“Must” and “relax” in one sentence – a contradiction in terms, isn’t it?
But it happens more often than you might think.
We are aware that we should create a balance to the stressful everyday life, that we should pay attention to our health, get enough sleep, drink a lot, eat healthy food and, oh yes, do sports. And not just cardio training so that the heart remains strong, but also something for strength so that we keep posture.
And kaching – at least three points more on the daily To Do List.
Sometimes there mediation is added.
And there we sit, restless, with our monkey mind …
“Meditation is not for me. I tried so hard not to think, but it just doesn’t work. And then I get angry at myself for not being able to do it,” someone said to me the other day.
I couldn’t help laughing. Especially since I know the effect myself.
We plan for something to make us feel better, to calm us down – and exactly the opposite happens. Mostly because we transfer the performance principles of our everyday work-life to our leisure time and relaxation activities. And suddenly our anti-stress programme stresses us out.
And we are not totally with ourselves in the yoga class, for example, and pay attention to our well-being and our limits, but instead look at our trainings mate next to us to see if we are the one that performs better.
I still remember when I was doing training for a half marathon. That was at a time when I had to travel a lot in my job. But the training schedule had to be adhered to if I wanted to achieve my time target. What happened was that suddenly running was no longer fun for me, it had become a duty, a compulsion, a compulsion I had imposed on myself. In the end I was not fitter but even more exhausted after the running sessions.
I ran the half-marathon anyway – but I decided: running should not have this taste in the future. Meanwhile I’m running again – out of joy. Regularly, yes, but as often and as much as I like. And I have made room for other sports and leisure activities that I enjoy. Feels smoother. More relaxed.
And sometimes I take a nap instead of meditating. Or a walk instead of running.
My inner voice has become my compass for relaxation.
It is very reliable in knowing what would be good for me in that moment, what I need to feel better. It only needs stillness to perceive it – and the will to listen to it.
How do you “plan” your relaxation?
Why don’t you try to create “neutral” islands of relaxation in the coming week. These can be a few minutes in between, but also longer periods. Then pause, breathe consciously, come to rest and listen inside yourself what you feel like.
Follow the first impulse and be curious, what happens!
To a relaxed week.