How many of us are so much in the mode of being active and productive that we feel guilty when we let ourselves take a break? Apparently a lot. A Google search on “how to relax without feeling guilty” found over 900,000 results–articles, blog posts, books, and videos on that topic. In this episode we’ll look at why we need to relax, why we feel guilty about it, and some suggestions for getting past the guilt and learning to enjoy a little down time.
Tip of the Week: In continuation of my ongoing mission to get you to use secure passwords for all your online sites and accounts . . . if you’re not yet using a password manager because you can’t decide which one to use, I encourage you to listen to episode 491 of Allison Sheridan’s NosillaCast podcast. In the first 20 minutes or so of the episode she does a really thorough and helpful comparison of two popular password managers I’ve mentioned in previous episodes: LastPass and 1Password. Her insight might help you choose which one to use and get started securing your online world.
Tool of the Week: If your mailbox and kitchen counters are overflowing with junk mail, check out PaperKarma, a free app that lets you take a photo of a piece of unwanted mail and load it into the app, then they take care of contacting the mailer and getting you off that distribution list. An excellent tool to help reduce the clutter, save some trees, and simplify your life. Available in Apple’s App Store for iOS devices and in Google Play for Android. Check them out.
Topic of the Week: Relaxing Without Feeling Guilty
I’m fortunate to know a lot of amazing women who accomplish so much with their time, talent, and resources. But in several online and in-person conversations recently women have talked about having a hard time letting themselves relax. Going into the busy holiday season, it seemed like a good time to look at this and see if there are some solutions out there we can try.
What do I mean by relaxing?
defined as (among other things) “rest or engage in an enjoyable activity so as to become less tired or anxious”
Why do we need to relax?
- Health benefits
- Better relationships
- Better quality of life
- Greater productivity
Why do we feel guilty about it?
- We’re driven to do.
- We feel a sense of obligation to make the most of our time and accomplish as much as possible.
- We fear being judged as lazy or not pulling our weight.
- We’re faced with “open loops” — open-ended tasks that never end
How can we learn to relax and enjoy it (instead of feeling guilty)?
- Change our thinking: learn to thing of down time (relaxation) as an investment in our health, relationships, and productivity
- Give ourselves permission to take a real break
- Schedule relaxation time
- Prepare for it–take time to write down all those unfinished tasks that are distracting you
- Put tech away
- Resolve the open loops (see Scott H. Young’s great article, “Relax Without Feeling Lazy“)
- Practice relaxing (check out the Psychology Today article listed below for an explanation of how to challenge yourself to master relaxation)
Step by step, learn to relax. Learn that productivity isn’t everything. Creating is great, but you don’t need to fill every second with work. When you do work, get excited, pour yourself into it, work on important, high-impact tasks . . . and then relax.” ~ Leo Babauta, “Get Less Done: Stop Being Productive and Enjoy Yourself“
What do you think? Do you feel guilty when you relax? Will you try one of the suggestions above, or can you recommend something that works for you, so the rest of us can try it to? Share your comments, questions, suggestions below.
- “5 Ways to Make Time for Yourself Without Feeling Guilty About It,” by Laurie Cohen, April 22, 2013, on PickTheBrain.com.
- “How to Let Go of Your Guilt and Actually Enjoy Your Downtime,” by Laura Vanderkam, December 13, 2013, on FastCompany.com.
- “Get Less Done: Stop Being Productive and Enjoy Yourself,” by Leo Babauta on ZenHabits.net.
- “Relax Without Feeling Lazy: Kill Open Loops,” by Scott H. Young, February 28, 2008, on his blog at ScottHYoung.com.
- “Can’t Relax? Science Explains–and Helps Solve the Problem,” by F. Diane Barth, July 13, 2013, on PsychologyToday.com.
- “Relaxation Guilt,” by Erica Diamond, March 21, 2011, on WomenOnTheFence.com.
- “Finding Time to Relax Without Feeling Guilty,” July 19, 2012, on SavvyFinancialLatina.com.
- “Relaxation techniques: Try these steps to reduce stress,” by Mayo Clinic Staff, May 8, 2014, at MayoClinic.org.
- NosillaCast podcast, episode 491, detailed comparison of 1Password & LastPass, October 5, 2014.
- “Americans only take half of their paid vacation,” by Quentin Fottrell, October 31, 2014, on MarketWatch.com.
- “41% of American Workers Let Paid Vacation Days Go to Waste,” by Joe Pinsker, August 22, 2014, on TheAtlantic.com.
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