You’ve proven there’s a lot you can do. Can you convince us just as persuasively, however, of your ability to not do?
Many of us suddenly reach a point in our lives where we simply can’t take another step forward. It’s called burnout, and it happens when our will to continue is overtaken by our urge to stop.
To avoid burnout, you have to invest in yourself, and the primary way to do that is to rest adequately. Lazing around might not seem lucrative, but done the right way, relaxing effectively could be the most productive thing you ever do.
Why do I feel like I can’t relax?
There can be a few reasons:
- You have a clinically diagnosed anxiety disorder
- Your work ethic is stronger than your self-love
- You simply never learned how to relax
- You’re punishing yourself for something
- You’re afraid of what will happen if you stop pushing yourself to the utmost limits
In the end, there are as many reasons for not relaxing as there are stressed-out people.
How can I learn to relax?
Sit cross-legged and chant “gusfraba.” In all seriousness, it’s a profound journey of self-discovery.
You aren’t a farm animal. You can’t be kicked or prodded into correct behaviors.
The only way to find true relaxation is to look within. No, that isn’t the flowing-bearded Chinese sage on the mountaintop speaking — it’s your own common sense.
What’s holding you back from relaxing? The expectations of parents who have long-since let you leave the nest? Fears of failure rooted in childhood trauma? Unreasonable burdens put on you by toxic people?
You might have to make some major changes to start relaxing correctly. Or, it might just take a few small tweaks. These eight steps are a good start in either case:
1. Discern which activities are actually relaxing
Does gaming or scrolling through social media really help you calm down? Even if being around others can be a pain, does kicking it with your family actually make you feel better?
The first step in understanding why you can’t relax and developing solutions is understanding where you’re coming from. Activities that are relaxing to others might only add to your stress burden, but your favorite hobbies might seem bizarre to even your best friend.
Remember — it’s just as possible to relax while shooting guns and listening to heavy metal as it is to relax while listening to Enya and doing yoga. To each their own.
2. Really rest when you rest
You have a million things to do and a billion to worry about. There’s always something on your mind driving you out of your seat, but this seeming diligence is actually making you less effective.
When you relax, really commit to it. Flick the “Do Not Disturb” toggle on all your devices, quit the social media apps on your phone, and really forget about everything for a little while. You might feel like you’re being irresponsible, but you’re really doing the most important thing you can — investing in yourself.
3. Relax regularly and often
Yep, the weekend is coming, but it’s still a long way away. Or, maybe like many of us, the very concept of “weekend” seems more and more distant every year.
Maybe you don’t need to take two full, consecutive days off per week. We’re all different. You do, however, need to rest regularly to prevent burnout.
We mean even more regularly than you think. For every half-hour of work, rest for ten minutes. Every two hours or so, do something completely different for another two hours.
4. Don’t stress the deadlines so much
We all want it all, but holding yourself to standards that are too strict can disable you in the long run. Procrastination isn’t the right work ethic, but neither is forcing yourself to accomplish your goals every day regardless of the consequences to your happiness and health.
5. Rest is a right, not something you earn
By definition, rights are things individuals must have to be whole and healthy. It naturally follows that resting is an inalienable right, not something you earn based on good behavior.
It’s always satisfying to know that your work truly merits a period of well-deserved rest. If you don’t rest properly, though, you’ll never be able to work at your full potential, forever limiting the depth to which you can feel that satisfaction.
6. Realize your limits
There are so many things you can do. Is it really that big of a deal if you can’t do all of them?
True success starts with kindness to yourself. Just as you would with a loved one, kindly accept your own flaws and see past them to the true potential within.
Every day, we’re confronted with social commands to achieve and succeed. This is the land of opportunity, after all, and every moment wasted is a moment you slip further away from your limitless dreams.
In the end, it’s true though — slow and steady wins the race. How many of the people currently hustling around the clock to make millions in their 30s do you think will be both wealthy and happy at 70?
Half? A third?
You’ll definitely be disappointed if you only save enough to scrape by at retirement, but still — there are lots of years between here and there. You don’t have to do it all right now — and who knows how much the world might change while you’re too busy focusing on the overwhelming needs of the current moment.
7. Become aware of negative self-talk
Freud said that the mind is organized into the id, the ego, and the superego. While somewhat outdated, this descriptive system still mostly holds true.
The id is the hopelessly impulsive part of ourselves that acts on pure instinct. It must be controlled by the superego, the voice of authority. In-between is the ego or sense of self, tossed to and fro by this endless power struggle.
Learning to gain peace between the id and superego invariably involves a deepening awareness of the harmful power of negative ideation and self-talk. Throughout life, we consistently put ourselves down with limiting beliefs and emotional trauma that persists long after the actual traumatic event has passed.
8. Augment your lifestyle changes with CBD flower
No substance should ever replace the inner work we all need to do to cultivate healthy, effective mindsets — not even a substance as beneficial and non-toxic as CBD. All the same, natural wellness products can boost the trajectory you take toward ideal self-actualization.
CBD is mild and relaxing, and CBD flower amplifies these attributes without becoming overwhelming or intoxicating. Used mindfully and purposefully, organic hemp flower can help you let go of the day’s worries before bed or approach the tasks ahead of you without faltering.
Relax or else!
You are relaxed now. There is no other option.
We’re kidding, of course. Reading a quick guide won’t provide you with the psychological tools necessary to attain instant and total relaxation anywhere and anytime like a veteran yogi.
You’re closer to the right track than before, though. You were right that pampering yourself like a child isn’t the right way to relax, but don’t half-ass it either. Be a responsible adult by allocating adequate time for relaxation — you're not superhuman, and none of the rest of us are either.
It’s probably better that way.