Celebrate Slowness in a Month of Love
Busy is the new black.
The ability to raise a family, keep down a 60 hour/week job, volunteer at your kids’ school, train for a Tough Mudder while planting and maintaining the neighborhood’s organic garden, making sure to post every moment on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter is a badge of honor.
A friend of mine often says, “I’ll sleep when I die.”
Technology has afforded us fast non-stop connection. Instead of giving us more free time, it seems we’ve all fallen into the black hole of hyper-connectivity. We get more done. No time to waste, right? But what’s the price we’re paying? On our bodies? On our relationships?
When was the last time you just sat with a cup of coffee, quiet in your kitchen, without reading or organizing anything?
When was the last time you let the dishes pile up while playing cards with your kids?
When was the last time you took a walk to the park with your favorite book to read?
As a registered personal trainer and dietitian, I see busy all the time. My clients carve out time for everything in their lives except one thing: time to relax.
Do you ever turn off and give yourself relaxation time? This isn’t sleep. I mean honest-to-goodness relaxation? And are you capable of doing it without feeling guilty?
Relaxing, recuperating, and slowing down are ways to show love for yourself. So, in a month of love, I’m going to give you 4 tips on relaxation. (I bet you’re getting antsy just reading this! Who has the time??)
- Understand the importance of relaxation: Good sleep and relaxation are essential for muscle recovery, maintaining glycogen synthesis, lowering stress, and staying healthy. A person can go longer without food than rest. If our bodies’ biology demands rest, why are we so quick to dismiss it?
- Put on your relaxation vest. Bear with me here. A friend trains Search & Rescue dogs. The dogs have a vest for each type of S&R task they have to do. The vest tells them what their job is. One of her dogs was super hyper and anxious. The dog never could seem to settle down. When my friend took her dog to a behaviorist, the behaviorist told her to make the dog a relaxation vest. When the dog wore the relaxation vest, she knew she could turn off and relax. Humans aren’t so different! So find something – some article of clothing – that you connect with relaxation. 😊 Wear it when you just can’t settle down.
- Schedule it. This might seem anti-relaxation, to pencil in relaxation time, but if we’re so stuck on keeping schedules, why not make relaxation part of that schedule? Soon relaxation will become a habit. Whether it’s a few minutes in the morning, when you first arrive to the office, or the first half hour when your kids come home from school, schedule time to relax and not think about all the things you have to do, instead enjoy the things you’re doing.
- Slow is sustainable. The human body is a phenomenal, miraculous machine, yet we’re more likely to take better care of our smart phones than our bodies. We eat standing up, in the car, unaware of what is going in our bodies. The way we treat our bodies is not sustainable over the course of a lifetime. Being thoughtful about how we eat, what we eat, and taking the time to nourish ourselves well means we have to slow down.
This is probably a little unexpected. Personal trainers are supposed to push you to your limits, make you feel the pain, right? Every minute matters.
Every minute does matter. Relaxation isn’t being lazy. It’s being mindful to what your body needs – its cues. Hey. Instead of chocolates and flowers, give yourself time this Valentine’s Day. GUILT FREE!
Happy Valentine’s Day!