You can also contact me by email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Relaxing. A word that evokes tangy cocktails with dainty umbrellas, lay-back lounge chairs and dusky-burnt sunsets as a backdrop.
Do you see that too? Right now? Yeah, you do.
That’s because for so many of us, the idea of relaxing is something to be saved for dream-time and vacations. The one we were planning on taking the last two years and have been saving for the past three.
Life gets in the way. We are so busy, busy, busy, and then you add children to the mix and that wonderous visualization becomes an even more distant reality..
Who has time to relax? Relaxation is equated with laziness in a lot of households.
We have mouths to feed, mortgages to pay, homes to beautify and some very important creative projects with looming deadlines don’t cha know?
I don’t have time.
The one sentence used by men and women of all ages and backgrounds but so often espoused by mummies.
Why is that?
Because no one can do our job better than we do. No one is needed as much as we are by our children and our partners and husbands. Lives would fall apart without us at the steering wheel and therefore we must keep moving and keep being everything to everyone.
Until, the time comes when we find ourselves inhaling a pack of Tim Tams every second night, opening a bottle of wine at 3.30pm (and finishing by 6pm) or walking around with a mammoth ball of anxiety clutched to our chests.
Do we have a people-pleaser in da house?
That’s what women are socialised to be from a very young age. We become adept at intuiting what people want and need. We aim to keep others as comfortable and content as possible, even if it is to our personal detriment, because we think it gives us more value as human beings.
It’s possible to keep going like this for years, if you want to. But soon enough, body and mind have a way of collaborating to let you know that there is a price to pay.
The ball of stress that is now the size of an elephant following you around every room and obscuring your happiness.
When a farmer grows a crop for many years on the one field, the crop will decline in quality each year. The farmer must rest the field and replenish the soil periodically. Similarly, relaxation is a way of nurturing and replenishing our minds and bodies so that we can continue to grow and flourish. (Dr Cate Howell and Dr Michele Murphy)
The message is clear.
If you want to continue taking good care of others, you need to take care of yourself.
Every day brings some kind of stress to our lives. Sometimes the stress moves us forward and other times it wears us down.
Left unchecked, stress can severely impede your abilities to lead a happy healthy life. It’s therefore, imperative that you have a strategy to deal with stress.
In this three-part series I discussed the use of journalling, list-making and scheduling to avoid overwhelm, mindful thinking, and the importance of regular relaxation. These three steps can be used as a powerful strategy to manage and prevent stress.
You will no doubt know other tactics that are effective for reducing negative stress. That’s great! Do what works for you.
But the most important thing is to make yourself a priority. Make relaxation an everyday priority.
We all know how to relax really don’t we?
I could give you a list of top relaxation practices that are guaranteed to increase stress resistance and promote dreamy contentment and a gooey-body feeling, but you already have your own.
You just have to start practicing them. Regularly.