Edith/Maddie here, trying to stay relaxed north of Boston.
Wickeds, let’s talk about what rises up to interrupt your relaxing – and what you do about it. Is it your looming deadline, a piece of infuriating news, a neighbor’s dog barking for hours, someone nagging you about a task? Or maybe your over-busy brain prevents that all important relaxation. Dish! Include how you return to your relaxed state (if you can).
Jessie: Most of time any interruptions are from my own thoughts. Whenever I feel stressed I do a brain dump. I write down everything that is swirling about in my brain on a piece of paper with a beautiful pen loaded with juicy, vibrant ink. Seeing things in concrete form usually lets me sort them, schedule them, and let them be a small as they tend to be when given some perspective. I am generally able to get back to whatever I would prefer after that exercise whether relaxing or working.
Julie: Two factors kick in and don’t let me stay zen. One is my brain, which is constantly in motion. I am a serial multi-tasker, and I think I’ve trained myself to listen to a book and knit, and to let my thoughts take over. This is helpful as a writer, but it’s also exhausting. I’m working on that. The other factor is guilt. I feel guilty doing nothing, or “just” reading/knitting/baking. This is definitely my issue. Does anyone else have that?
Barb: I am more and more taking conscious breaks from my devices–periodic electronic cleanses. Even when I’m doing something like reading a book on my iPad, I’ve turned off notifications so I’m not constantly being pulled away by something that appears to be urgent, but almost never is.
Sherry: Over the past year I’ve become very good at relaxing — maybe too good! I need to clean out the basement storage room, but why bother when I can read a book. I do have that middle-of-the-night thing that makes my brain swirl with thoughts of what needs to be done.
Liz: Julie, I think we’re the same person. I can’t shut my brain off either and it’s definitely a problem. And I also suffer from the “if I’m not doing something that can immediately be identified as productive I’m not doing something productive” disease. I am working on that!
Edith: Oh, man. I’m with you, Liz and Julie. I had a minor health glitch or two this summer. Me doing nothing on the couch? With my need to be productive and my overactive brain, that’s not a good recipe for anything. I guess I need to take lessons from Barb and Sherry, although maybe I already have. With deadlines at bay for the moment, I am truly taking in the summer. Reading on the deck. Steaming and savoring sweet corn. Going to the beach. Harvesting the last of my blueberries. Making fruit pies for loved ones.
Readers: How do you return to the delight of relaxing?