“I’m soooo stressed!”
This seems to be the catch-cry of three-quarters of the people I know. Myself included. It’s as though the bulk of the population are pushing themselves to breaking point.
I’m certainly guilty of this. I work two jobs: as a blogger and as a retail assistant. I run a household. I have a boyfriend and a family that I like to spend time with. I also run an etsy store. My life is pretty much crammed to the brim with commitments and responsibilities. And I’m not the only one.
Now more than ever, it seems that people are striving to make their lives as productive and meaningful as possible. We try to fit as many activities as we can into a single day. If everything isn’t ticked off our ever-growing to-do list by the end of the day, we feel like a failure. When you’re pushing yourself to accomplish so much, relaxing is usually the first thing to fall by the wayside.
If you’re a Type A personality (driven, goal-oriented and organized) you might feel that relaxing is lazy or self-indulgent. I’m here to tell you that it is neither of those things. More importantly, making time to relax is vital to maintaining good mental and physical health. Here are my tips for relaxing for Type A people.
Realise how important relaxation is.
You can’t do your best work if you’re exhausted. And exhaustion is inevitable if you never take time out. Constantly pushing yourself to work harder without a break puts immense strain on your body and mind. This will deplete your mental resources and you’ll find it more difficult to motivate yourself to work. Your immune system will be weakened and you’ll be more susceptible to illness. Also, the work that you do while tired and burnt-out will be lacklustre.
If you constantly tell yourself that relaxing is a waste of time, and that you should be spending that time doing something productive, you’ll feel guilty as hell whenever you take time out. Instead, remind yourself that you need to relax often to be able to work at your optimal level. So relaxation actually helps you to work harder and better. Relaxation is good for you!
Plan ahead for relaxation.
If you’re anything like me, your schedule is full to the brim with appointments and important tasks. It’s hard to relax when you’ve got a date book that’s bursting at the seams. To counter this, schedule a set period of time for relaxation every day. Write it in ink and highlight it so that you can’t erase it. Make relaxation time a non-negotiable part of your routine.
Switch off, unplug and unwind.
I’m often guilty of spending my relaxation time trawling the internet. I’ll check my Bloglovin’, I’ll reply to a few comments on my blog, I’ll start planning a new post and before I know it, I’m working!
If you usually spend your down-time online, you’ll be able to relate to the myriad of distractions that the net presents. That’s why it’s a good idea to switch off your laptop and your phone when it’s time to unwind. You’ll be less likely to get drawn into working by accident. Instead, read a book, take a bath, go outside, make something with your hands. Doing something away from the computer will give your mind and body a better shot at true relaxation.
Resist the temptation to multi-task.
Whenever I sit down to watch a movie, I find it very hard to sit still. I’ll start thinking to myself, “Oh, I’ll just plug in the iron and finish the laundry while I watch this”. Or “I’ll throw on my workout clothes and do some pilates in front of the telly”. Or “I can totally answer these emails and watch Dr Who at the same time”.
Multitasking is a killer. You can’t give your full attention to either task, so you wind up doing both badly. It robs you of the ability to work productively and cuts into your relaxation time. What a bummer.
Give yourself permission to just be. Just watch your movie, read your book, listen to that album. If you absolutely can’t sit still, do something low-key like painting your nails. It’s still relaxing and pampering, and you can do it without shifting your focus too much.
Do you find it hard to wind-down? How do you work relaxation into a busy schedule?