When you think about relaxing, you probably don’t consider that actually figuring out how to relax might be a difficult task for certain people such as workaholics. There are some who are addicted to being busy throughout their entire day. While it’s great to be on top of things and cross everything off of your to-do list each day, there’s a huge difference between being busy for the sake of being busy and being productive.
In her book, Daring Greatly, Brené Brown explains the reason many of us feel the need to stay busy is because it acts as a universal numbing strategy. When we avoid dealing with the things going on in our life, it’s natural to want to keep occupied with busy schedules and plans. But the truth is, avoiding deep emotions will only lead to more stress.
Practical Relaxation Techniques
When you’re not used to idle hands, figuring out how to relax might seem impossible. Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Get out in nature.
It’s up to you how you decide to immerse yourself in nature. Will you go for a walk in the park? Or are you more inclined to sit by the lake and take some deep breaths? Being in nature is said to reduce levels of stress hormones in your body. It will also center your focus on something that isn’t concerned with external factors, actually making you feel relaxed and calm.
Many people are afraid of mediation, but it’s one of the best things you can do for your body. When you focus on your breathing, you’re sending a signal to your brain telling it that it’s okay to surrender. With this signal, you can then focus on tactics that keep you in the present and release negative thoughts, all while drinking your morning coffee.
3. Plan time for relaxation.
Obviously, we’re more likely to relax if it’s made part of our busy schedules. Relaxation should be a non-negotiable like eating dinner or taking a shower. It’s also easier to feel relaxed during this planned out time because you know that’s what it’s meant for. Be clear about your goals for this relaxation period and allow yourself to really play into this downtime.
4. Do something that makes you happy.
When we’re so focused on keeping busy it becomes easy to neglect the things that bring us true joy. Maybe this is watching a new series or reading a book — regardless of the specifics, doing something that makes you happy is ultimately relaxing. Hobbies give us a chance to find pleasure in things that aren’t tied to work, chores, or other responsibilities that keep us from relaxing.
5. Change your mindset.
For people (like myself) who might feel guilty about vegging out on the couch as opposed to tackling the day, it’s important to re-prioritize your mind. This means that you must change your outlook on relaxation to make it appear as a necessity. We should begin to see relaxing with equal importance to something like working on projects with a deadline. There’s no reason for guilt when you have to relax.
Signs You Need to Relax
If you’re used to being “on” all of the time, you may not even notice just how burned out your body and mind actually are.
1. You’re experiencing burnout.
Burnout is a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that occurs as a result of being overworked. Affecting many people who are workaholics, burnout can alter your normal functioning. This state of exhaustion can be extremely hard to push through and it’s vital that you recognize the power of relaxing to decrease the symptoms of burnout.
2. You keep getting sick.
We’ve always been told that excessive stress can lead to a weakened immune system. So what do you need to do if you keep getting sick? Relax, of course! The immune system becomes unable to fight off antigens that cause disease and infection due to heightened stress responses. We must be aware of the ways in which a lack of relaxation affects us physically.
3. You have nightmares frequently.
One of the most common causes of frequent nightmares is linked to high stress and anxiety levels in your waking day. If you’re too busy and are finding it hard to handle all the responsibilities you hold, you may experience nightmares each night. By taking time to relax and practice some of the techniques already discussed, it will help minimize nightmares and create a good night’s sleep.
Benefits of Relaxation
Taking time out to relax each day will help even the busiest people.
1. You will become more productive.
Sometimes we’re so focused on accomplishing tasks in a quick manner that we forget the mental toll that inevitably ensues without any time for relaxing. But research shows that taking short, frequent breaks will actually improve your productivity. We should do what’s best for our level of productivity and if that means relaxing, I think that’s a pretty sweet deal.
2. You will be better equipped to manage stress and anxiety.
When you don’t give yourself the time to relax, stress and anxiety can become an overwhelming hole that you can’t dig yourself out of. Your perspective might be blurred and you can lose sight of simple coping mechanisms. However, when you let relaxation into your life, you gain a clearer vision and can easily get back to the basics of dealing with stress and anxiety.
3. You will be happier.
There’s nothing better than genuine contentment within your life. When the weight of the world doesn’t seem too heavy to carry, you become a happier person who is able to live fully and without limitations.
Setting aside time to relax, is one of the best ways to guarantee happiness within yourself and your responsibilities. It’s all about taking time for you until you’re actually you again.
Originally published on YourTango