volunteer, work on your health (eating/exercise), find out if you really want to learn how to rock climb/play an instrument/travel/whatever...

But get going on stuff that excites you, makes you eager to wake up each day with a smile on your face. Don't vegetate for months. 

It may take you months/years to find the rhythm to your own personal FIRE, but the fun part is, you can dance along to all the different melodies out there until one fits you.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Decompression Tips?
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2018, 02:42:31 AM »
I recommend you to download the Mad Fientist podcast: First year of Freedom. This is a lot about the experience. In short, the first Monday morning was intimidating. After that he has been occupied with projects. He also focused on exercise and healthy food and is feeling much better vecause of it.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Decompression Tips?
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2018, 03:22:01 AM »
I love Julia Cameronís book Itís Never Too Late to Start Again. Itís written to those retiring at standard age, but is highly applicable to those of any. Itís a workbook to explore finding your truest self outside of a work life, including when other people may not yet be available to play. Wonderful personal stories of people experiencing shellshock, grief, disorientation, and isolation so common to retirement, and finding their own way to the other side -joy, engagement, connection, fulfillment.

Acastus

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Re: Decompression Tips?
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2018, 11:46:43 AM »
I am 9 weeks into FIRE, and I enjoyed vegging out the whole time. I did not go on vacation, as I had some surprise big ticket home repairs and my kid had summer school in August. I am trying to keep a relatively constant burn rate. I feel ready to start figuring out the future. No rush. I have spent a few too many days just letting the day go by. That has not been awful, but it seems like a waste.

mjr

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Re: Decompression Tips?
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2018, 05:03:44 PM »
5 weeks in and no sign of any decompression/adjustment issues.  It still feels like a long weekend.

HovEratoTo

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Re: Decompression Tips?
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2018, 12:48:17 PM »
OP here, and 3 weeks into decompression/FIRE. Thanks everyone for the helpful responses!

The last 3 weeks I have been focusing on small projects/chores around the house, errands, cooking, and reading. Sadly I can't sleep as much as I want because our toddler wakes us up quite early but there's definitely less pressure knowing I don't have to rush through the morning routine to get to the desk. I would like to see better sleep quality but am not worrying about it too much right now.

That's the thing I've noticed most so far - the pace has slowed down soooo much. Sometimes that makes me feel like I'm not being "productive enough", but then I catch myself and think, "so what? there's no boss to care and no one asking me about deadlines so take the time you need and REST when you want!". It feels good to move at this pace. Part of me wonders how I ever had time for a job and the rest of life ha.

My anxiety levels are way down, too. Not gone, but so much more manageable. Continuing to nurture my mind and body is a priority so I can hopefully start living anxiety-free.

I'll check out the podcast and the book, thanks for the rec's! I do think I want to get involved with something - volunteering, starting a small business, or just a casual job...but I want to take my time figuring it out.

bacchi

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Re: Decompression Tips?
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2018, 12:56:47 PM »
There's another kind of "stash," if ya know what I mean.

GreenEggs

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Re: Decompression Tips?
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2018, 01:49:29 PM »
OP here, and 3 weeks into decompression/FIRE. Thanks everyone for the helpful responses!

The last 3 weeks I have been focusing on small projects/chores around the house, errands, cooking, and reading. Sadly I can't sleep as much as I want because our toddler wakes us up quite early but there's definitely less pressure knowing I don't have to rush through the morning routine to get to the desk. I would like to see better sleep quality but am not worrying about it too much right now.

That's the thing I've noticed most so far - the pace has slowed down soooo much. Sometimes that makes me feel like I'm not being "productive enough", but then I catch myself and think, "so what? there's no boss to care and no one asking me about deadlines so take the time you need and REST when you want!". It feels good to move at this pace. Part of me wonders how I ever had time for a job and the rest of life ha.

My anxiety levels are way down, too. Not gone, but so much more manageable. Continuing to nurture my mind and body is a priority so I can hopefully start living anxiety-free.

