Why Relaxing Is Hard Work…Can’t slow down? Even on vacation? You’ve got plenty of company.

In a Wall Street Journal article from June of 2010, there was an excellent article about relaxing in America.  Here are some suggestions. Find out what works best for you. 

– Try something new. Learning something in a new place can be more relaxing and refreshing than trying to do nothing. While it’s good to get outside your comfort zone, it’s not necessary to explode out of it. “I don’t want to go bungee jumping,” says Matthew Edlund, a sleep expert in Sarasota, Fla., and author of “The Power of Rest” who says he’d much prefer walking through Berlin or Beijing. “You decide what your level of adventurousness is and do it.”
— Have a plan, but be flexible. Completely winging it somewhere can be stressful, so have a rough idea of what you’re going to do, but be willing to change it. “If you find that you’re on a beach and you’re bored out of your mind, get up and do something else,” says Dr. Edlund.
— Get physical. Besides releasing endorphins, exercise also burns off excess adrenaline and cortisol. The “flight” can be on the treadmill, after all. If you haven’t been exercising, a vacation can be a good time to start. Even a walk on the beach can be invigorating for a chaise potato. At the other extreme, some people relax by doing marathons or triathlons. But overdoing it be stressful as well.
“We really weren’t meant to sit at a desk 12 hours a day,” says Dr. Edlund, who recommends that vacationers alternate periods of “food, activity and rest.”
— Build in a buffer. Don’t work right up until the moment you leave and head back to work right off the plane. If possible, schedule an extra day off before you depart and another when you come back to dive back in slowly.
— Manage expectations. Make sure your colleagues and clients know that you’ll be away and checking in only occasionally; tell those back home the kind of matters you want to be bothered about.
— Breathe. As New Agey as it sounds, meditating and paced breathing can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which works to balance the surges of adrenaline and cortisol that accompany stress, says Dr. Rosch.
— Practice mindfulness: Research suggests that focusing the mind on the present moment can have profound effects. Mostly, it involves observing your surrounds without making judgments. Try observing your own feelings.
“Work on not working,” says Dr. Robinson. “With five minutes to think, ask yourself, ‘Why do I work this way? Why am I rushing?’ Most of us keep judging ourselves all the time, workaholics especially. It’s never enough. Examine those feelings. They might lead you to enlightenment.”
Why not find a coach, personal trainer, or get with a friend and commit to developing relaxation skills.  It has been proven scientifically that you live longer, the quality of your life will improve. Find your “haven” and spend time there either in fantasy or by a visit or both.
In fact, pick a day to do nothing and then relax afterward!!!

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Dr. Mike Klaybor

Dr. Mike Klaybor

Dr. Mike Klaybor brings thirty years of experience in practicing counseling psychology with individuals and couples. His approach is cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. Specific specialties include; anxiety and stress management, chronic pain & chronic illness management, depression, substance abuse evaluations, employee assistance and executive coaching for workplace performance and leadership.