Did you know Sunday, Aug. 15 is National Relaxation Day? Yeah, neither did I until a couple of days ago. Once I found this article about it on www.NationalDayCalendar.com, I started thinking about my own relaxation journey.
For the first 43 years of my life, I didn't know how to relax. You wonder how I know? Because I can tell you the exact time I realized it...
I had just relocated to Florida and was sitting in my new home. Having just changed jobs, I had a full weekend off and to myself for the first time in several years (I had worked in a high-pressured position where I averaged 90-100 hours of work per week - 6 days per week). I sat on my bed and wondered what to do. After a few minutes I started giggling to myself realizing that I didn't have to do anything. In fact, with no one to see and no projects to work on, I was completely free. And on that mid-October weekend, I did NOTHING. Well, I did everything...everything I wanted to do. No timelines, no limitations, no fears. And I repeated that type of weekend relaxing for several consecutive months, figuring out there were some activities I loved doing just to actively relax:
Sitting at the beach on an overcast day when it's 70 degrees...
Making loaves of bread from scratch then giving it away at work the next Monday (I try to limit my gluten to weekends only)
Aimlessly strolling through a second-hand bookstore
Binging documentaries on chefs, food, and everything yummy then cooking a meal from the inspiration
Strolling through outdoor art fairs
And since that time about seven years ago, I keep adding to my list of active relaxation. Why? Because it helps me focus when it's time to get things done, it keeps my anxiety in check, and it makes me an overall happier person. When I relax I have space to think, reflect, appreciate, and renew. I love the feeling so much I taught myself to find it with a 10-minute mediation - which I do every morning and night.
I never knew how to relax when I was younger. My background and personality fosters work and success goals over personal wellness - as I'm sure is true of many. As I started 3 Ten Candles I returned to a lot of my graduate school psychology research and among it were findings about relaxation. I wanted updated understanding and found this article from Psychology Today very interesting as the author talks about why people can't relax and the science of de-stressing.
So as we go into this #NationalRelaxationDay, I hope you can take a moment and find a little peace, joy, and relaxation. Need some suggestions on ways to relax? Here are 40 Ways to Relax in 5 minutes or Less.
Happy National Relaxation Day! Today, tomorrow and always.