When I say I'm learning to relax, what I really mean is that I have a hard time slowing my brain down. My brain is sitting here running about 100 miles per minute thinking about all of the things that I could, should, and would like to do with my time. Usually, this is how my brain is working: "Did I shut all of the lights in the kitchen off? Why do I keep typing 'brian' instead of 'brain'? If I get to work tomorrow at 8:30am what can I accomplish tomorrow? What do I need to accomplish tomorrow? Oh god. I'm supposed to be writing a blog post." All of this is going on as I write, and continue to misspell the word "brain."
Anyway, my thoughts used to be going 600 miles a minute, so we'll call it progress.
I've never been good at relaxing, but the past few months have taught me that a little R and R can do the mind good. Now, I'm not saying you need to discard all of the stressors in your life (because we all know that's impossible), or start doing deep meditation 5 hours a day - I do recommend yoga, but more on that later. Learning to relax is very simple (not easy, mind you). In order to learn to relax, you have to practice relaxing. And one practices relaxing by doing relaxing things. Here are a few I enjoy:
- Reading. Reading for fun is one of the best ways that I relax. I like to force myself out of bed early just to read before work. Escaping into a different time and place is something that I've always found relaxing, but didn't make time for in the past two years. Now, I'm back at it, and tearing through novels.
- Exercise. Yoga is probably the best exercise for relaxing, but if you're like me, you can't sit/stand still long enough to make it to the end. (Yes, I recognize the irony in that statement. I'm working on it...) I also enjoy running as a form of stress relief, and I find I am less stressed overall when I've worked out in the morning.
- Walking. A mid day walk (if you can sneak away from your desk) is a great way to relax, especially if you're having a rough day in the office.
- Journaling. This is another great way to relieve stress. Writing things down is a symbolic way of getting things off your chest. If you're religious, praying also works. As a point of personal preference, writing things down is easier for me because I really think about something before I write it down.
Like I said, I'm learning. What that means is that most of the time, I'm still bad at relaxing. But I'm working on it. And I'm very glad I am!
Let us know at @LLandCS on Twitter how you relax!