Why is it so hard to take the time to wander around a national park or to sit and read a book or journal a little?
You’d think that, with all the free time I have (I work 40 hours/week and have a 45 minute commute each way, but I do not have a family or any obligations really), I’d be happy to do those things -they are relaxing, enjoyable, and cost nothing.
Instead, I find myself wanting to do activities that promise to energize me, but usually end up numbing my mind and/or draining me -watching popular TV shows is not relaxing (it does distract from the real world, but that’s not the same as relaxing or centering), heading to a yoga class can be pretty expensive and requires scheduling, and going out for a meal is definitely not cheap and, for me, can be an extremely stressful event. Most actitivies that seem like they would be a good way to chill, actually end up being time wasters and don’t lead me any nearer to peace. And although yoga or a nice run do help, I still have to actually schedule them, which often requires some planning and an effort to “beat the clock.” It’s easy for me to try to schedule a yoga class or a run into my day in between work and cooking dinner and cleaning the house -it’s one more thing to fill my planner/iCal app, but it’s sooooo much harder for me to leave an entire day open to do “nothing” but explore, unplug, and let myself wander.
If I try to give myself space to just “be,” I end up feeling guilty or anxious that I am spending my previous 2 days a week (Saturday and Sunday) on something not productive for myself, such as doing laundry or prepping meals for the week, or running all of those errands. I actually find that I have to schedule or plan time to do something when I want to just “be.” That seems so wrong to me. It doesn’t seem like it should be so difficult to relax and have spontaneous time. When I want to relax and just breathe, I schedule a yoga class, a massage, or long run.
I want to stop feeling like my weekends are so precious, like I need to be productive during them, and like I need to do as much as possible in them in order to optimize them. Of course, things like grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, and getting my car’s oil changed are not things I can ignore forever, but I would like to stop feeling harried by such tasks on my weekends.
Until recently, I think I assumed that everyone felt this way. But apparently not. Some people have learned to cope with the stress in better ways than I have, or naturally don’t struggle with perfectionism as much as I do. The main reason I have realized this is the examples that some of my newer friends have been to me. They live in the moment much more than I; their ability to roll with the punches and their lack of need to plan and analyze every possible option for their future is inspiring. They don’t go into things blind, nor do they act foolishly, but I admire the way that they do what they can in the moment and try to waste as little time and effort as possible so that they can actually live.
If you’re still having trouble relaxing, and you need a quick meal that is easy to grab-and-go while you transition to a less hectic mindset (or you just want an easy, yummy, healthy smoothie), try the recipe below.
How do you handle your time on the weekends?
Do you feel the need to “binge” on entertainment to make up for the work week?
Do you feel guilty about not attending to chores?
Or have you made peace with enjoying life and balancing all of its demands?
Oatmeal Banana Breakfast Smoothie (Meal replacement)
- 3/4 cup milk (I use organic whole milk, you can use any type though)
- 1 frozen banana
- 3-4 ounces firm tofu (I use 1/4 of the 14oz nasoya package)
- 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon honey
- *some options to mix things up* cocoa and more honey, chocolate syrup, frozen berries, nut butter
Blend all ingredients together in your favorite blender until smooth. Pour into tall glass and enjoy.