Wicked Wednesday: Barriers to Relaxing

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?

24 Thoughts

  1. My relaxing place is the beach and luckily for me it’s less than 2 miles away. Due to physical limitations I am unable to do a lot of the housework and I get so stressed seeing the house the way it is. My husband is not much of a housekeeper to put it mildly. I go to the bedroom and read to try to get my mind off of it for a while. It’s the one room that I can take care of except for the carpet.

  2. As of late, it’s either driving 1 1/2 hours one way or 2 1/2 hours another way to some sort of medical something or other or sitting around waiting for a phone call that a doctor’s office is to call me in order to make another appointment. Oh, how I hate waiting. Just about the time I think I’ve got a handle on this patience things something like this happens to remind me I’m not doing to well with it.

    For me to gain some control over get some relaxation through it all, it’s taking a book with me on those trips. Since hubby’s driving, I try to get some reading in unless my double vision decides to appear or through the winding mountains which can still make me dizzy. But through those straight stretches, reading a good book helps. While waiting at home for the long awaited phone call, thankful for cell phones, I take my phone with me outside along with my camera. Putting a camera in my hand is very relaxing as I concentrate on the critters activities and off my problems.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  3. I’m like Julie and Liz – guilt and the need to feel I’m being productive – if I try to relax for a long period. I try to get everything I need to get done, like cleaning, laundry, shopping, in the morning, go for a walk, and then I’ll have maybe an hour to myself to read and relax before I have to cook supper. And I’m retired so you’d think I’d have nothing but time on my hands lol!! It’s a balancing act for sure!

  4. Since I work from home, my key to relax is to get out of the house. I’ll read while I have a bite to eat or hang out and enjoy being away from all the things I need to do at home.

  5. Busy people are busy people whether retired or not. I am as busy now as before I retired. Harder to sort the priorities. Relaxing to me often means driving somewhere to see something new-explore. If I can’t get out, believe it or not, I make soup. There is something about chopping vegetables knowing I have soup at the end that let’s my mind wander, and my mind and body to relax.

  6. Things that interrupt my relaxation are those pesky tasks such as having to work the day job, laundry, making dinner – stuff like that. LOL The neighbors with the yappy dogs moved a year ago, so at least the peace is no longer shattered by that. Otherwise, I’m very good at sitting and doing nothing except read a good book.

      1. Especially when the owners do nothing – and leave the poor things tied out in the yard in full sun with no water in the middle of a July heat wave. Grr.

  7. Move over Liz and Julie. Make room for another one who feels “lazy” if I’m not doing something productive. I’ve mostly persuaded myself that lying on the sofa and reading IS productive if it helps take away a bit of the constant stress I’m under. And I almost believe it. I have a full length massage pad on my sofa which is a constant companion. Because I use it so much, I wear them out pretty fast and they have to be considered consumables and get replaced frequently. Between the stress and the aches and pain, they are essential. Take me away, cozy writers.

  8. I live with seniors/disabled and often get interrupted with requests to do something for them – from laundry to phone repairs to just spending time with them. I have to limit my time helping and when I’ve reached my limit, I close my curtains and curl up and read. I’ve learned I’m no good to others if I don’t have alot of private time to myself.

  9. Lovely post… almost unavoidable interruption in 21st century… the mostly electronic gadgets like phone, laptops and TV. Keep up the good work.

  10. Count me as a Liz, Julie, and Edith clone. It’s a driving force to be productive. I think it’s from having grown up with boys and always being competitive – because, believe me – in the 1950s girls had to do everything twice as well as boys to be considered half as good! That said, I was the queen of tree-climbing – none of the boys had the agility 🙂 Last laugh!

    I’m lucky to live in the woods and whenever it gets too much, off I go on a hike. If I’m feeling adventurous, I’ll climb our tree stand with my kindle and chill for a while.

  11. I have so much to do in this house as it has gotten away from me since I retired: organize photos and genealogy papers, get rid of stuff, list collectibles, get rid of more stuff I don’t need, clean, etc. But do I, do it? No. I plan to but then I go upstairs and work on a jigsaw puzzle or read a book and watch old movies on TV. I start and then it just sits and gets messier. But I do enjoy working the jigsaw puzzle, reading the wonderful cozies you all write and enjoy the old movies and “Beat Bobby Flay.”

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