When it comes to end-of-the-workday relaxation, Netflix is not the only answer. In fact, laying out in front of the TV might not be relaxing at all. Don’t get me wrong. The occasional binge watch can feel highly indulgent and satisfying. However, if zoning out for hours in front of your favorite streaming service is your go-to wind down activity, I want to offer a different perspective, and different options, for finding the relaxation, rest, and recovery that you’re looking for.
To figure out what works best for you, it’s important to pay attention to your energy and how different activities affect it. When you’re doing something with the intention of relaxing, do you end up feeling rested, refreshed, or depleted?
Living alone and having a demanding job, when my brain is feeling utterly maxed out at the end of a workday, all I want to do is zone out. My go-to ritual is to walk my dog, make dinner, then eat in front of the TV. Initially, this sounds quite enticing. But what tends to happen is, I finish eating, then remain sucked into my show. The longer I stay on the couch, the more I feel like doing anything else is an impossibility, even if I start feeling restless!
I literally feel the energy draining out of my body and have to drag myself off the couch to shower and get ready for bed. Nothing restful or replenishing about that activity. The very thing I’m leaning on for relaxation is actually contributing to my feeling of depletion. Can you relate?
I decided to experiment with something new. Instead of the TV habit, I eat dinner, then pick something else to do to wind down from the day. Tuesday evening, I felt utterly fried. Yet as the sun was setting, there was a beautiful breeze blowing, and the outdoors were calling. I hopped in the car with my dog, and drove downtown to stroll by the water. It was a brief 30 minute outing, but the result was a feeling of refreshed calm. Far more satisfying than a couple hours of yet more screen time.
Something else I’ve been enjoying is doing a bit of cleaning each evening. I pick a different room each day. This helps in multiple ways. I’m being productive in a way that’s not at all taxing to my brain. It’s a cleansing activity that makes me feel like I’m clearing the day away and sets up my space for the following day. It also means that when the weekend rolls around, my place is already clean so I can eliminate that from my to-do list.
Although both these examples involve activity, the physical output is gentle, and my brain still has time to wander. The Tuesday evening stroll I described above resulted in massive creative inspiration! I believe that when we truly relax, that’s when make space for new ideas and energy to flow in. Chances are that’s not going to happen during a Schitt’s Creek marathon (it might! but probably not).
This is by no means an article advocating for forsaking TV. I love TV! But only when I deliberately choose it, rather than when it’s an unconscious habitual activity that I falsely assume is what I need at the end of the day.
Did this article inspire you to try something new for your recovery time? If so, let me know your plans in the comments below.