Today we're talking about lightening up so you can make midlife relaxation a breeze. It's July when I'm recording this so I wanted to give you something to think about while you're on vacation.
Getting out of your routine gives you a new perspective. You're in a new environment, and you're seeing things with new eyes. Perhaps the colors are richer or the food tastes better; maybe you feel more rested because you get to sleep in. Or better yet, you get to take naps whenever you feel like it. How amazing is that?
And that's great while you're on vacation, is there a way to keep this lovely, relaxed feeling in your regular life when you get back home? It might look a little different, but it is possible.
Relaxation in and of itself is fantastic, but there's another reason you want to be putting it into your daily life. That's because being relaxed makes you more open and receptive to new possibilities.
Stepping into possibility is refreshing. It stimulates your creativity every time you say "what if?" or "I wonder what that would look like?" Every time you do this, you engage your mind with a new idea and a new way of looking at things. You can get this more readily when you're relaxed.
You aren't going to get a ton of new ideas or be thinking about possibilities when you're stressed out: when your stomach is churning and you're wearing your shoulders as earrings. When your body is responding in this way, it's in fight or flight mode. It doesn't offer a lot of space to think about being open and receptive to new ideas.
That's why I want to give you a little life hack to help you incorporate more relaxation into your day as often as possible so you can stay on track and capture that relaxed feeling on a regular basis.
Grab a pen and paper; there are four steps to this process:
Set your timer for two minutes and write down all the you like to relax. For some of you, it's hiking. For others, it's going to the movies. It doesn't matter if it's ridiculous or silly or your own little private thing. Write it down if it relaxes you.
This reminds me of an episode of "Sex in the City" where Carrie Bradshaw, the main character, referred to her "secret single behavior."
I don't think it matters if you're single or not. "Secret single behavior" is simply referring to the things people do when they feel safe and when they think no one is looking.
She said hers was making a stack of saltines, putting grape jelly on them, and eating them standing up in her kitchen while reading fashion magazines. That's a little different, but obviously she enjoyed this and found it quite relaxing.
And that's the type of relaxing behavior you can put on your list as you're writing things down. If it relaxes you, that's all that matters.
Review your list and pick the top ways you like to relax.
Do you feel refreshed or peaceful, or do you feel anxious or maybe even guilty because you took some time for yourself? You're going to want to focus on the activities that leave you feeling good, not guilty. Let's leave the guilt at the door, okay?
Don't gloss over this step. Really evaluate what leaves you feeling refreshed and energized.
That means, does it make you feel positive and optimistic about life? Relaxation should be life-affirming. Don't you think it should make you feel positive about life, specifically your life?
I'm about to say something that needs to be said, and I'm saying it because I care about you and want the very best for you. Please stay open.
Friend, binging Netflix or Hulu or scrolling social media for extended periods of time may be fun now and then, but it puts you on autopilot. It's the same thing as when you get home from work, turn on the TV at 5:30pm and stare at it until you go to bed at 11pm. That's also autopilot mode.
Now, there's nothing wrong with doing this occasionally because it's kind of fun. I do it myself. But if you're doing it regularly, it's important to understand that autopilot isn't the best place to be. It's not the place where you can live your best life.
While these activities may feel relaxing for the short-term, they may not benefit you for the long-term.
But let's look at the second question. Are they life-affirming? Do these activities make you feel positive and optimistic about life? Obviously, I can't answer that for you, but let me ask you:
If you feel sluggish when you're done, are these activities really helping you relax or are they just making you tired?
Sounds pretty basic, doesn't it? Put this into your calendar at a minimum two to three times a week, and don't brush it off. When the time comes around, you may want to say "I'm busy. I don't have time for that" or "This is silly. I don't need to relax. It's no big deal if I skip."
Actually, it is a big deal if you skip because it's important for you to know how to keep promises to yourself. It's just as important as keeping promises to other people.
Even if it's just two to five minutes of relaxation, work it into your day. You can always find a way, even in short little spurts.
Once you know your top life-affirming, relaxation activities, start doing them regularly. After awhile, midlife relaxation will be second nature to you. Enjoy!