“Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.”
Our lives are full. With work, family, friends, bills, study, and general life we can find ourselves living in a state of constant ‘busyness ’ – regardless of occupation, we’ve all been there at some stage!
I am often just not aware of how much I have let my life get ‘busy’, carrying stress and a fair chunk of worry around daily, until my body gives out in protest, and I catch the latest virus or come down with a headache or stomach flu! It’s almost as if my body is saying “if you can’t stop – I’ll make you”! It’s telling me in no uncertain words to “relax”…
But what is relaxation?
The philosophers and mystics say it’s to “enter a state of weightlessness” and to be “in the flow”, to still your internal dialogue and experience a time of quite peacefulness. Modern day researchers too understand the importance of relaxation – linking people’s ability to relax and achieve REM sleep to cognitive functions, to the ability to learn, to innovate and to succeed.
But how can we achieve this state of “weightlessness” in our oh-so-busy lives?! I am definitely not a physician 🙂 but here are some of the techniques and ways I am trying to approach relaxation of body and mind.
Putting balance between ‘have to’ and ‘want to’ activities make those that you have to do, like work, grocery shopping (my not so secret dread) and the daily grind, so much more enjoyable. So take time to pursue your passion – activities that absorb you completely and put you into that “zone” in which the stresses of life fade into the background. I have recently started an art class to do just that, but it could be cooking, hiking, walking the dog or stamp collecting – whatever it is chase your passion down and pursue it!
In our high-tech world, we are surrounded by and immersed in information – how many times have you caught yourself just checking emails whilst at the dinner table, or just taking that business call whilst on the couch of an evening? Television, the internet, social media and the news – it can be information overload! So I’m learning to take time for myself during the day, to have a selah moment, be it with a coffee in the sun on the weekends, or just 5 minutes away from my desk at work, breaking away from the ‘information stream’ is important to maintain balance.
When I’m on holidays I’m a different person, I sleep deeper, I’m available for those heart-to-heart conversations, I feel more … me. When I’m on holidays I love who I am, and who I can be around those that I love – when taking a break I always think “I should do this more often-the world didn’t fall apart at work, this is do-able”, but then for some reason I get back into the grind and it all become wishful thinking! So I’m taking a leaf out of one of my mentor’s books and am beginning to plan my next holiday whilst I am on holiday. Besides being practical (I have more time to think and read up on exciting places to go) it also creates a goal to look towards when I get back to work.
They say laughter is the best medicine – and for me, I agree. There’s nothing like creating perspective and breaking a black mood than a good wholehearted belly laugh! Rent a classic comedy film, read a cartoon or watch your favourite comedian. Another sure fire way for a laugh for me is just to head out to coffee with friends – there’s nothing like conversation with friends to bring work life into perspective.
I can’t say I’m an expert, and I am definitely still learning but I know that letting stress and worry get the better of me limits potential and damages health – so I’ll keep trying things and finding new ways to relax!
*** Selah ***