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Plan in relaxation or planning to relax?

Plan in relaxation

Plan in relaxation

Do you sometimes hear yourself rationalising with your own self that you really are planning to relax as soon as this next event has passed or this project is finished, or such–and-such crisis is over? It is ludicrous, you argue with yourself, to plan in relaxation now, of course you are simply too busy and have no time for such self-indulgent frivolities. Honestly, who would have the audacity to suggest such a thing.

I remember a caption on a poster I had many years ago that read:

As soon as the rush is over, I am going to have a nervous breakdown. I worked for it, I owe it to myself, and no body is going to deprive me of it.”

Now, this was meant to be humorous (worries me now not a little why I had this poster, I guess I liked the picture) but it makes a valid point.

How often do we actually plan in relaxation, recognising that the day is never coming that will be less busy?

None of what I am saying here is new, and much of it I have discussed before. But I struggle to learn these lessons, and my guess is that you do too.

I promise myself the reward of some time to chill out and do something fun for me once I have ticked all these items off my to-do list. I assure myself that I will have more time to read or play the piano or run when the children have reached this stage. I bury the nagging and niggling dissatisfaction and growing fatigue and irritability with more busyness, lying to myself that I am really OK and I should just get on with it.

But I am slowly learning to listen to my own internal dialogue and give credence to the – often quieter – voice of my frazzled soul that is desperately trying to catch up.

Burnout can often lead to a loss of motivation for things that previously inspired and excited. A growing sense of dissatisfaction with the tasks in hand can stem from a build up of weariness and fatigue that can eventually become all-consuming. We lose sight of what got us into what we are doing to begin with, we lose our vision.

This leads on from our musings last week on the importance of taking regular breaks, even simply for a few minutes to breathe, change position and re-connect with the WHY of what we are doing. To ask the “So what?” question:

Why am I doing this in the first place?

That “So what?” question can then lead on to an important check for our soul – if I keep going at this pace without planning in some time to relax, what is going to happen to me? And extending that further, what therefore will the implications be on those I am working with and for, living with, caring for, investing in, simply being friends with?

You get my drift. Self care is not self indulgent or selfish if applied appropriately and wisely.

To plan in relaxation is to recognise in advance that you are a finite being with finite resources, and that a little judicious, regular investment in yourself will allow you to fulfil your many roles and purpose better.

MB (My Beloved as he is known here) has had a particularly demanding and stretching time at work, which will not abate soon. So on a recent public holiday, us four enjoyed a gloriously sunny cycle ride to The Kelpies. There were a stack of things that we could have done at home. But what was most required was some time away, exercise, a picnic, reconnecting with family, and the stimulation of seeing these spectacular beasts up close. Not a major expedition, but a few hours of restorative and rejuvenating relaxation.

So, how about you?

Take a few minutes to pay attention to what your body is telling you about how you are feeling, and how close you are to any or all of the symptoms of burnout. Then look at your diary for the next week or so, and plan in a little time to relax. Of course, the temptation can be that when we are almost beyond tired, this in itself can seem too hard and we self-anaesthetise with mind-numbing activities rather than restorative ones. This we will explore more next week.

But for now, as one learner to another, can we stop and pay attention to how we are, and plan in relaxation before it is too late?


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