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Rhonda Scharf Headshot

Do You Actually Know How To Relax?

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I think I just might be in heaven right now.

I'm at the cottage. I'm all alone and the only sounds I can hear are the birds and the bullfrogs.

I absolutely love this kind of relaxation and truly appreciate these rare moments when they happen.

So what am I doing working on my laptop, you ask? I'm sharing a little piece of bliss and wondering if you know how to relax. I am disappointed to know that many people do not know how to relax at all. I actually find writing relaxing, so it isn't work for me.

My definition of relaxation may not be the same as yours. Right now the peace and quiet is fantastic, but I wouldn't want to relax this way every day. I do enjoy people (I'm a wee bit social as you probably know), so once in a blue moon, I do like to relax by myself and listen to nothing. Other times I like more action in my life and I find that relaxing too.

I'm planning tomorrow morning too (yes, I do tend to plan even my spare time -- and that works for me), and am thinking that a nice long run will be the perfect way to start my day. My alone-time ends tomorrow afternoon, so I'm soaking up all the "me" time I can get until then. Selfish? Maybe, but it is important that I take care of me so I can take care of others. Do you think about relaxation as fuel?

So does working on a laptop, going for a run and listening to the silence relax you, or does it make you a bit anxious?

What do you do to relax? Do you know how to relax? There is no right or wrong with relaxation, but it is important that you do it regularly. The same way we have to maintain our car so that it starts each morning, we need to maintain our bodies, our spirits, and our souls so we can start each morning, too.

What is your perfect vacation? Do you even take your vacation?

There was a recent study by Expedia (The International Vacation Deprivation Survey) that said about a quarter of Canadians don't use all their vacation days, and 10% don't use any of them!

Do you use all of your vacation? Why not? Are you the work-a-holic type who doesn't take vacation; who goes to work sick and feels the office can't live without you?

Don't be. Life is too short not to enjoy it. All of it.

That being said, don't abuse your employer's trust either. Just because you technically get one sick day a month doesn't mean you should take it if you're not sick.

Imagine you were going to use just one of your leftover vacation days this month. What would you do with it? Imagine you aren't going away on vacation, your friends and your spouse don't get this day, and you have to spend it in your own city.

What would you do? Don't tell me sleep all day, although an hour or two extra in the morning might be great. What would you do with yourself? No contact with work, no housework or chores that have to get done. Do them if you enjoy them, but otherwise, they aren't getting done today.

I arrived at the cottage just before dinner. I had brought some fresh chicken to barbeque and I decided I didn't even want to cook for myself tonight. Total relaxation. I had a peanut butter sandwich. I was 100 per cent okay with that. I'm relaxed. I didn't worry about the food groups, the calorie count or the nutrition. I'm relaxing.

If it has been more than 30 days since you can remember having real relaxation time for yourself, find at least one hour in the next week just for you. Sit in a bubble bath, go for a run, cut the grass, iron all the sheets in the house (ha! You know I love to iron, but do this only if it relaxes you). Whatever you want. Just one hour. For you.

Once you've had the hour, maybe next week you'll want to plan an extra hour to do it again.

I promise you'll feel better. You'll be better to live with, to work with, and to spend time with. Take care of yourself a bit so that you can take care of others.

Now, it's time for me to light the fire. I love a fire at night. I will be perfectly relaxed.

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