I'll check out the podcast and the book, thanks for the rec's! I do think I want to get involved with something - volunteering, starting a small business, or just a casual job...but I want to take my time figuring it out.




You can nap with the toddler whenever you want.  ;)


Enjoy.  You've earned it.

Moustachienne

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Re: Decompression Tips?
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2018, 09:13:15 PM »
Yes!  I really enjoyed It's Never Too Late..!  It sets out a 12 week exploration plan that gives just enough structure but not too much.  I didn't follow every step (e.g. memoir writing didn't interest me) but 14 months later I still write Morning Pages most days of the week.  At first I also scheduled, and enjoyed, Art Dates once a week. I do that less now but kept the similar idea of making sure that a few meaningful/fun/inspirational things were scheduled for each week.  Thinking in terms of weeks has been really useful and finding just the right amount of structure is a challenging and pleasurable quest. I looove being retired from paid work and the related highly structured/time pressured life.

I love Julia Cameronís book Itís Never Too Late to Start Again. Itís written to those retiring at standard age, but is highly applicable to those of any. Itís a workbook to explore finding your truest self outside of a work life, including when other people may not yet be available to play. Wonderful personal stories of people experiencing shellshock, grief, disorientation, and isolation so common to retirement, and finding their own way to the other side -joy, engagement, connection, fulfillment.

MsRichLife

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Re: Decompression Tips?
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2018, 04:10:14 AM »
My Decompression time extended to a year. In hindsight, I really needed it. The first month or so after FIRE, I tried to keep going at my pre-FIRE pace, but I crashed pretty soon after. For most of the first year all I could do was sleep, watch the birds, and focus on self-care. It's all a bit of a blur now. I wish I'd kept a journal, because I honestly can't say what I did in all that time. My recommendation is to just go with what your body tells you. You'll know when you are ready to get back into things.

FIREby35

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Re: Decompression Tips?
« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2018, 08:01:07 AM »
For me, learning to have self-guided Yoga and meditation practices has been the number one thing that helps me navigate the changing circumstances of life.  Yoga has helped me take control of my day-to-day routine, build a routine that enhances my overall mental health, daily satisfaction and become a happier more fulfilled person. First it will help you get your body in top condition then you will naturally address your own emotional and spiritual life.

Get any book from a classical yoga source, like the Bihar School of Yoga and the Yoga publications trust. Start at the beginning, don't be in a hurry and keep it simple.

PS I'm not FIRE. But, I have saved a lot of cash, own my own business, have an income beyond what I can spend and have chosen to keep working on a cause that is dear to me 30 hours a week from my law office. Also, I'm 33 and totally get that no one really understands a person in their 30's with your/my level of freedom. Don't bother trying to explain, in my opinion.

Trudie

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Re: Decompression Tips?
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2018, 07:26:49 AM »
I'm seven months in and all I can recommend is to be gentle with yourself.  It's an adjustment.  You may start projects and realize they bore you or enthrall you.  It's good to learn how to hold on loosely and say no.  Stop doing something if you no longer enjoy it.

In retrospect I think that the true goal in the early days of FIRE is realizing that you have agency over your own life again.  You're trying to learn new habits, so give yourself a break.  You just broke away from an institution.  Give yourself time.

I've had ups and downs, but that's to be expected.  But I'm also trying on new hats and figuring out what I enjoy.  At first I felt a tremendous pressure to make a difference so I couldn't be accused of being lazy.  Fuck that. Many days I have found myself happily puttering around the house, making meals, managing our finances.  I am also getting more picky about who I spend my time with.  Now that I'm further into it I've found other people I really enjoy working with on volunteer stuff.  So, my new standard is that if I enjoy the people I will give more time, less money.  If I think the cause is worthwhile but find the meetings and people lackluster I just write a check.  I spent too much time working with toxic people and bullshit to put up with it anymore.
Many other people don't understand FIRE at all.  I still find this frustrating, as if you need their approval to justify how you spend your time.  But, once in awhile I find people who do get it and understand life is short. I spend most of my time with those people.