We live in a society obsessed with productivity. But what does it really mean to produce? Are we simply trying to fill every hour of the day with tasks, or are we truly creating something worthwhile?
There are people who brag about how much they work and how little they sleep. “I will sleep when I’m dead” they chant and this all leads to a diminishing of the importance of relaxation. Just as all of human existence is built upon the foundation of duality, rest is just as important to a balanced life and psyche as “doing”. We are human “beings” first; and a part of what we do here, is create things, develop ideas, pursue dreams, build lives. But when we stop to take a breather, it does not negate the work which we have done or the work we have planned. Joyful rest rejuvenates us and will often bring back to us the passion we have for our work.
To rest and relax does not mean that you have to sit like a bump on a log; real forms of relaxation that are beneficial to our physical and mental health involve things that bring us joy and revives the imagination.
Below we offer you 8 creative and alternative ways to transform relaxation into a ritual that takes priority in your life:
- Plug In – Take some time at any moment of the day to stop whatever you’re doing and listen to some music that reminds you of wonderful times and loving moments, and that takes you away into your own little plugged-in world. Think of it as tuning out the world around you for a moment, and plugging into yourself.
- Take a Class – You may not think that taking a class is a relaxing thing, but it is when you are learning more about a subject you already enjoy, or finally taking that course that you’ve always dreamed of. Spending time on a new idea or starting a new project is energizing to the mind and the body.
- Take a Day Trip – Sometimes planning long vacations can be work in itself. Packing, getting on and off planes and long road trips can be tiring in spite of the excitement. Often we find ourselves needing a vacation after the vacation. But day trips are wonderful. You can choose a place near home that you’ve always wanted to take the time to visit, but kept putting off because of work. A day trip to an arboretum, museum, or national park, can be invigorating. Take yourself on a short hike and bring along some cheese and bread for a blanket lunch.
- Relish Solitude – Plan a day when the kids and spouse can go to the amusement park and you can stay home. Don’t use this time to catch up on housework or prepare for next week’s busy schedule . Use this time to relish solitude; to lie around in your favorite jammies and socks. Unplug from the outside world, and try not to substitute the company of family and friends with spending hours on social media. This is a time to enjoy your breath, the sound of your own laugh, to ask no one for permission to be fully you.
- Play Games – Whatever your pleasure; whether it is The Sims video series or a good old-fashioned game of solitaire, game playing can be intensely joyful and relaxing. It doesn’t matter how complex the game, it’s still not real life. It is still a small break from what we know as reality.
- Enjoy a Slow Meal – Americans especially are known for speedy eating. It is as if eating is a chore, or some kind of nuisance. Who takes a real lunch break if they want to get ahead in the world? Well, a lot of successful people do. It is the gratitude that one experiences while taking time to enjoy a good meal, that rolls over into the rest of life.
- Get a Foot Massage – The feet do so much work for us every day, and it is the part of the body that is most neglected. Many people are walking around daily with foot pain and assuming that this is just a way of life. But treating yourself to a foot doctor occasionally and getting a foot massage is a great way to treat your feet to a splendid vacation.
- Essential Oils – Essential oils are plant-based oils that come in a wide variety of grades. Some are purely for fragrance, some for fragrance and diffusing into the air, and higher grades of essential oils can be diluted and rubbed into the skin. Treat yourself to the highest grade of oils, the grade should be listed on the packaging, and sit back, with the music of your choice, opera or 70’s rock and diffuse a bit of lavender into the air. It will calm you, give you a natural feeling of euphoria, and even put you into a gentle sleep.
The most important thing is to realize that rest and relaxation is paramount to an overall healthy life. Don’t neglect yourself because of some myth that relaxation is the same as being lazy. It is not. It is one of the many things your mind, body, and spirit needs to keep going in a world that wants us to keep pushing and pushing ourselves. Don’t fall for the hype. Lie down and put your feet up instead.
For follow-ups on weekly spiritual exercises, visit http://www.crystalwind.ca/i-wonder-sisters
Let us know about the ways you create relaxation rituals this weekend.
Andie and Kimm