“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” Chinese Proverb
Life can too often become a constant blur of sleeping, waking, working and sleeping again without ever pausing to relax.Whether you are working from home, a stay-at-home parent, or commuting every day to a job, chances are that you’re tasking for a majority of the day.
Fielding calls all day in a call center is work.
Taking care of a child is work.
Being constantly connected to email and a cell phone is work.
Tidying up at home is work.
Photographing distant lands for a travel magazine is still work.
Whether you love what you’re doing, are ambivalent about it or even hate it, you’re still working. And a problem with work is that there is often more of it than can be done in the time allotted FOR working and that leaves little to no time to relax.
Even your days off are likely to be filled with tasks you hope to take care of to either “catch up” or “stay on top of things”—with little time set aside to breathe and do nothing, mindfully.
The alternative to tasking isn’t mindless video games, drinking or other ways of checking out—it’s the deliberate pausing of activity to reflect, refresh and relax.
In the same way that getting organized a few minutes each day yields greater results over time, so does relaxing each day rather than cramming as much into each day as you can and then running away to a week-long vacation.
Because we’ve all experienced the re-entry that happens when you get home—you fall back into tasking mode and your sense of relaxation is out the window until you can steal another week away in (hopefully) six months.
Today is National Relaxation Day, so let’s celebrate it by changing your habits and setting the timer for 15 minutes to just do nothing and relax.
Sit quietly, recharge and take a breather.
Unless you’re on a particularly intense deadline, you can fit 15 minutes into your day to relax.
And while you may not be able to take the entire day off to visit your happy place, here are 3 easy ways to quickly relax and reconnect with yourself.
1) Unplug yourself from technology
As great as technology can be, being constantly connected to hundreds or thousands of people can be a huge stressor. Turn your phone off, or at least leave it in the other room and enjoy some distraction-free time with your family, friends, a pet or a plant.
2) Take a Dip
Whether you have a pool or a pond where you can float around weightlessly, or simply a large tub for a bubble bath or salt soak, taking a few minutes to mull over life in the water can help re-center you. I do my best thinking in the shower each morning!
3) Read a Book
An actual book, not a blog post or a magazine article. When life is intense, sometimes the most relaxing thing to do is to visit an alternate world. When I’m overwhelmed, a good mystery immediately transports me to someone else’s world where it really is life or death. Suddenly my problems don’t seem so compelling.
Whatever you choose to do, let today be the beginning of a new habit of taking 15 minutes each day to disconnect with everything else and reconnect with yourself. Take this chance to shift your experience from being who you think you should be to getting closer to being who you actually are.