10 minutes without stimulation
Ask yourself: “When was the last time I just sat for 10 mins and did nothing?” Not watched tv or surfed the internet but just sat somewhere and took a minute to just relax and be? For me, this would be almost never.
This week has been a hard one, work has been tough and my insomnia has kicked up again, so I am tired and cranky and, of course, a joy to be around for my fellow-man. (To all who have had the pleasure of my company this week – You’re welcome). G and I have some friends staying with us, which is great, but which can also get pretty noisy. Which is difficult when you are tired and cranky…see above. But I know this is my own issue, and I can’t ask my guests to speak in whispered tones just because I am easily overstimulated these days. I love having people over…they would probably stop coming if I started yelling at them. Just a guess.
So I decided to take myself and my short temper and go have a nice bath. I’m not a huge bath person, but I bought some new bath salts recently so have been enjoying them a bit more. But I usually read books or blogs while I’m there. Yesterday, even that was too much. So I decided to put on my “sleep music” and just try to relax. My sleep music is this 10 minute piece of massage-type music (you know, the generic kind that you hear every time you get a massage, just hearing it makes me think I’m getting a massage) that I use to help me fall asleep when I wake up in the middle of the night. I thought that, by association, this would help me to relax.
That’s when I realized that if I’m not trying to fall asleep – I am always doing something. I am always being stimulated (minds out of gutters people!!) by an external distraction. When I’m not working, I am either with people, watching tv, reading or surfing the internet, or, of course, doing crossfit. I have actually forgotten how to just “do nothing” for even as short a time as 10 minutes.
I honestly went batsh*t crazy in about 2 minutes. I wanted to check my phone, read a blog, do anything but just lie there and focus on my breathing. Which of course meant that I really needed to just lie there and think about my breathing and try to relax myself without needing the world to distract me from my own head. This was the hardest thing I have done in a while. I tried regulating my breathing by taking deep breaths…in…out…in…out…this lasted 15 secs. Then I tried visualizing that I was on a beach somewhere…this lasted a bit longer as I had to get the details just right but by the 7th minute I was actually counting the 180 seconds until the music was done and I could get up and find one of my usual distractions.
This exercise made realize that, while I love all my modern-day conveniences, I have become overly dependent on them and am mistaking distraction for relaxation.
So my plan, because whenever this is a problem, there must be a plan, right? (No? maybe it’s just the project manager in me…I really hate a problem with no plan – shudder). My plan is to include 10 mins of just relaxing as one of next week’s Short-Term Goals.
What about you? How do you relax?