I just want to relax.
You hear this statement so often that it has a single meaning for all. When one says he or she just wants to relax, it automatically means the person will take off some time from work and do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Is this the real connotation of the word “relax?” According to Noam Shpancer, Ph.D., “Relaxation is best approached as a tool for improving general body awareness and well being, rather than a means for managing specific clinical or situational conditions.”
For you it may be the right implication, but how about for others?
To prove my point that being in a state of “relaxation” is not just about doing nothing, here are five random people from all walks of life who have their own version of what the word “relax” means for them.
Nikki, full-time mom, 33 from Baltimore, MD
Relax??? Hahahaha. (She laughs sarcastically.) You must be joking, right? I’m a mother of four kids, and all four of them have ASD. (ASD is Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Nikki’s kids are all hyper.) I barely have time to relax. So, yeah. Let me tell you about how I do it. Once a week, my husband and I take at least 6 hours of “just us two” time. We leave the kids at my mother’s, and we detach ourselves from them. What do we do? We take a drive and go to restaurants outside Baltimore; then, we go back when the 6th hour is up. I know it sounds weird, but that’s our version of “relax.”
Don’t get me wrong. We love our kids very much, but their hyperness consumes me, and once a week, I just need to be free.
Marc, chef/entrepreneur/restaurateur, 48 from Chicago, IL
I make it a point to relax for an hour each day. I usually take this break during mid-afternoon when the restaurant is not that busy, and I leave it in the hands of my sous chef. Believe it or not, I watch a Netflix series. Right now, I am enjoying “The Haunting of Hill House.”
Joe, swim varsity coach, 37 from Honolulu, HI
I’m not young anymore, and for people like me who are always mentally and physically drained, I take a leave from work, a day off just to recuperate. Psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter explains that the early signs can show up as a “lack of focus and mild forgetfulness.” Later, the problems may get to the point where you can’t get your work done and everything begins to pile up.”
I usually sleep, and when I wake up, I eat what I want to eat. If my girlfriend is available, we “exercise.” You know what I mean. Hahaha. And then, I sleep again. That is my idea of relaxing.
Alicia, massage therapist, 24 from New York, NY
I provide relaxation services with what I do as a massage therapist. My hands are my bread and butter since it does the job for me, and so I take good care of it. “Massage therapy,” according to Ricky Greenwald, PsyD, “the manual manipulation of soft body tissue to promote health and well-being, can provide relief from physical, emotional, and mental stress, and decrease levels of depression, anxiety, irritability, and other symptoms associated with trauma exposure.”
To relax, I invest in a hand paraffin service. Paraffin is a liquid wax, and it’s warm. You submerge your hands in hot wax and let it cool. The feeling is heaven!!! My hands are recovered every time I ask my friend to do it. The service is heavily discounted for employees in our salon, and so, I take that benefit every few days.
Diane, retired accountant, 68 from Seattle, WA
Ever since Carl left this world, I have been alone. My kids are all grown up, and they live in different cities. I am a retired accountant and living a frugal life, as well. My days are filled with volunteer work because I didn’t want to be dormant. Would you believe me when I say that my way to relax is by serving people in soup kitchens? I know it sounds bizarre, but it soothes me. Carl always loved donating his time for the community, and now I’m doing it. It is so relaxing.
Now, reading about how other people relax, does it sound familiar to you? Let us know how you relieve yourself from stress and take it easy.