I do not know how to relax. I know that this sounds pretty ridiculous. That's because it is. When I am relaxing, sleeping in, vegging and watching TV, I always feel like I should be doing something else. What this has lead to is chronic multitasking. Knitting or hula hooping when watching a movie, playing video games and listening to my podcasts for that week. When I lay in bed next to my husband on the weekends because I have woken up at 8 AM (2 hours earlier than he will awake), I do not get up because I know that he will tell me that I need to take better care of myself.
That being said, relaxation is important. It is key to our brains being able to function properly. You reduce your chances of physical illness, increase your memory and mood stability, destress yourself and even up your chances of sleeping more efficiently if you take the time to relax. I know this because Science.
The issue is, despite knowing that it is good for me, I still can't help feeling like I could be doing something more—something productive or helpful, or generative—instead of sitting around like a bump on a log watching Buffy.
What I've started doing is looking at relaxing as another task. It's just as important as going grocery shopping or taking the garbage out because, like those things, it increases my quality of life and helps keep me (and those around me) healthy. I write relaxing into my schedule. Nestle it between my to-dos and fool myself into doing it because it is another check box that I can mark off once it's done. I tell myself that it is okay to just sit for an hour in a cafe with a friend and not be doing anything else or working on anything else, because it is on my list and it needs to be done.
I know that this sounds insane. I realize that there is likely some kind of disorder that I am showing major red flags for, and one of you readers are dying to tell me about it. But you know what? This works for me. I've found a balance between all of the things on my perpetual To-Do list haunting me while I do nothing, by making doing nothing one of them. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Right?
Try it for yourself. On one of those days where you are feeling too busy, have too many things to do, can't justify taking a second for yourself; justify it. Make it a priority to take care of yourself, make loving yourself a To-Do. You'll see a whole world of difference in your day-to-day.