The art of relaxation.


Once upon a time, I used to excel in relaxation.

Putting my feet up after a long day of work, complete with comfortable clothes, a cup of tea, a book, movie, or TV show, used to be one of my favourite things to do. I'd usually be productive during this time as well, tidying up in some manner, folding clothes, sweeping the floor, giving the bathroom a quick wipe down, tackling an army of dust bunnies, or working on my writing. Yes sir, relaxing was something that I was really good at. And while most people don't find chores relaxing, I tend do. It gives me an outlet, with the result being maximum cleanliness!

But as of late, relaxing is something that I actually seem to fear. It forces me to do nothing, it forces me to be one with my thoughts. And if you've been keeping up, my thoughts are not something that I want to spend too much time with. Even if I am just sitting on the couch, watching something on Netflix, I'm also on my phone, playing games, refreshing Twitter and Facebook, trying to keep my mind from stopping.

The other night, while Brad and I sat on the couch, him playing a video game and me trying to keep my mind from wandering, I began to feel anxious. This sort of "you need to get up and go" kind of feeling. These feelings seem to manifest once in a while, though it was especially bad before I began taking my medication. I would need to go out every night for a walk to keep my heart from feeling like it was going to burst out of my chest. And last night was the first time in about a week or so I'd had that feeling. I always ask Brad if he wants to come on walks with me, and he always does, so I'm glad to have the company, and for the first few minutes we usually talk about how I'm feeling, what I'm going to do to feel better. Soon afterward, I'm laughing and joking and talking like I used to before all of this nonsense started taking place. Like someone who didn't always feel like Eeyore.

I know it's not true, but I can't help but feel that lately I am becoming boring. Which is one of my greatest fears. I worry that I am boring, that my friends and loved ones are bored of me, that I am unexciting and not fun to be around. I haven't done much lately, spending most evenings on the couch, trying to will myself to want to do something. It feels like there's nothing going on in the city, when really I just haven't looked hard enough. (Although conferring with Brad has revealed that it isn't just me, that the city has seemed to be void of things to do the past two months) But, didn't I used to be interesting? And lately I feel like I'm not. I feel like I simply exist. Which is excellent, but up until recently I felt like so much more. I feel like everyone else is doing something, which I know is not true. Most nights I'm sitting on the couch, the majority of my friends and family are also sitting on their couches. It's still winter, people are still hibernating (even if it doesn't really get cold or snowy here). Thing is, they can relax, and I can't.

So, I feel like I must always be doing something. Even when trying to relax. Relaxing isn't anything - it's nothing.

Relaxation used to be my reward after a hard day's work. But I feel that over the past few months I haven't done enough hard work to warrant relaxing. Taking it easy makes me feel guilty, anxious, like I'm wasting my time. Shouldn't I be doing something? My mind wanders to places where I'm an older version of myself, wishing I'd done something instead of sitting around doing nothing on an arbitrary Thursday night. Which is completely illogical, I know. There is very little chance that when I am older I will look back on my life with any sort of regret about the things that I didn't do. But it doesn't stop me from going there, from wanting to make the most of every possible second that I'm awake. And that's fine, but it's hindering my ability to wind down most days and nights. Because I feel like I've already spent the majority of my day winding down, so surely my afternoons and evenings should be spent doing anything else but taking it easy.

I've enrolled in a couple of courses that will give me something to do in the evenings after work. I'm doing Zumba on Saturday mornings. I've reached out to someone for counselling who I'm going to meet with next week. I've signed up to volunteer at the local Humane Society. I'm trying to get over this notion that I have in my head that seeing friends and doing things are for weekends only - they're for during the week too. I'm trying to fill more of my free time with stuff and things that are rewarding so that when I do relax, I don't feel so guilty. I'm trying to reclaim my passion for things that I used to do - reading, writing, creating. Our last apartment was not at all conducive to being creative, and our new place is, and yet I feel that I've not embraced things that I used to take pride and pleasure in. I am an interesting person, and lately I don't feel like I am. I really want to change that.

But, as wonderful as hobbies, courses, volunteer work, exercise, and filling my time with meaningful things all are ... I would love more than anything to simply be able to put up my feet and relax.

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