Relax! Don’t Do It!

by John Murphy, Founder, Make 100 Healthy

Yes, that’s the title of an ’80s hit song. It also illustrates the challenge most of us face.

While we yearn to find time to relax, we also feel guilty about it. When does relaxing become laziness? Am I being selfish trying to relax? These thoughts plague the minds of most hard working, active people.

A lot of these feelings come from our upbringing. It’s a badge of honor to work long, hard hours. We live in a fast-paced world, so we are always “on.” But if you burn the candle from both ends you will burn yourself out.

So, drop the guilt and recognize that relaxation is an important aspect of peak performance and consistent results in any endeavor. It’s OK to relax! In fact, it’s crucial to be the best version of yourself.

I can honestly say that I went years without taking the time to relax. I just kept pushing and working hard. I thought that was the essence of being successful. But, over time, my body would ache, my neck and lower back were tight and I felt fatigued quite a bit.

I was overdoing it by not allowing myself time to relax and heal — mentally and physically. Sound familiar?

How can you incorporate relaxation into your life? First, you need to mentally accept that taking time to relax is as important as getting enough sleep. Relaxation is different for each of us.

Here are some tips to consider helping you to relax:

  • Take a scenic walk or bike ride.
  • Find an activity that you love — swimming, yoga, golf, hiking.
  • Get a massage at least every four weeks. This will help release stress toxins in your body.
  • Meditate and/or pray each day — this practice will give you inner peace and gratitude.
  • Sleep in when you feel you need it.

Believe me if you do any of these things, you will feel energized, refreshed and invigorated.

Some people immerse themselves reading a good book, others find it relaxing to help others. Relaxation is truly in the eye of the beholder. It doesn’t matter what you do to relax, but it is very important that you carve some time to just be.

Give yourself permission to take care of yourself. You deserve it.