We live in driven times. Everything is a push, a need to accomplish many things and do them well. There is a lot to be said for working hard and putting positive efforts into the important things in your life. When you have reached your goal, it shows that you have put in the effort and shown determination to succeed. Achieving goals and getting things done are necessary in today’s world — for solving problems, for finding greater purpose, and for developing as a person.
However, there is a downside to all this, and that happens when we never stop. When we constantly push and strive for more, we never know where we are NOW. We are hyper-focused on the future at the expense of the present. It’s easy to lose sight of what is important, beautiful, and meaningful when we are caught up in “always reaching but never there.”
This kind of mindset can lead to stress and burnout…and missing out on the joys life has to offer.
Here are some important questions that indicate if you are caught up in Busy-ness Syndrome:
1. Have you ever achieved an important goal or finished a big project, and then dove right into something else without pausing to reflect?
2. Do you feel anxious or guilty if you are not constantly working towards an end goal of some kind?
3. Do you feel like no matter how much you do, it’s never enough?
4. Do you feel like you have to do it all, all the time, or you are missing out?
We are motivated, driven, and hardworking people. We are also TIRED and STRESSED. Our bodies and our spirits need rest, rejuvenation, and recharging to fully engage with our lives. You’ve heard and read about the effects of stress. Now let’s look at some of the research-backed benefits of relaxation and rejuvenation to restore balance to your life.
Benefits of Relaxation
- Lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and the chances for heart disease and stroke.
- Boosts your immune system.
- Improves your memory – really!
- Improves your ability to make sound decisions
- Stirs your creative processes
- Helps you see the humor in challenging situations
- Helps you gain appreciation for things in life
- Helps you focus on what is happening around you
- Gives you inspiration and hope
- Lessens the likelihood of depression
- Increases motivation
Relaxation is crucial to our well-being. However, long-term patterns of constant striving can be hard to undo. So how do you let go of constant striving and learn to relax? Start with these tips.
Acknowledge that Relaxation is Important for Your Health
Relaxation is necessary to refill our stores of energy. It is our bodies’ way of releasing the chemicals that are running through our bodies when we are stressed; it improves our mental health and well-being. According to mentalhealthamerica.net, enjoying life is an important component of our health. When we allow ourselves to relax, we may not have anything to show for it on the outside — but we are doing lots of restorative work on the inside. Trying to get things done from a depleted state leads to added stress, burnout, and health issues.
Relaxation is not just an option; it is crucial for your overall health and well-being.
Let Go of Guilt
We have become conditioned to believing that hard work is the only way to live, and that when we take time to relax, we are lazy. Not true! You are in charge of your life. Refuse to listen to subtle messages from the media, from people, and from inside yourself that bring up a feeling of guilt when you need to relax. Do not allow outside influences to affect your decisions.
You know what is best for you in your life.
Notice When You Need to Relax
Begin to notice when you need to work hard, and when you need to relax for your health. Do this honestly; there is a distinction between the need to relax, and avoiding a task that is important (being “lazy”). Start to notice the signs of mental and physical fatigue. Do you lose productivity? Become irritable? Notice your heart rate and blood pressure rising?
Begin to sense when your body is telling you to take time. And take it.
Know What is Relaxing for You
There are so many different ways to relax. It is a very personal thing and depends on your circumstances and needs. Have you been sitting and concentrating for hours, and need to get up and move? Are you exhausted and need to go to bed early tonight? Are your muscles knotted up and you need a massage? What things bring your heart rate down and your enjoyment up? If you are not sure, here is a small list to get you started:
A Partial List of Relaxing Activities
- listen to music
- talk to friends/family/loved ones
- take a nap
- go for a walk
- be in nature
- write in a journal
- breathe (slow deep breaths – in through the nose and out through the mouth – immediately reduce stress and relax our entire bodies)
- This is only a partial list to get you started; the possibilities are endless. The key is to find what calms you, inspires you, and recharges you.