The Art Of Relaxing
I am your typical, type-A, over-thinking, ball of worry. I've been that way since I was a little girl and if I am not careful, I can easily fall into that natural mode. As the years pass, I am more deeply understanding the need to rest. 2017 has been no different.
Relax your mind
I don't know about you, but I can think circles around most people I know. My mind is constantly racing... and it usually races to worst case scenario if I let it go untamed. In 2017, I started practicing "mindfulness," meaning I am more thoughtful about my thoughts and intentions. Hippie-ness aside, simply stopping myself from going into a downward spiral of negative thoughts or stress actually helps. I am mindful not to bring back memories that mess with my head.
Another way I relax this ever-thinking mind is to do something. Sometimes I need to veg out on Netflix, read a book, or find the end of Pinterest. Sometimes I kick my husband out of the house, turn on funk music, and disappear into my art room. Whatever you need to get yourself out of a funk, do that more often. It is much better to "waste" a Saturday relaxing than to spend the whole week a ball of pissy stress.
Give yourself grace
Creating space to relax means limiting how many people expect a lot from you--including yourself! At the beginning of 2017, I had to deal with my lack of grace for myself in a real way. I had gained some weight, not from any drastic changes, just from small laxes that added up. Suddenly, my high standards of how thin and "healthy" I had to appear had to deal with my heavier self. I couldn't sleep. look in the mirror, or even think straight. My mind became unhealthy so then I started beating myself up over how unfit I was from the outside in.
After 6 weeks of a binge and restriction cycle, my husband sat me down and gave me two choices: to get a physical trainer or to see a therapist. I began working out shortly after, but the real game changer was giving myself GRACE. Although it seemed my problem appeared overnight, the truth is it didn't. I couldn't expect myself to lose the weight overnight that took months to gain. Instead of thinking about how far I got off-track, I reminded myself that failure is a part of every long-term success.
What I am saying, give yourself room to be a human. If you want to be successful at ANYTHING, you're going to experience ebbs and flows along the way. Sometimes the world crashing down is simply a lower point in your journey. Just keep going and love yourself along the way.
Do something really fun every week
Sounds simple right? Yeah, not so much. Doing this requires you to carve out at least 4 hours every week to *not* do something saturated in productiveness. For workaholics, this seems like blasphemy. Seriously though, you have to recharge and have fun. What is the point of working hard if it allows for no time to enjoy the fruits of your labor -- like a day off or an extra hundred bucks to spend on a special night out?
If you have to think hard about the last time you had fun, it is time to cut loose and do something.
Identify factors in your life that always bring chaos - fix them or remove them
This one sounds obvious, but I see myself and others struggle with it the most. With big stuff like relationships or a career, we all tend to hold on longer than we can because of expectations. I hate quitting anything, but sometimes walking away from a toxic job or relationship is the best thing you can do - your life will be lighter and less chaotic - which leads to less stress and more relaxation.
Be selfish with your time and don't apologize
This one doesn't need much explanation. If you want to make everyone happy and be a "yes man," you can expect everyone to be happy, except you. Do what you need to do and don't let anyone make you feel small for it.
gET SOME SLEEP
This is a biggie! Get to bed at a decent time every night and invest in a sleep routine. Every night, you should have a routine leading up to getting into bed. For me, it is my skincare routine, setting out my clothes for the next day, drinking a fizzy magnesium drink, then getting in bed. I try not to watch TV in bed (on my phone). If you have an iPhone, you can set a nightly "Do Not Disturb" so your phone isn't keeping you awake! I have mine set from 10pm to 7am.
You can find loads of info and suggestions on what you should or shouldn't have in your bedroom - my advice: no TV or electronics, no extra furniture, and as minimalistic as possible! The bedroom is for sleeping and sex only, peps.
Have a "breathe day" once a month or as needed
Breathe days are days you simply take the time to take a breath of fresh air and give yourself space to think straight. Take advice from above and don't let anyone make you feel bad for this! I love to get on a kayak for my breathe day -- or sitting in a coffee shop with no crazy agenda for the day, then heading to a local plant store to pick out some new lovelies for the house.
Are you stressed out? Clear your schedule for one whole day and just take the time to relax - breathe. It is okay, and I promise you'll be a much more efficient and happy person if you take the time to invest into yourself.