THE LOST ART OF RELAXATION

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Image from Vanilla Sky for a feature on relaxation tips

IF YOU’RE USING YOUR ‘TIME OFF’ TO WORK ON YOUR BUSINESS, CEMENT YOUR STATUS AS A DOMESTIC GOD OR GENERALLY LOOK AFTER THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE, I SALUTE YOU.

However, in an era when we’re all putting in longer hours at our desks and every stray glance at your smartphone could potentially represent a chance to get ahead, it sometimes feels like we’re losing the art of doing (next to) nothing and feeling good about it.

As a child, I would happily lose hours in books or in long meandering conversations with my best friends. In fact, I probably still owe my parents an apology for the BT ‘phone bills I amassed during that era, testing Bob Hoskin’s assertion that ‘it’s good to talk’ in this strangely threatening ad to its limits.

I did enjoy those slow-paced days, though! In recent years, I’ve found that my days are much more likely to fall into line with my to do lists, leaving fewer opportunities to do things at a leisurely pace.

And before I knew it, the below line from Vanilla Sky had become one of my favourite quotes:

Image from Vanilla Sky for a feature on relaxation tips 1

Admittedly, it’s exciting and empowering to believe that we’re constantly capable of reinvention and that very few things are truly out of reach if you constantly course correct and chip away at those goals. But it turns out it also becomes kind of tiring (by which I mean completely emotionally draining!) if you live your life constantly chasing the notion of doing better, and being better.

Sometimes it’s only by relishing those slow-paced days in the company of the people that you care about that you can emerge clear eyed and focused and ready to take on the world all over again.

So although I enjoy the immense (geeky) sense of satisfaction to be found in ticking things off a list in a way that only someone who counts ‘Getting Things Done’ by David Allen as one of their all-time favourite books can, I also know that sometimes it’s the quiet seemingly aimless days that I’ll come to treasure.

If, like me, you’re not quite ready for going completely cold turkey in terms of productivity and doing Nothing. At. All all day, here are a few ways I’ve found to ease into relaxation, which are perfect for those of us aren’t laid back by nature but kind of wish we could be!

A few things that are (almost always) relaxing:

Image from Yin Yan Yoga for a feature on relaxation tips

Yoga:

Sometimes stepping away from your desk, slowing your breathing and getting your body moving is all you need to feel human again. If you’re Liverpool-based, these Yin Yan rooftop yoga classes will also deliver your daily dose of Vitamin D while you flow through your poses.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine:

For a few years, I tried the TV-free life (which is really not all bad and is worth a go if you’d like to read more books this year), but these days I’m fully converted to the joy of following a good comedy. Trust me, it’s almost impossible to feel stressed while watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine (which is available on Netflix in the UK). I’m also working my way through Frasier, which I’d recommend for keeping you chuckling after a challenging day. Also, if you have a little longer to spare and fancy a film, these are worth a watch.

Books:

I know I harp on about books a lot, but for those times when your to do list just keeps running through your mind on a seemingly endless loop, there’s a lot to be said for losing yourself in somebody else’s world for a little while. Also, while the sun’s shining, there’s something disproportionately indulgent about taking a good book outside and feeling a warm breeze almost imperceptibly move the pages while you read. Seriously, some everyday indulgences are just too good to save for holidays!

I hope you’ve found my relaxation tips vaguely helpful and that you’re able to savour a few slow-paced moments when life gets busy. This post has been sponsored by the team at Digital Trends, who kindly provided all of the film recommendations, but all of words on relaxation are my own.

The main image is from: Vanilla Sky.

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