Time to Unwind

10 Sep

Last week, The Wall Street Journal posted a thoughtful article on the effectiveness of different relaxation techniques (and the author just happens to be my law school roommate whom I lost touch with after graduation…glad to see she’s following her passion!)

I have trouble, immense trouble, with relaxation.  When my secretary snaps at me to “Relax!” I snap back “I don’t. Ever.”

I know that my productivity suffers when I don’t leave my desk for hours on end.  Sometimes breaks are not an option.  A large part of my job is helping out with smaller but top-priority assignments, often several of them at a time, and because they’re highly time sensitive, I have to keep at it until the assignments are complete.

Trying to take little breaks at  my desk is futile.  I’ll take a 5 minute break to online window shop or check the news and not feel even the slightest hint of relaxation.

There are 2 work-time techniques that truly do help me unwind a bit.  One is having a really good conversation.  I’m not talking about friendly chit-chat, I mean the type where you sit down with a close and trusted friend, and just release the pressure valve.  Not in an angry way at all, but in a “I am opening my brain and letting everything out” kind of way.

The other technique is taking a walk.  Taking a walk out in beautiful nature is always relaxing, and I love walking through the wooded trails in Schenley Park and Frick Park.  During the workday, this isn’t an option, because downtown is all high rises and concrete.  Now and then I do take a shopping stroll through Macy’s or Burlington, or peruse the books at the downtown library.

Of course, a vacation is always ideal for hopefully long-lasting relaxation.

The last 2 trips I’ve taken haven’t been particularly refreshing, but that is what happens when you try to vacation with an infant.  In 2009, though, I took a 3 day trip that relaxed me more than any other vacation, of any duration, I’ve ever taken.  Mr. Beez and I had a long weekend at an all-inclusive in Cancun.  We lounged about on the beach, I read books, we ate and ate and ate, we went to bed early, and we slept as many hours as we wished.  It was beautiful.

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