It’s Official – You Need to Relax

Good news for all you hardworking students: today is “National Relaxation Day!” I don’t know who designated August 15 as a day of relaxation, but I’m not going to argue. I found NRD on two websites* so it must be true.

Too often we view the act of relaxation as that ideal state we’ll arrive at once the essential work is done. Trouble is, essential work is never done. There is always another task demanding our attention.

I think we need to start viewing relaxation as an essential activity. We need to make time for it the way we make time for bathing, medical appointments, and car maintenance. We can’t just put off relaxation until we have time, but that’s what we often do. “I’ll relax when I have my two-week vacation.” Right. That makes as much sense as saying, “I’ll shower during my summer holidays” or “I’ll catch up on oil changes in July.”

Because relaxation seems indulgent, many people are reluctant to make time for it. Even if they recognize how essential it is to mind and body to have some down time, they may think it’s hopeless because they don’t have time. Nonsense! We don’t have time for everything, but what gets scheduled, gets done.

Think you don’t have time to fit relaxation into your schedule? Try one of these:

Use transition times. Many people race from home to work to the gym to home and on and on without pause. Try taking a 15 minute transition break before advancing to the next segment of your schedule. For example, when you get home from work, take a 15 minute breather before plunging into meal and evening preparations. You’ve worked all day, so put your feet up and unwind. If you’re one-half of a working couple, this may be a good time to reconnect.

Find an oasis. Sometimes calm is hard to find at home. Is there somewhere on your daily route that can provide sanctuary? Escape to a quiet corner of a library, a secluded park bench, or an isolated nook in a coffee shop and enjoy your private refuge. Can’t relax with your own thoughts? Meet with a few friends and shoot the breeze or shoot some pool.

Schedule a “me” night. Declare one evening each week to be all about you. Serve take-out pizza for supper, turn off the phone, and send the spouse and kids out to visit grandma or see a movie. Spend your evening reading a book, indulging in your favourite DVD, or puttering about with a neglected hobby. Don’t forget to reciprocate?gracefully?if your spouse wants an evening off, too.

Get up while the world sleeps. Many people hate the idea of getting up any earlier than they have to. Until they begin getting up early regularly. While everyone else sleeps, get up and enjoy the bliss of beginning a day without having to rush. Read from an inspiring book or the morning newspaper while you sip coffee. Watch the sunrise. Meditate. Relax.

Relaxation is so important to our well-being, we ought to make regular time for it. De-stressing makes it easier to face the challenging moments of life. Unwinding allows time for contemplation. Relaxing makes us nicer to be around.

While you’re relaxing today on National Relaxation Day, contemplate how you can fit some vital down time into your hectic schedule.

* Relax, both and have National Relaxation Day listed. Unfortunately, these sites don’t agree on every day: September 6 is either “Fight Procrastination Day” or “Read a Book Day,” depending on which site you choose to believe. I know what I’ll be doing that day.