Sometimes I have to pause for a moment and think, “why the heck am I rushing right now?” I designed my life so that I work from home and set my own schedule, but still I find myself constantly feeling as if I’m under some kind of pressure to do everything and do it fast.
Oftentimes I have three or four things going on at any one time, which is why I often feel overwhelmed. What I’ve found us that the things to do don’t stop until I choose to stop doing them. Sometimes I have to force myself to just RELAX.
We Learn How to Worry and Live in a Continuing State of Tension from a Young Age…
When you’re in first grade, you’re taught that if you don’t draw inside the lines there may be a problem.
By the time you’re in sixth grade you’re taught that if you don’t have a group of friends there’s a problem.
By the time you’re in 10th grade you’re told that if you don’t fill out 50 college applications your future is in jeopardy.
When you’re a high school senior you’re pressured to find a prom date or else you’ll miss a once in a lifetime chance.
In college you’re pressured to be the best at everything and compete with your peers fiercely.
At your first job you’re expected to work your way up the corporate ladder.
And women, let’s not even talk about the pressure of being 29 years old and not married or not even having a boyfriend (“girl, your biological clock is ticking!”).
It’s clear that an inability to truly relax is built into many of us over the course of many years. When you’ve been taught so long to stress, worry and be concerned about every little thing that’s going on in your world, it seems almost impossible to just enjoy the present.
Relaxing Starts in Your Mind
The real reason why so many people find it so difficult to relax is that they haven’t mastered how to relax their minds. No matter how comfortable your body may be in a seat, if your mind is active and stressed you can’t get the rest that you truly need.
Here’s an example. I’m going to give you a simple command:
Sit down and relax every muscle in your body, from your toes to your forehead. Relax them completely.
A moment ago you probably didn’t even realize that there were parts of your body that were on “alert” either flexing or tensing. But when something told your mind to relax, you actually did.
Try this at night when you’re trying to fall asleep quickly and think of a place where you’d like to be. You may be surprised by how quickly you drift off into a nice dream.
Set Aside 1 Hour Each Day Just for You
When your schedule is full of things to do, including work projects, chores and daily routines, it’s essential that you take at least an hour each day to truly relax. Set aside a clear cut block of time in your day to do exactly what makes you happy, whether it’s a power nap, watching your favorite program or taking a walk in the mall. Be unapologetic about this time that’s just for you.
As I say in my new book YOU MATTER, you do not have to answer every time that you’re called. So turn off your phone ringer. Put on some soothing music. Take this time to reflect and let ideas in. Relaxation has healing properties and can give you extra energy to finish your day strong.
Relaxation Is Healing
Here comes a cliche that I think we all take for granted from time to time: “stop and smell the roses.” You don’t have to run and gun every moment of your day. Take time for yourself. Take care of yourself. You matter.
Lynn is the author of several motivational books, including You Matter: 11 Ways that You Matter Even When the Worlds Seems to Tell You Otherwise.