People tend to view relaxation the way they view happiness – an elusive state that will happen to them some day as if by magic. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
The root word of “relaxation” is “relax” – a verb. That’s right – relaxing is an action that can’t happen to you. You must happen to it. While we all deal with external stressors – toxic work environments, bad relationships, politics – for most of us, our primary stress is internal. It’s a habit, just like biting your nails. You become addicted to the adrenaline rush from stress from high-pressure challenges, so you may even add sabotaging behaviors to existing challenges, such as procrastinating deadlines, to ramp up your adrenaline levels even more.
Relaxation then, must be practiced daily in order to mitigate this adrenaline addiction.
A few suggestions:
-Schedule time to worry about the things that are bothering you. This might mean working with a therapist, journaling, or making a list of things that are stressing you out, even if there’s no action you can currently take on them. Getting them out of your head will help lighten your emotional load.
-Make sure you’re taking care of the Golden Three: nutrition, exercise, and sleep. If you’re neglecting one of these three areas, you’ll find it difficult to relax, even if you’re lying on a beach on vacation.
-Cancel anything that can be removed from your schedule today. Most of us overstuff our lives with obligations and activities so that we never have any downtime, translating to never having time to face our worries or emotions. The flip side of this is that we also never have any time to relax.
-Find activities you enjoy that don’t involve technology – read a book, go for a walk, or take a nap.
-Stop eating lunch at your desk. Get out of the office and eat without distractions. Your digestion will work more effectively, and you’ll be more productive in the afternoon after a true break.
-Laugh every day. This is the most effective tip of all.
What will you do to practice relaxation today?