Is Relaxing What You’re Really Doing?

“There are times when we stop, we sit still. We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.”
James Carroll

I often turn on a TV show in the name of relaxation when what I am really doing is checking out. I’m using TV as a distraction, either from things I have to do or from uncomfortable feelings like loneliness or stress. In this case, watching TV is not actually helping me relax. I’d be better off connecting with a friend or facing my to-do list square on and then opting for some couch time afterwards. It’s easy for me to check out. It’s a whole other thing to relax. Relaxing means I’ve acknowledged where I am at that moment – my physical state and my emotional one – I’ve accepted it, and I’ve decided to let it go for the time being. True relaxation does not happen often for me. I suppose I’ve failed to make it a priority, but I’ve also been quite unaware of what it means to relax.

I remember one of the rare times I did experience real relaxation. I was about 8 months pregnant and every inch of my body ached. Sleeping comfortably was no longer a reality for me. One day I went to enjoy a prenatal massage and fell asleep right there on the table just a few minutes into the massage. It was the first time in a very long time that I had absolutely no difficulty drifting into dreamland.

The strong feelings of rest and peace that came with this experience is what I remember most. This level of relaxation is what my body needs every so often to rejuvenate and perform at its best. It’s what we all need. But are we actually giving ourselves this gift?


Are you also guilty of using TV as a means to “check out”? What helps you really and truly relax?


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