October 25, 2023
learnng to relax or not

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As we age, does time speed up or slow down?

Do you ever look at what you once found important and maybe realize it’s just not that important anymore?

But what about our day-to-day hurry and scurry lifestyles?

"I can't ever relax. I feel like there is something undone. Is there an explanation for this?"

Many older folks grew up in our society where work was the sum total of their day.

If you lived on a farm, you were carrying the milk bucket to the house by age three.  Never mind if you slopped it right out. You were made to work.

If you grew up in a family that had a chore list, then there was no use relaxing after dinner, as Dad and Mom were calling out your name and you better get to it.

Some of us were taught to be high achievers. We should never stop, relax, and smell the roses.  After all, "idle hands are the devil's workshop".

Maybe you were one to sit down and read, or play the piano, only to hear your mom yell, "Mary, where are you?  Come help me!"

Oh yes, and now we are victims of the list to list, task to task, and never seem to relax.

Is this normal?

Well, in the old days, or the days when "we didn't work, we didn't eat" it seemed normal.  But now, we work for other pleasures in life.  We seem to have this housing and food thing down so we've moved on to the better things in life.

No, you are not alone.  Americans are still only a generation or two away from the "Great Depression".  We slow down only because we are tired or hurt and mentally, we know there is so much more to do.

And still, we know it drives us crazy and then we look at those who do relax and wonder, "What's up with that?"  For them, it's not only normal, it's healthy.

How do we fix this?

Some psychologists tell us we are just hard-wired to stay busy and to measure your day, your lives, and your values by how much you do.

And others will tell us we will work ourselves into poor health, troubling relationships, and an early death.

Ultimately, it is up to you to change if you want. It starts with the little things.

If you love what you do, if it keeps you going and you enjoy it, then keep doing it.

If, in the back of your mind, relaxing means you feel guilty, then you might consider putting it on your "task list" -  Today at 4 PM I will relax for one hour!

Yes, this is still an accomplishment and you did it!

Do you feel things are never done, no matter how many things you do?  Put a note up on your bathroom mirror saying, "What are three things I accomplished today?"  And call out those three things before you go to bed. You'll feel so much better!

You will feel so much better.

Here are some suggestions from folks who have admitted to their inability to relax…

"Separate your work time from your playtime. You can do this by time or by place."

"I do not look at my phone when I'm on vacation. There is nothing so important that I have to look at.  I totally love where I'm vacationing and take in every minute of it. The person I'm with has my phone and if I'm needed for an emergency, they'll let me know."

I separate by place, too.  I have a pool in my backyard but I can't relax in it because there is too much to do around the house.  So, I go to our community pool and relax there.

"I relax by time.  I know that on Sunday afternoon my football games are going to get all my attention and I do not care about all the zillion other things I could be doing."

"I relax by time and place.  Every morning, I walk by myself, getting in my chance to relax.  Sure, my mind is racing, but it's not on my daily chores but on the beauty nature holds for me as I walk.

"I relax because my cats climb into my lap and I have to."

"I do tai-chi and it focuses and relaxes me."

So no, you are not alone if you find yourself always busy. Can we temper it?  Sure, if it bothers you and those you love.

About the Author

Hi, I'm Suzanne. My superpower is creating working knowledge to well-informed, well-prepared seniors and their families so they may enjoy the later years with health, wealth, and happiness, I've helped over 10,000 patients, seniors and their famlies like yourselves do just that through my courses, eBooks, the Senior Freedom Memerbship, and in my physician assistant medical practice.

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