Healthy Living

Taking Time to Relax

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Let’s face it, people are pressed for time. The days are packed with you name it, career, business, family, friends, education, side hustles, networking and all manner of activities to stay and get ahead in life. Maybe you’re one of those people who think rest and relaxation is a waste of time, time better spent doing other productive things or rest is for those who are idle. Or you’re one of those who live their passion. You enjoy your work and for you being away could be stressful because you can’t imagine doing anything else. In all things we tend to forget the most important thing: for you to function at optimum level you need time out to relax and recharge your batteries.

So let’s define relaxation. According to the dictionary, relaxation is the state of being free from tension and anxiety. This denotes a state of well being and finding balance and peace within all the hustle and bustle around us. Signs that show that you’re stressed and need to relax include feeling tired, overwhelmed and listless. Every small thing irritates you; every hill looks like a mountain and every valley looks like the dumps. So, are you taking care of business and everyone else and forgetting the one who needs care the most: YOU?

For some people relaxing or time off takes a set pattern or schedule; like going away for holiday with their spouse, family or friends at specific times of the year.  When they take leave off work, at the end of the semester, or when they go “shags” (native place) is when they relax.

According to Liz Mugure Kimotho, getaway specialist and founder of Exclusive Eco Travels, people have to learn to relax in ways other than the traditional safaris and hotel stays. For those who insist they have no time to rest or go on holiday, relaxation can be anything that takes away stress, makes you feel calmer and happier; a ten minute massage, fifteen minutes of meditation, deep breathing, twenty minutes of exercise, a walk in the park, dancing, listening to music-anything. Just be creative.

Relaxation is also a very individual thing. For some it is engaging in physical activities; which could be stressful for others; for some it’s a quiet and peaceful moment, which is depressing for others, depending on your idea or definition of what relaxing means. The most important thing is to find something to help you disconnect from your busy life, to help you re-focus and be more effective. It could be as simple as turning off all the gadgets, not picking up that phone for a day or two. Believe me, life will go on.

Being able to get away from your problems even for a while helps put them in a better perspective, solutions come and life becomes brighter and better. Learn to enjoy the success you create as you go along, being able to enjoy your wealth is as important as the process of making it. Don’t feel guilty about it; reward yourself for the effort-it gives you more mileage and push for the journey ahead.

A friend of mine runs a restaurant in Nairobi’s busy River road with her husband. She takes care of the customers up front and kitchen and he handles the back office. From dealing with difficult customers to chasing supplies it gets so busy and stressful, they hardly see each other until late into the night. To get some downtime they sometimes sneak out and go to another restaurant. They order their meals and allow themselves to be served and pampered. This she says re-energizes her and boosts her mood.

Your ability to get through and deal with life goes hand-in-hand with your ability to relax. Sleep should not be seen as rest especially for those who suffer from insomnia or are constantly worrying. Don’t be afraid to get professional help if unable to let go of troubling issues that affect you.

Taking time out to relax doesn’t have to be a costly or structured affair. A moment of quiet reflection can put you in a better frame of mind. An appreciation of nature can give you a new sense of wonder and gratitude. Stopping to watch children play can bring back fond memories, rekindle old dreams and add fire to achieving them. Engaging in an activity with others and loved ones can bring a new sense of belonging and strength to face the world. The most important thing is to find an activity that gives you pleasure and allows you to forget for a while and helps you exhale.

Finding balance and well being is never about totally switching off. It is about having the right attitude towards work and life- these are inextricably intertwined. Don’t be too hard on yourself, allow yourself to breathe a little in between. Life happens to every one of us. It’s not going to pass you by because you took a break. You can always catch up. So guys, just relax.



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