Recently, I had a conversation with someone that sparked me to think about what we view as relaxation these days. I say these days because I think that culturally it has changed a lot. In our current fast paced world where we are running non stop and taking in information constantly, our view of relaxation is kind of skewed.
I was speaking to a woman that considers herself an introvert, so someone who naturally needs some quiet down time to themselves to recharge. When I asked her what she did for relaxation, what she named was working out, running, dance class, and even food shopping on her own, as she has 3 kiddos that are usually with her.
I found myself asking….are these things really relaxation? Are our lives just moving so fast these days, that exercise and grocery shopping is viewed as relaxation? What happened to the days of sitting on the porch swing watching the world go by? As a society has our definition of relaxation skewed? I personally think so.
Please don’t get me wrong….I don’t discredit exercise, dance, or any other activities that you enjoy one bit. They are amazing for your health, wellness, and happiness! They have great benefits that can be similar, like stress reduction, and mood boosting. You may feel really relaxed after you have exercised, and grocery shopping may feel relaxing compared to the rest of your busy day. I’m just saying that exercise or grocery shopping is not actually relaxation in my opinion.
Why is relaxation important? Because it helps us recharge. It allows our bodies & brains that are so used to moving a million miles a minute in our fast paced culture to take a break. It benefits our immune system & reduces stress which affects all areas of our health, and our mood. For me, when I am truly relaxing, that is when I get to daydream about my life. I get to ponder the things that I don’t have time to ponder otherwise, and this is when inspiration flows in. It’s important time to me. It recharges me, and gives me time to connect with myself and play with those daydreams of mine. I believe that we are all creative creatures, and having that time to daydream and allow inspiration to flow at free will is so beneficial!
What do I think real relaxation looks like? I know it can be different for everyone, but I’ll leave you with a few ideas that I like.
Maybe it means taking a slow stroll in the woods or through your neighborhood where you are taking in all the colors and textures around you and thinking about what you are grateful for in life, rather than running or hiking fast for exercise, or checking your email on your phone. Maybe it's just sitting on the couch and cuddling your pet without taking in TV at the same time. It could be sitting on the beach and just staring at the water and daydreaming rather than running or reading a book while you are there. Just sit there and be. Maybe it looks like having a hammock in your backyard so you have a special place to go sometimes to just rest & listen to the birds. Maybe it’s laying on your bed listening to a favorite album. Maybe it is lighting a candle & taking a long bath. It could be sitting at a coffee shop, sipping on a latte or tea and just watching the world go by. I could go on for a long time with these I’m sure!
What is relaxation for you? Could you benefit by redefining what it means for you?
Whatever it is for you, it should be in an environment that you feel calm in, and free of distractions that could make you feel like you should be doing something else. I know….to some of you that may seem like a fairytale land, but we are creative people. When something is important in life, we make it work. We carve out a little time to make things happen that we view as priorities. Is getting a little bit of true relaxation in your life a priority? How much do you think it could benefit you?
So if you are willing, I challenge you to take a little time for yourself to relax. Try it on. Make it a priority. You don’t need to carve out a huge chunk of time. Maybe it’s only 20 minutes, maybe it’s a couple of hours. If it’s hard for you, know that everything takes practice, even relaxing. Know that you deserve it, and that it’s good for you. Let your mind wander. Soak it up. Soak up the details around you and just breathe. Know that you don’t have to be filling every second of your day with busyness. With a little effort, before you know it, you could master the art of relaxation, and it could make a really positive effect on your stress levels, your health, and how you deal with everything in life. Giving yourself the gift of relaxation can help you feel more clear, and energized to deal with the rest of life. It also feels really good, and you deserve that kind of time.
Cheers to a little relaxation!