So in all honesty I have what might appear to some as a fairly relaxing life, but here is thing about relaxation it is different for everyone. I may not have to be at a paying job everyday and that might seem relaxing but I still have commitments and I still have doubts or moments of self doubt.
I am an over thinker and a worrier.
I am a planner and I am an organizer who wants everything to go a certain way.
I also suffer from anxiety and care what other people think even though deep down I don’t think it should matter.
I feel like I hear “Relax Carly” a lot or at least I used to and it never bothered me, I would try all my usual things (rescue remedy spray, yoga, eating properly, drinking water, going to bed early) but I have never felt more relaxed as I do right now. The funny thing is it has taken a little into our vacation to figure this perfect balance between the five of us.
Fraser and I have discussed what can we take from life on vacation and apply to everyday life to keep that relaxed feeling going. We discovered for us the reason we could just let go and have fun was because we didn’t have obligations, and I don’t just mean work I mean activities, school, commitments, social stuff like birthdays and family dinners, even things like cutting the lawn, making sure we went and paid property taxes or utility bills, arranging dentist appointments or cutting the lawn. These things are all obligations and expectations.
On vacation we had no responsibilities. We had to make sure we were fed and kept three tiny humans alive, that’s it. I don’t think we can avoid all commitments and obligations so second best thing is to take small breaks or time outs to relax, or at least this is our plan.
The biggest thing I am learning about relaxation is it looks extremely different to everyone. This is what can be challenging. I feel a lot of what we know or how we relax is learned (mostly from family but I think it could be said it is learned from a young age so anyone who during those years might have had influence on you).
For Fraser relaxing means no rush, no plan, watching TV or staying inside on the couch, etc. For me this can be stressful because we were raised if it was nice you should be outside, there is no reason to have the TV on and that we always had some sort of a plan for the day with a little structure. Sleeping all day or being lazy was rarely a thing we did. So, relaxing to me is still shutting down but it might include a little more structure (like being to the beach by a certain time) or making sure that we are outside everyday if it is nice out.
We both do find relaxation in taking the kids for walks or getting outside for some exercise. Taking time to play and feel no guilt about it. Playing could be jumping on the tramp, building forts or even just tickling and laughing. I really want to make play a priority in our house for all of us.
For our kids relaxing is even different again, all of our kids find the park relaxing Grace is a swing addict. Like could actually swing all day, but likes to be pushed. Rowen on the other hand likes to be chased, he is a kid who seems to really like to be engaged and kept busy physically. Eleanor is hard to tell yet but I think her most relaxed is being held. If you are calm and just hold her she is so happy and relaxed. Rowen and Grace seem very relaxed with TV Row even more so than Grace (I really dislike this and try to fight it). However what I am learning is if Rowen and Fraser tried to take away my books, writing, time at the spa or time at the beach I wouldn’t like it. So, if TV is one of their ways to relax and shut down then I need to appreciate that. I know it is hard for Fraser to understand how reading or even painting with the kids is relaxing, but I don’t understand how watching you tube is relaxing but that doesn’t mean we both shouldn’t do these things.
I think the biggest thing is to realize that a little relaxation can restart and reset the tone for your whole family. It is not reasonable to think you can just keep taking vacations to escape reality (I would know, I tried to convince Fraser of this plan!). It is however reasonable to find ways to incorporate relaxation or down time. For me that means locking the bathroom door and just taking a 10 minute shower, or putting the kids in the car and going for a bit of a drive or getting outside, going outside to the park or the beach or even the backyard. The dishes and laundry ain’t going anywhere! So I watch for signs that any of us need a little break and then we act on it.