All week I was looking forward to a lazy day extravaganza on Saturday. We were expecting a tropical storm to blow through, and as I wrote about previously, there’s nothing like a good rain storm to help me get fully cozy and let go of responsibilities.
Unfortunately, my lazy day didn’t go at all as planned.
First of all, I woke up on Saturday and it wasn’t raining. Such a bummer! As is often the case in West Palm Beach, I woke up to the sun blaring through my windows. This was upsetting.
Then I got a text from a friend asking if I wanted to meet at our favorite cafe for coffee. Meeting anyone that day was not part of the plan, but given that it was beautifully bright out, a coffee and a croissant with a dear friend sounded like a great way to start the day. So I quickly got dressed and headed out to meet her. Not lazy.
After the coffee I was determined to remain committed to a day of pure relaxation. I came home and got straight into my pajamas – the only acceptable lazy day attire. I lay on the couch to read and instantly felt sleepy, so opted for a nap. The lazy day was looking up!
The problem is, after my nap I felt agitated and restless. I couldn’t relax and that frustrated me. What’s my problem? Here’s my chance to just let go and do nothing and I can’t seem to handle it?
Rather than continue to fight the restlessness, I got up and started to work on a painting that’s been in progress for some time.
I do some of my best thinking and reflecting while painting, so I pondered this relaxation dilemma. Why was I having such a hard time relaxing on the day I had set aside specifically for that endeavor? Was it just the rain? Is my anxiety getting the better of me? Am I a workaholic?
Nope. That wasn’t it. The problem my friends, is that I attempted to orchestrate a day of laziness by actually planning it out. In my vision it was raining all day and I would be spending the day painting and lounging. When I woke up to sunshine and an invitation, the vision went out the window.
A day of relaxation is not about being lazy. It’s about being present.
The reason I felt agitated is because I wasn’t allowing myself to embrace whatever felt right in the moment. I wasn’t being present, and that is what was robbing me of my enjoyment.
For those of us that struggle with anxiety and the overachiever drive, it’s a great idea to set aside a day here and there where you make absolutely no plans, including giving yourself complete freedom from personal obligations. The freedom lies in committing to being absolutely one hundred percent present throughout the day – with how you’re feeling and with what you’re doing in the moment. When you hear the dreaded “should” creep into your mind, take a deep breath and change the should to could, then ask yourself what you want.
It becomes like a meditation and goes something like, “I’m watching TV, but I should really clean the bathroom.” Deep breath. “I could clean the bathroom. Do I want to?” Deep breath, tune into your body, picture yourself cleaning the bathroom. How does that feel? “Nope, don’t want to. Gonna keep watching TV because it’s fun.”
For me, it went something like this. “I’m feeling agitated. I should go work on my painting.” Deep breath. “I could work on my painting? Do I want to? Yep! That sounds pretty good.”
I know for me when I’m tired and craving relaxation, what I’m really craving is time that is free of obligation, free from all the responsibilities and goals that I place upon myself. I like living a disciplined and focused life. Yet I find that balancing that with days of free flowing rest and creativity helps immensely with my emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.
In the end, I had a great day! Coffee with a friend, an afternoon nap, and an evening of painting and talking on the phone with my Aunt. As soon as I was able to be fully present, the agitation melted away and enjoyment took its place.
I’m curious how this resonates with you. Is relaxation a challenge for you? Do you struggle with being present in the moment and knowing what you want? Let me know in the comments below.