by Mandi on April 19, 2011
A couple of weeks ago, I shared a quick tip for being more productive: just don’t sit down.
In the comments, a couple of people were concerned that I was heaping mom guilt on busy moms who already don’t take enough time to relax or enjoy their kids.
That’s not what I was saying at all, believe me!
The post was intended for people who struggle with motivation and end up wasting time and feeling guilty and depressed about it later. If, like me, you’ve done this before, you know exactly what I’m talking about!
And in those cases, the best way to keep moving is to just keep moving!
What Is Intentional Relaxation?
Downtime and relaxation are important as well, of course, but not any ol’ downtime will do.
You could get distracted by Facebook in the middle of the day and end up wasting an hour on Facebook — while feeling guilty because you’re neglecting your to-do list, job or kids — and walk away less relaxed than when you started.
However, take that same activity — surfing on Facebook — and do it intentionally, at a set time of day or in between tasks for a short amount of time, and suddenly it is relaxing.
The same could be said for reading, watching TV, working on a craft project or whatever your choice of relaxation may be.
It’s always more relaxing and refreshing when you do it intentionally rather than out of laziness or because you’re procrastinating!
How Do I Make Time for Relaxing?
If we all agree that having downtime is important, the question, then, is to how to be intentional about that downtime so it truly leaves you feeling refreshed and not more stressed out.
1. Understand your motivation. When you feel like it’s time to take a break, ask yourself: “Am I just trying to procrastinate or avoid an important task that I’m dreading? Or have I been working really hard, and I’m starting to feel burnt out and exhausted?”
2. Choose things that actually leave you feeling refreshed. The TV is the default relaxation method for many homes in America, and for some people — like my husband — watching TV really does leave them feeling refreshed. But personally, I find that sometimes what I really need is to curl up with a good book and just unplug for a little bit.
3. Make time for it ahead of time. Rather than just flopping down because you can’t keep going any longer, plan for relaxation before you reach that point.
For example, I rarely do much work on the computers on Saturdays because I know I’m going to need all of my energy on Sunday afternoon to work on posts for Life…Your Way for the week, so I take time to recharge ahead of time.
Plan times of relaxation into your everyday routines and schedules and make a habit of relaxing intentionally so that you’ll have the energy and motivation to get things done the rest of the time!