Learning to Relax

If you are someone with a disability who is working or engaged in meaningful life tasks (such as art, writing, volunteerism), then you are most likely someone who is used to working hard. Skills and accomplishments are born out of hard work or natural ability, both of which are equally to be realities for people with disabilities as those without. My point is, if you are reading this blog, you’re probably someone who needs a reminder now and then to take time to relax. I know I do.

What does relaxing even look like, though? Relaxing is letting yourself slow time down, both in body and in mind. So much of my mind is racing with plans for the future. A majority of my body is racing to keep up with my mind. The future tense is not a bad place to be. I feel more productive and proud of myself when I focus my thoughts and actions on where I am headed. Nevertheless, recharge is necessary and the 6 holidays I get a year is not generally enough. Weekends too, seem to fly by and before I know it, I am right back at my desk as if I never left. 

As with everything in life, balancing the race to the finish line with finding enjoyment in daily life is a constant pendulum. Even when I try to make a routine out of practicing mindfulness, I am seldom successful with maintaining it before my mind snaps back into forward thinking. 

I can’t tell you what will work for you, but I can tell you the kinds of things I do to incorporate the present tense in my daily life. First, I consider the red flags for when my body is sending the message to slow things down a bit. Second, I decide ahead of time to make time, almost like setting an appointment for myself, to just relax and do enjoyable things. Third, I know the kinds of activities that will keep my mind racing forward and the ones that will allow for calmness of mind. Last, I focus on sensory relaxations  and activities first such exercising, cooking, or massage. Like I said though, everyone is going to have different interests or different needs. 

Ultimately, I start to feel frustrated and robotic when I don’t take time to relax. Even though relaxing is not my default setting, I make time for it and the effort usually pays off. My biggest fear is dropping dead and not having taken enough time to relax and enjoy the present moments of day to day life.

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