Learning to Relax

Relaxation.  The unofficial mantra of the fourth of July weekend.  As we celebrate our country’s birthday, many of us have time to be with our family and friends relaxing.   It seems easy enough to just kick back, but is it really?  I admit that I’m guilty of filling most waking minutes trying to be productive, responding to the ongoing demands of the circumstances around me.  Emails can be answered while walking, lists can be made while waiting at a stop light, every moment, can be productive with Smartphone technology. This drive to make every moment count, spills over into my down time as well.  I play solitaire or 2048 while watching movies, watch the news while cooking and send texts to family and friends while talking with my mom on the phone.  I had four days to spend time without technology.  But I quickly realized that spending time with my own thoughts, without any distractions, is difficult.  I’m having to relearn how to not have every moment occupied with more than one sensory input.  I have to remember how to relax.

After a few hours of nothing to do, I went on a quest to learn how to relax.  Mindfulness seemed like a great place to start.  The website Mindfulness:  Getting Started even had a video, which seemed about my speed.  I forced myself to not play a quick game of 2048 while listening to the video and concentrated on the gentleman’s voice encouraging me to let go of the concept of me.  A step in the right direction.  Focusing on my breaths going in and out, I began noticing the objects in room.  On these objects,  I saw a layer of dust that I had missed, I got a cloth to wipe it off and put the cloth in the laundry, before I returned to comfortable chair to try again.  I was going to relax if it killed me.

I’ll admit, I didn’t relax as much as I would have liked.  I wasn’t able to completely put my phone away either.  However, I learned a few strategies that may not be relaxing, but at least are heading the right direction.  Biking, working in the yard, walking with my husband with phones left at home and grilling outside, helped me to unwind.  Eventually, I found myself not thinking about a training I’m organizing or answering all the emails that follow me home from work.  Instead I focused on being in the moment, even if it was for just a moment.