Note: This post was written LAST Thursday and I thought it posted then, but apparently not so I’m posting it today because I know some of you feel my pain in my inability to relax, right? I’m in Memphis for work today. Wish me luck navigating conference food for the next few days! Here’s hoping I don’t wipe out this week’s 3 pound loss. Thankfully this is my last trip for a couple of months. I’ll be crossing Tennessee off of my “50 states to run” list today but it’ll have to be the treadmill because of a) the ice here and b) safety concerns in this part of the world for a girl alone. 🙂 Hill workout in progress as this posts!!
In the last 6 months, with my work responsibilities increasing as I take on bigger and bigger projects, I found myself feeling the stress more than usual and getting sick more often than usual (even ending up in the hospital!). I clearly need to work on relaxing. Running can be a great stress reliever for me, but I need to find other stress relievers because A) I can’t run every day and B) it can’t be my ONLY stress reliever. I’m working on that this year by actively taking time to reflect on putting good out into the world and being grateful for my life (like in my weekly wrap-ups), as well as getting back to reading for pleasure, which has always been one of my favorite ways to relax.
We also just back from a 7 day Disney cruise. You’d think that would be relaxing by definition, right? Except I’m really not built that way – instead, I was stressed for most of the week before we left about how Oliver would travel, were we packing the right things, were we packing too much, would we oversleep, would have fun – you name it, I worried about it. Last time we went on a cruise, I let that kind of worry dampen a lot of my enjoyment of the trip, which mostly manifested itself as bad sleep the whole week and some binge eating in Disney World when we got off the boat. I definitely did not want to go through that again.
Being a goal-oriented, list-making person, I actually made a list of things I was going to do to relax on my vacation (yes, a literal written list).
- Have one alcoholic beverage each day. This actually started with lunch on Friday afternoon before we left. At least one of these must have an umbrella in it.
- Treat myself to a fancy coffee drink every day.
- Sit in a deck chair and read the book I brought along. Finish at least one book on this trip. Combine this with the coffee or alcohol if possible.
- Take a yoga class.
- Don’t track or obsess about food (and therefore be okay about a gain).
- Run as often as I want. Don’t worry about taking time away from my family – they’ll be fine (and probably asleep anyway).
I also booked a body wrap/massage and a mixology class ahead of time, as well as two adult-only dinners with my husband. That’s it. No excursions, no other must dos.
How did I do?
Not bad. I definitely feel like I relaxed a lot more this week than I did on our last cruise. Part of what helped, unquestionably, was Oliver’s rock star traveling ability this trip. Being on a 7 day trip also helped – I constantly found myself saying I had plenty of time to get to xyz thing on the schedule. I never got around to the yoga class because it always would have required rushing from one thing to another. I’m actually really proud of myself for never setting the alarm clock to wake up for the 7 am yoga class. I watched the yoga class on the beach, which counts, right?
I also learned how much work I still have to do with regards to letting go! There were several times when I went to get O out of the kids club and he didn’t want to leave, leaving me with pockets of time where I had no parenting responsibilities and no plans for entertaining myself. On a cruise ship, this should not be a problem! Anywhere in life this should not be a problem. I should be able to say “Yay! I’m going to sit in a chair and read a book or take a nap or whatever.” Instead, I was flustered every time and I confess, almost every time, my reaction was to go get a drink to remind myself to relax. This definitely contributed to my cruise weight gain!
What am I going to do with what I learned? Practice relaxing. Read more books. Actually use the big tub and bubble bath. When O is playing without me, take that as a moment for myself rather than a moment for laundry. As a concrete first step, I promise to take a bubble bath this weekend. 🙂
Do you have a hard time relaxing? Surely I’m not the only one with this issue right?