Together, in this post, we’re going to look at how to relax. But first I’m inviting you to join me on a little journey.
It started on a train
I’d been out for the day visiting family, and I was now sitting back on the train enjoying the journey home. It felt good to do nothing. As I sat, letting my mind wander, I reflected on how nice it was to be able to relax, without something pushing for my attention. There always seems as if there’s something to do.
WP’s prompt from 9th September, 2023 asks “how do you relax?”. Sadly, from this experience over the summer, I don’t take time to relax and fear I’m not alone. We’re all so busy in our lives, rushing around, constantly doing “stuff”.
Why its important to relax?
When we’re continuously on the go we can put ourselves under stress which is bad for our health. Taking time to relax, to look after our mental health and wellbeing are important.
We hear a lot about self-care, but whatever label we use, taking time out to do things that help us relax will benefit us enormously. We should feel happier, calmer, be more productive and have a better focus. There are some simple things we can do to relax and have better wellbeing. For example, employees who take a proper lunch break, away from their desks, have more energy, are more productive and effective afterwards, compared with their colleagues who don’t stop for lunch. (Harvard Business Review)
How to relax
There are many ways to relax. Being individuals we will find that we all prefer different activities when we’re relaxing. Another factor contributing to how we relax will depend on circumstances and time. Whether you have 15 minutes to walk or a day to visit a spa for some pampering, you will still benefit.
As I’ve said, we can and do relax in different ways. Some people relax by being active – exercise, practice sports. Others might prefer social activities – spending time with family and friends. While yet others might prefer quiet time – meditating, sitting reading, writing or just letting their minds wander. Its important when choosing relaxation activities, we find the ones that are going to work for us personally. If we don’t tailor our choices to our personality, we won’t relax. You may even add to your stress levels which would be counterproductive.
How do I relax?
Returning to the prompt question, how I relax, seems to vary depending on what I need. I’m sure that will be the same for everyone.
I like to go for walks, taking in my surroundings and relax in nature. This is good if a day has been busy or there is a lot going on in my head. I need the calm, slower pace to relax and unwind, to silence the day.
I find visiting and exploring towns and cities, castles and museums etc energising. It is so much fun. They can be exhausting, but the fun and high from the visit also means I’m relaxing. Maybe the important thing is to break your routine to escape the normal stressors of daily life to unwind and recharge.
Unfortunately, sometimes my health gets the better of me. Either a CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) flare up or migraine attacks and while I need to relax, I certainly wouldn’t have the energy to go exploring. Even a walk will be beyond my abilities on the worst days. How do I relax when confined to the house? I think one of the key things is to not let the confinement itself be a source of stress. How I relax in these situations really comes down to how bad I feel. Relaxation could take the form of reading and/or writing. Brain fog is a problem, but it seems less severe when writing, even chatting electronically, rather than using the spoken word. I don’t understand it; just accept it, adapt and move forward. When the CFS is really bad my relaxation activities might involve yoga and meditation, followed by catch up tv. This post gives an insight into my life with CFS.
Having reviewed why we need to relax, some of the ways to unwind, together with what I do, its important to consider the future. Thinking back to my totally relaxed train journey, and my reflections at the time, I promised myself to not let go of the tranquility. Have I succeeded so far? I think there is certainly a risk of letting slip. Last Sunday was my birthday but I spent the day marking. I know, however, that this weekend is a holiday, with a day off for me on Monday. I decided it was better to work last weekend in order to have the time to celebrate this weekend. Particularly tomorrow which is planned as a day of coffees, lunch and a museum visit for the Mary Quant Exhibition.
I also found, as this weekend approached, I was planning how I could spend Sunday working. Common sense and focus on self-care took over, the work tools have been packed away until Tuesday. Sunday has now been a day of writing and blogging.
It appears we know what relaxation activities are – we can recognise them. However, are you like me and find it difficult to take the time to relax and have fun?
I’d love to read your views in the comments section and if you’ve not yet signed up to my blog, then please join me today.