Guess who does not know how to relax? My husband! (Remember how I just said he was a Captain?) Bless his sweet heart, he is on the go all the time. He has two speeds – super fast and stopped. When he is up and moving around, he stays busy by either working or playing games (a hard working man’s luxury ~smile~)
However, when he sits down or lies down, it is only a matter of time before he crashes. In fact, he goes so hard that his body often makes him take a nap in the middle of the evening. I cannot count the number of times I have walked by the bedroom only to find him fast asleep. Anyone who works as constantly as Eric does needs intermittent times of rest.
Guess who loves to relax? Me! I adore the feel of the comforter over me as I lie there and drink in the solitude. Sometimes, I just snuggle in silence. Add some rain pounding against the window and I am really in business!
When I visit my parents, we spend a lot of time sitting outside in the shade, talking and enjoying our favorite beverages. It is nice to take it easy and smell the roses. Why is everyone in such an all-fire hurry, anyway?
Relaxing versus Laziness
There is a fine line between relaxing and lazing around all the time. When your mind is full and you have been working your fingers to the bone, it is good to relax your body, breathe deeply, and enjoy some down time. On the other hand, if you perpetually put off tasks in an effort to “relax as much as possible,” that might be considered a lazy approach to life… unless you are on vacation. ~smile~
Eric’s personality lends him towards workaholism (“What else can I accomplish today?”) and mine lends me towards procrastination (“Why in the world would I worry about this today when I have all day tomorrow to do it?”) So, we have very different views on relaxation and its place in our lives.
Eric says, “I need to learn how to relax!” I say, “My day is shot. I did not get to relax enough!” The proper balance lies somewhere in between. ~smile~
Is Relaxing Important?
Even Eric, the Energizer bunny, believes relaxing is important. He just struggles to make time for it! When he was single and still living at home, he dedicated one night a week (after coming home from work) to relaxing. He would sit down on his couch and listen to soft, instrumental music. His purpose was not to sleep, but to clear his mind and relax his body. If someone asked him to hang out on that night of the week, he would politely and kindly decline and say, “I am busy.” ~smile~ He misses those relaxation sessions and I am sure they truly benefitted him. Chances are, it was easier to relax when he had no responsibilities other than a job and a few bills.
Many of us live in a state of perpetual stress. We may not realize it, but the nature of our culture is go! go! go! succeed! succeed! succeed! Can we even imagine living in a world where stores and restaurants were closed on Sunday?
My parents vividly remember almost everything being closed on Sunday. If you needed gas for your car, you had better plan ahead and get it on Saturday! Most people counted on having one day a week to take it easy. God, in His wisdom, designed the week to allow for rest after six days of work. Surely God did not need the rest when He “rested on the seventh day” after creation, but He modeled it for us to follow. (Genesis 2:2)
Relaxation versus Entertainment
In addition to being success driven, we are also entertainment driven! We love our fun. We want to be entertained at school, work, and church. Think about it: how many people leave a church (or fall asleep through it) because it does not interest them enough? How many employees struggle to work a full eight hours without some form of entertainment in the background (radio, TV, frequent breaks, etc.)? Is that not why many of us work so hard? So we can enjoy good entertainment – vacations, movies, hobbies, nice restaurants, etc.?
Many forms of entertainment keep our mental wheels grinding. As much as I like watching movies and TV series, they do not relax my mind; they are, however, amusing. Eric likes to come home from work and play a couple games on his iPad. He enjoys it and it takes his mind off work stress, but it does not relax his mind. Entertainment in balance is fine, but entertainment should be distinguished from relaxation. After relaxing, you should feel calmer, more rested, and less stressed. After entertainment, you may find yourself more keyed up.
What Will You Do to Relax Together?
Sit down with your sweetheart and talk about how you like to relax. Swinging in a hammock in the backyard? Listening to the waves on the beach? Enjoying soft music and lying down on a comfortable surface?
Talk about how you relax now and how you want to incorporate relaxation into your relationship. Once you are married, will you want certain days or nights dedicated to relaxation? What activities do you want to incorporate into your marriage to help you relax? How will you help each other relax during more stressful seasons of life (e.g., raising small children, etc.)?
Writing this post has really inspired me to relax. ~smile~ Perhaps Eric will give me a backrub and I can spend a little time listening to the rain (even if it is on CD ~smile~)!
What is your favorite relaxing activity?