HOW TO RELAX
Learn How To Actually Relax Instead of “Fake Resting”
How To Relax In Lockdown
It seems like every conversation I’ve had lately has revolved around how to relax, rest and the urgent need to look after ourselves right now more than ever.
A message from a client a few weeks ago summarised it nicely – “we are all just trying to NOT drown right now”. I totally get her sentiment – in fact, I’m sure we all can relate. Whatever we’re feeling and experiencing in this lockdown so far, it’s definitely been challenging for most/all of us.
Everyone I speak to is feeling fatigued, fed up, isolated, reclusive, bored and frustrated. Even the people who have never struggled with mental illness are experiencing challenges just now. If you have felt alone in feeling like this then I hope this reassures you, and please do ask for support if you need it. You matter. Your wellbeing is important.
It may also be hard to keep to the usual self-care routines that are usually engrained in your schedule. I wanted to write a few words about how we can adapt our habits to maximise rest, and why this is so important just now.
Give Yourself A Break
I don’t care if your pre-2020 life involved lots of high-energy activity. I just want you to stop beating yourself up for not being able to stick to any plans or routines just now.
Quit the self-judgement if you’re normally up by 5am and now you are rolling out of bed just in time for your 9am Zoom call.
Be loving to yourself if you are dodging phone-calls because talking to people is effort and you already know how your friend is doing (nothing could possibly have changed since last week). And then watch this video by Carly Rowena about why you’re not the only one who feels like this (you’re definitely not) and how to gently reconnect with your friends in easy ways.
Above and beyond all else – give yourself some well-deserved credit for having got this far.
Fake Rest vs. Actually Learning How To Relax
I’m just going to say it – I SUCK at taking downtime. I love teaching, I love coaching, I love filming and writing, and I love everyone I work with. I am so lucky that I get to do all of this full time. This does not excuse my inability to switch off.
I was on a call with my business group recently where my coach was talking about “fake rest”. You know – taking a day off and spending it scrolling on your phone, doing trainings and listening to podcasts. Then patting yourself on the back for your productivity while wondering why you don’t feel well-rested. Mmhmm.
I’d never felt so exposed.
I recently wrote in my journal:
Today I got rest
Like actual actual rest.
Not even rest-so-I-can-work-harder/more.
I’m starting to realise that rest isn’t slowing down to speed up
Rest is just slowing down and feeling nice
but to chill and feel nice.
That’s right guys. It took me until this month to understand what rest was. I also shared this journal entry with my partner (I can’t keep anything to myself haha) and he was mind-blown too. We may need to work on our rest techniques as a household ….
How I (Finally) Learned To Rest
Restorative yoga. I’ve switched out my usual dynamic and strong yoga practice and instead I relax, breathe deeply and lie on a bolster for an hour every morning.
Read. I’m reading chilled-out fiction (no thrillers right now thx) and helpful books on self care. I recently enjoyed Burnout: The Secret To Solving The Stress Cycle (note: asides from its bias against men – tread carefully). I also recommend everything by Thich Naht Hanh for accessible Zen Buddhist teachings and gentle compassion and breathing practices.
Sleep. Be in bed for 8.5-9hrs a night. If I stay up late then I get up late. Or if I know I have an early start then I plan ahead the night before. Sleep and rest are so important to feel well.
Gentle nutrition. I make sure I’m eating the main food groups, taking supplements to support my mind and body, and enjoy cake when that is how I want to feel comforted.
Digital Detox. I just avoid the news and social media. I don’t scroll, I don’t check. I’m exhausted from all the information and I feel so much more energised and happy when I don’t keep hitting refresh.
Ask for help. This is a big one for me. Turns out everyone is more than happy to support, hold space and take on things for me. It feels so good to be supported.
Take time off. Don’t get to the point where collapsing is the only choice. Take rest when it’s a whisper and not a shout.
Find YOUR Best Rest Practices
Everyone has their own unique ways of resting that works for them. You may love to shut down all tech devices for an hour, or to switch off your phone for a whole weekend. It could be asking friends, family or a carer to look after your kids for an afternoon. Maybe your rest requires alone time; or perhaps it’s being surrounded by people dedicated to rest as well. Whether you need to wild-camp or to close your curtains at home for a day, it is SO important to learn how to relax in a way that helps you fill your well.
I’m in the process of creating a ton of YouTube content to help you relax. There will be restorative yoga practices, morning rituals and stress-reducing flows. Subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss out!
How do you rest the best? Do you know how to relax fully, or are you stuck in the ‘fake rest’ cycle? Let me know, and share your self-care tips below.