Back in December, I did a “Small Acts” series. I covered the ever important topics of education, sustainability, and organization. However, let’s say you’ve already organized your entire house using repurposed items, all while listening to your favorite educational podcast. Well I have the perfect topic for you.
Learning to relax. Not just sit on the couch with cheetos and Netflix “relax”. Actual, intentional, relaxation.
Busyness is all the rage. We glamorize it. We love how important it makes us sound. Yet, we cannot deny the dangerous burnout it causes to ourselves and our society at the end of the day. If you aren’t giving yourself a chance to recharge, you’re missing out on your full potential. Ultimately, this cuts yourself and your loved ones short. What we need is balance.
I am admittedly entranced with the European lifestyle (in fact, the above picture is from our honeymoon in Lucerne, Switzerland). Between, the weeks of vacation, embracing a good siesta, good food and drink without over exercising to compensate, European culture is all about enjoyment. When they’re at work, they work hard. They are also able to get home in time to hit up the market and have dinner with the family. Relaxation. Balance.
How do we implement this in a beneficial manner?
Identify what relaxation means to you.
For me, that’s a morning workout four to five days a week, followed by a daily routine of completing my cleaning and household to-dos, and ending with a hot cup of tea while reading an Agatha Christie novel. This doesn’t happen everyday, but it helps to have a clear picture of how my ultimate peaceful day looks.
Schedule time to relax.
I’ve mentioned before how much I love an old-fashioned pen and paper planning system. Maybe you prefer electronic scheduling such as Google Calendar or your Apple Calendar. Regardless of your method, choose at least one pleasurable item each day. Whether it’s ten minutes of yoga before bed or reading your favorite magazine with a good playlist going in the background, write it down!
In fact, get in the habit of scheduling all important tasks.
Speaking of writing relaxing tasks down, write everything down. It’s like a brain purge. Every once in a while, particularly whenever I’m feeling frazzled, I write out whatever to-dos come to my mind. Most of them I can plan to complete during the week, like lingering cleaning lists or finding a place for those rouge items in nearly every room. Periodically, they are long-term items I can’t complete for a month or a year, such as a home project. Either way, I have that list on hand for when I’m perusing a store or magazine or I have a spare hour at the end of the day. Then, you have time for some guilt free binging of The Great British Baking Show!
Begin to look to unconventional methods for relaxation.
A good deep cleaning session leaves me feeling rejuvenated. It’s not an uncommon way to unwind, though most people see this as a cumbersome activity instead of a release. Next time you’re feeling particularly worked up, try something new. Like sudoku, adult coloring books, gardening, or a bed of needles (I am a huge fan of this acupressure mat).
Find relaxation in every day moments.
Lastly, we cannot forget to chill out and enjoy the every day. There is a lot to be said about choosing to be happy in each moment and mind over matter, I consider both to be much easier said than done. You don’t have to be joyous every second of every day, in fact such a cheerful disposition would get down right annoying. You can, however, use that traffic jam and time to listen to your favorite podcast. You can use plush linens as you shower and get ready for the possibly chaotic day ahead. You can take a deep breath and ask yourself what you can do to make that moment better. You can focus on whatever task is at hand and do it well. We so often forget to take pride in what we do each day. I believe focus is what leads to the enjoyment of each activity, regardless of what that activity may be. Plus, some Golden Girls and candles going in the background doesn’t hurt either.
Go get a cup of tea, or mug of beer, and prop your feet up. Time to relax.