We live in a fast-paced world.Instant this, Instant that. Everything must be done in seconds and if possible in micro-seconds.
In a rush from the time you step out of bed , rush through the shower, gulp down your breakfast, if there is time, then run out the door.
Then the traffic…. A huge percentage of the drivers look agitated, their actions on the road indicate their impatience. Everyone is in a rush to get somewhere. Then when they get there, they are ready to move to something else. Goodness, we live in a rushed society.
Yes we need to be on the move, work needs to get done, bills need to get paid. We have become a generation that has forgotten how to relax, how to savor life’s moments, how to enjoy a loved-ones company, how to laugh,how to kiss and hug with passion, how to just be present.
More often than not, the pressures of life get to us, the stress and negativity from the news and daily happenings in our surroundings get so powerful we feel we can’t deal with it anymore. We become angry, sad, agitated and apathetic. Lifestyle and stress related illness catch up with many of us even at the prime of our lives. Alcohol and drugs become our solace and temporary relief.
On one hand, we all want to be happy. On the other hand we all know the things that make us happy. But we don’t do those things. Why? Simple. We are too busy. Too busy doing what? Too busy trying to be happy. This is the paradox of life that has bewitched our age.
For the most part, we are too busy doing just about everything, that means just about nothing, to just about nobody, just about anywhere… and will mean even less to anyone a hundred years from now!
Rhythm of Life-Matthew Kelly
Recently i realized that i had become caught up in this cycle of wake up, rush through life, sleep then wake up and start again. I was overwhelmed, agitated and not present in some of life’s pleasures such as good food or nature. Productivity and efficiency was close to zero. Something had to change
Finding ways to relax , to release the tension and re-energize became crucial, not only to increase productivity but also to live a happier and more fulfilled life. The mind needed to be clear and alert to solve issues and come up with ideas. I am still in the journey of learning how to relax and be present in the moment.
Here are some of the tips (not in any order) collected from articles;from random discussions with friends and strangers; and from observing other people who have learnt to relax and take time out. These actions must be deliberate.
Take time out. Yes you heard me. Sometime getting out of your daily routine has a way of clearing the mind and helping you think clearly.
Drink water. Lots of it.
Sit in silence. Just for a few minutes.We live in such a loud world that sometimes silence can feel weird. Sit in silence, be it at 3 am when the rest of the world is asleep or in your car before you drive off.
Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
Disconnect from technology. The phones, the iPads, the TV. Switch them off. Then listen to your thoughts. Technology has brought convenience but it has also made us disconnect from life, disconnect from our children and partners. No, the world will not stop moving if your phone is off for a while.
Notice the world around you. Tune into the sights and sounds. Smell the roses, literally. There is a rose plant outside my house which i didn’t notice how beautiful it looked when it bloomed until my kids brought me a rose to smell.
Exercise. for at least 30 minutes a day make sure you move. Hit the gym. Walk, swim, do yoga, dance, join a sport. Just move. Your heart will thank you for it and you will feel relaxed.
Write it down. Penning down thoughts and frustrations may not be everyone’s cup of tea but putting them down on paper makes them a little less intimidating.
Learn to say no. No you don’t have to attend to every request that is made. Learn to filter what you can do and what you cannot. Help where you can but know that there are limits to what you can do for others.
Eat slowly. Yes … Eat slowly. Savour the meal. Enjoy the taste. It does not have to be anything gourmet or from a high end restaurant. Enjoy the githeri, enjoy the ugali and sukuma.
Enjoy the moment. Life is a series of moments. A child’s smile, a friend’s laughter, an achievement……. Indulge in all these moments, some pass by too fast.
Laugh. We have forgotten how to laugh. the deep laughter that comes from deep inside the belly. The laughter that makes you cry. The laughter that leaves you breathless. Watch a comedy on TV or online (YouTube has a number of those); hang out with that silly friend who makes you laugh like there is no tomorrow.
De-clutter your life. Get organised. A disorganized desk or room is distractive and not conducive for relaxing. You do not need to break the bank to make your home especially your bedroom as relaxing as possible.
Rediscover nature. If you live away from the dust and smoke of the city, good for you. Enjoy nature, sunsets and sunrises. Sometimes even images of nature can be good to help you relax.
Music. Maybe its the loud beats of Bon Jovi’s “It’s my life” or the classics from Andrea Bochelli just listen to music that makes you happy and takes your mind off current issues if just for a while..
Relaxation doesn’t always mean spending all day at the beach, sipping cocktails and soaking in the sun, but it is the small and deliberate actions we take to disconnect and unwind and regain energy to deal with of day-to-day activities of life.
Life is too short to rush through.
Figure out what relaxation tips or techniques work for you. Our circumstances and personalities are diverse, therefore whatever works for you, Own it and use it.