Stop Feeling Guilty for Relaxing

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A few years back I was working with my health coach Paige and was pretty deep in the self-development churn.

My husband was heading away on a business trip to sunnier climes so I joined him and mostly had the days to myself while he was at the office.

Paige emailed me between sessions to see how I was doing.

I had grand plans to relax on this holiday and my first day was blissful - a long walk, spa, a cold beer with lunch on the beach, reading all afternoon, but by the second day I was struggling … I told her I’d already powered through the goals we’d set at my last session and was itching for more to do.

She then asked me a question that has really stuck with me since - “Do you plan to spend a significant amount of your life resting?”

Um, yes, was my response.

Yet here I was on day two of my holiday sitting with uncomfortable feelings like boredom, guilt and restlessness.

Does this sound familiar to you? If so, here’s how to combat your phobia of relaxing:

Schedule relaxation time

A good type A personality trick right?

I found, for example, when I had ‘nothing’ to do on a weekend day, I felt quite guilty for lounging around. I think this was because none of it was very intentional and I hadn’t actually committed to my plan to do nothing - it was just happening by default.

So now, if I want to make plans, I do - brunch, walks with friends, shopping, all still fall into relaxation for me. Or, if I have a few errands and chores to do, I schedule them for the morning, then schedule in an afternoon of reading my book, watching Netflix or scrolling social media with no issues.

It feels better for me to relax after having been productive, or to relax with other people rather than alone.

Sit with the uncomfortable feelings

As I mentioned, I do struggle with the feeling of boredom or, more specifically, not being sure what I feel like doing.

We run around so much in our lives - working hard, running to appointments, keeping our houses in order - and when we do feel any boredom a device is there to distract us immediately.

Sitting with hard feelings is something Brooke Castillo taught me and it’s really about realising there’s nothing to fear in any emotion.

Boredom to me might feel a bit icky and might make me a bit restless but I can handle that.

Given everything else I have going on, the feeling of boredom is a good thing to come up for me once in a while and after I’ve accepted that I can move on to the things I think I never have time for.

We’re not living life on a points system

I absolutely love this concept (thanks Amy Young).

I’ve talked about it here on the blog before, but if we’re lucky enough, we’re always going to have a to do list, a bucket list and a bunch of cupboards that never stay cleaner longer than a week.

So when I have nothing to do, I can easily create something to do - but who is watching and who is going to pat me on the back for ticking these things off?

Life is much more interesting when lived with pleasure and enjoyment and compassion for ourselves, not when we’re churning through a to do list or adding to that list for the very sake of it.

I do plan to spend much of my life relaxing, and I’m ok with that. How about you?

July Recap and August Intentions

And just like that, August is upon us…It’s the last month of winter here in Australia, but also usually the coldest month here in Melbourne.

I had a busy July, mainly due to work, and am glad to say things are quieting down on that front so I can get some more balance back.

So how did I do with my July intentions and what’s up next for me?

July Recap

Seek out winter warmers

As I looked over the last month, including my photos, I realised I actually had a lot of sunny memories.

We like to moan about the weather but chilly sunny days can be counted on here in winter and I can handle this season when there’s sun.

A weekend in Healesville was a highlight with country town fun including walks, wineries and a gin tasting - not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

I’ve also had some cosy dinners in the city with friends and even when it’s wet, Melbourne is still beautiful when slick with rain.

Put first things first

This one has made a big impact on my life in the last month.

As I mentioned in my habits post here, I’ve been planning my week and therefore having a much nicer balance of blogging, study, catch ups with friends and exercise (all alongside the busy work month).

I really encourage you to write down what’s ahead for the week on a Sunday, if only to get it out of your head and easily visible once the busy weekdays take off.

August Intentions

Interrupt the negative voice

Another habit I reinstilled during July was journalling before bed. It’s been insightful and slightly terrifying.

I’ve been tending to have (self-proclaimed) crazy ‘worst case scenario’ thoughts lately - mainly about what other people think of me and also around work situations.

I’m still not sure how to alleviate these negative thoughts but am going to do some digging this month and see if I can’t stop them in their tracks.

Up the training at work

Continued professional development has always been important to me, but it’s so easy for it to fall by the wayside in between the daily to do list and busy weeks at work.

We have a few products at work I’ve been meaning to learn more about for (ahem) over a year, so I’m going to try and be ruthless this month and block out time and headspace to up my knowledge.

What’s your intentional plan for August? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Light Links: August

Spring is finally on its way to Australia. Longer days and sunshine do make a difference to my mood, no matter how I try and accept winter.

I’ve been trying to inject some more fun into my days this month. I’ve been making sure I schedule fun catch ups and self care early in the week, so I’m not always hanging out for the weekend.

Some of those self care occasions involve reading my favourite blogs. My favourite links from this month are below - enjoy!

Wondering how to simplify your days? I need to focus on #4.

I think Mindy Kaling is my hero. Here’s an essay from her on confidence (and her interesting view on mistakenly labelling people as ‘workaholics’). Plus Stephen Colbert loves her too = win. 

If you personally need some ideas on self-care, read this. I love the cute flow chart.

This one was very popular on my social media this month - what to do if you’re feeling burnt out and unmotivated

On that note, I’m off on holidays for a week! For all you planners out there, here’s some ideas on how to make the most of a day off.

And if you’re interested in holidaying like it’s 1999, read this:

“You bring a paperback book and a fancy new yellow Sony CD player. You have a drink, read a little and relax.When your friends show up, you snap a few group photos with a disposable film camera (there’s no such thing as a selfie yet) and hope they turned out O.K. It’s heaven."