Believe it or not, there are people out there who suck at relaxing. Present company included. How do you know if you suck at relaxing?
- Do you ever feel guilty for taking some downtime?
- Are you unable to watch tv/movie without multitasking?
- Do you haul your electronics with you on vacation?
I’ve done all of the above, many times over. Some people, like my husband, are professional relaxers. I deal with a decent amount of anxiety, combined with a severe Type A personality, which means the words “relax” and “chill out” aren’t really in my vocabulary. But I have learned how to adapt over the years, thanks to some really fun encounters with burnout. So even if taking a moment to relax and recharge doesn’t come naturally to you, you’re not alone. But there are still plenty of ways you can get that much-needed R&R before burnout grabs hold.
Get your head below your heart
Put your head between your knees, or stand and hang your head and arms toward your toes. Getting your head below your heart has restorative effects on the autonomic nervous system, lessening your reactivity to the fight-or-flight response and helps you get in the right mindset to rest and recharge.
Do a puzzle and listen to music
When I need to tear myself away from screens, I often turn to puzzles. I throw on some headphones and zone out on a puzzle. I’m a firm believer that puzzles are the perfect relaxation activity for high-strung people. Because you give your body a chance to rest, avoid screen time, and yet you’re still able to accomplish something so you don’t feel like you’re idling.
Massage your hands
Rub your favorite luxurious cream into your palms. Massage each joint and the webbing between each finger. Clench and release your fists. Then flex your wrists. The stretch will help relieve tension from endlessly tapping at your keyboard or scrolling through your phone.
Dim the lights, light a few candles and get your hands dirty in the kitchen. Cooking a meal is something that can be highly stressful on a regular day, especially if you have kids running around. But setting a calming scene can completely change the experience. It doesn’t have to be a fancy meal, the important thing is to go slow and take your time. Taste as you go, and enjoy a glass of wine.
Get in the garden
Gardening is a type of meditation for me, and I don’t even have a yard. Whether you have a huge plot of land or a raised garden bed on your balcony, a little time in the garden each day is good for the soul. Even if it’s just a little bit of daily pruning, taking the time to connect with your bit of earth is a great way to recharge.
Go for a guided walk
Why walk alone with you can walk with Dolly Parton? Thanks to apps like Apple Fitness, Headspace and Calm, guided walks are now more entertaining than ever.