How to Relax

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.


The wonderful crew over at Support Driven are hosting a Challenge this month, and anyone who knows anything about me also knows that's one thing that I can't resist.

"What's the challenge?" You're probably thinking. "How can I get involved?" The challenge is very simple: just write everyday. You can read a bit more, if you're really into specifics, here; but, I promise you: that's all it is. Write a sentence, write a paragraph, write a novel, as long as you are writing something every day for the month of October, that's it. Bonus points if you share it in the Support Driven #draft channel.

In the spirit of beginning this challenge, I tried to reflect on what "challenge" meant to me. I instantly was reminded of Gregory Ciotti's post on the Help Scout blog: "If You Aren’t Cringing, You Aren’t Improving." 

I am intimidated by challenges like this, only because I know that writing is one of my Things. I've studied it for years, reading over books upon books of how to do it better, scrutinizing the craft of those around me, even of myself. I paid $75k just for the permission to write and critique and learn with a group of other amazing writers for three years, and was lucky enough to walk out of it with a Masters and a manuscript worthy of publishing.

But I still wouldn't call myself a "writer," though I would like to. I write support documentation and emails. I write blogs and jokes. I wrote a book, and in a journal, and poems every day; but I'm still not a writer. Why? Because I cringe. This is why I am afraid. Not of being able to complete the challenge, but of writing something every day and putting it out for the world (okay, well, #draft) to see. Because I know that there is no way I will be able to find enough time in my already threadbare days to write something worth reading.

But the cringe isn't always the worst, as Gregory poignantly writes, "You should only be worried if you don't feel the cringe." And so I'm here. Rambling about fears both unfounded and intensely personal. 

Sometimes, sitting in the discomfort of knowing that you could do better is better than doing the best of all time—after all, where can you go when you're already at the top?

So, here's to a month of feeling the cringe, even if it is immediately after publishing and not decades later. Furthermore, here's to sharing that cringe with others and further developing a thriving community of feedback, support and camaraderie. 

If you are not already a member of the Support Driven community, head on over to their site and get involved.

So, I do a lot of things, guys.

A few days ago I was talking with someone  about how I got my Masters in Creative Nonfiction and how much I think that has to relate to support. It had stemmed off of a conversation of what my past professional life had looked like and how they thought it would be cool if I were to write or give a talk on how I got there. I said that I didn't understand where the value would come from with a talk like that, at which point I was accused of crippling humility.

"You do lots of things." They said.

To which I responded: "No, not really. I write docs and tweets and emails, but that's about it nowadays, I don't do too much otherwise.  Some code, some debugging, but really I don't understand where I've gotten this reputation of awesomeness from."

"Look at all the stuff you write," they said, "Look at all the places you contribute to, look at how far you have come!"

So, I decided Well, maybe I should just see if I have enough to posts strewn around the internet to actually make a site with them all. I am getting kind of tired of posting random things on Facebook, it would be nice if they all had a place to live.

And so, here we are. A place for my things to live.