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cookieman's avatar

Are you able to truly relax and unwind?

Asked by cookieman (40871points) August 15th, 2022
24 responses
“Great Question” (8points)

I can take a day to myself, go for a walk, catch up on reading or TV, but I always end up doing laundry, cleaning house, running an errand or just running my never-ending to-do list or ever-present worries through my head on a loop.

All Summer I’ve said I was going to take some time to just do nothing. TODAY, I finally gave it a shot, and it’s taken me 8-hours to just start to unwind.

Why am I so bad at relaxing and doing nothing?

What is your experience with such things?

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JLeslie's avatar

Not in the last ten years. I can’t believe it’s been that long. It’s annoying.

Dutchess_III's avatar


SQUEEKY2's avatar

No, because when I do truly take a day and do nothing ,I start feeling guilty of how much needs to get done.
I feel more relaxed when I spread a few to do’s through out the day with lots of breaks between.

cookieman's avatar

@JLeslie: Exactly. Ten years sounds about right for me too.

@Dutchess_III: Oodles.

@SQUEEKY2: Same. That’s my usual technique. “I ‘relaxed’, but I also accomplished these three things.”

KNOWITALL's avatar

@cookieman Another of our similarities. Mine stems from my inner control freak. I usually only get relief from alcohol, sleep, exercise or travelling.
Meditation doesn’t work for me and neither did Xanax.

janbb's avatar

I am developing the ability. if I feel caught up on chores and phone calls etc., and have no schedule for the day, I can take the time to relax, read, do some gardening and just feel good. But I don’t have a spouse or a child at home which helps!

JLeslie's avatar

@cookieman I can compartmentalize and have a few hours of peace, but really being relaxed and feeling comfortable and settled all of the time (most days anyway) has been ten years.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Sometimes I can relax. Other times I get amped, and need a long shower.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Hot shower, classical video game music, and watermelon juice, under the AC helps.
Also sorting and adding books to my Amazon wish list. (about 650 books).

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Also I necro-post old Fluther questions, and sprinkle Lurve. Sometimes both. Fluthering helps too.

filmfann's avatar

Back when I was working, I would take 3 week vacations, because I would need the first two weeks to get to a point where I felt I was relaxed.

Jonsblond's avatar

Yes. My husband and I try to go tent camping every other weekend. While it’s a bit of work to set up it’s completely worth it. We hike, relax and play in the water.

I’m sorry to hear you are having troubles.

RayaHope's avatar

I am always doing something. If I try to sit and watch TV I get fidgety after a short time. I hate to stay still and that does make watching videos kinda tough. Sitting through a one-and-a-half-hour movie just about kills me, I get up and down so many times I almost forget what it is about. Even here on fluther I will get up and walk around or check my phone or something if I am here for too long.
At night sometimes there are so many thoughts running through my head that I can’t get to sleep or maybe even wake up only an hour or two after falling asleep. Luckily this doesn’t happen too often.
So in closing, I’m not sure what relaxation and unwinding are. The closest is maybe on the beach but even there I’m up and down beachcombing or something.

Nomore_Tantrums's avatar

At times yes. Just kicked back in the back yard watching two youngest grand kids playing. And with a cup of coffee of course.

cookieman's avatar

@KNOWITALL: Certainly some control freak traits here too.

@janbb: I completely get that need to feel caught up first.

@RedDeerGuy1: Watermelon juice sounds yummy.

@filmfann: That is genius. I’m just finishing ten weeks on only having to work part time (summer school break) and just today felt I could take a day to myself.

@Jonsblond: I’m so glad you guys make the time to do that. I think maybe the repetition is important.

@RayaHope: I was like that more when I was younger. Always on the move. I have learned to be a bit more still and sleep better (with the help of music or nature sounds in my ear). I still always feel like I should be doing something productive.

@Nomore_Tantrums: I’d love a grandchild or two someday, but I got a ways to go on that. Daughter is only 19.

smudges's avatar

It’s funny…when I give myself permission to leave the chores until tomorrow, I have trouble deciding what fun thing I want to do. There’s so many to choose from – including a nap or bingeing on a show I want to watch.

But to reeeeally relax? I don’t think I do that. Even my body is almost always going – wiggling my toes, scratching itches, picking my fingernails, just fidgeting in general.

HP's avatar

Ingrained habit. Good or bad, it’s tough to shake. I quit working (so I thought) with the advent of covid. And to this day I often wake up startled at the sunlight or clock. And the parade of tasks resumes through my head, the only difference being that the former tasks of earning a living rule my dreams. You can’t win. I thought retirement and isolation would guarantee a life of slovenly decadence, but the awful truth is that life is about maintenance, and it’s perpetual. I once was so silly as to believe it might all be remedied through a flock of servants and hired hands until considering the repurcussions to juggling personalities. It only took the single housekeeper who bullied the wife and I mercilessly to disabuse us of such delusions. She disciplined and regimented the 2 of us like nobody,‘s business for some 12 solid years, then retired and fled to Texas to gang up with her sister on that woman’s tortured husband—his reward for believing he could peacefully retire. Life is just one relentless cruel joke.

Blackberry's avatar

It’s hard to shake the shame capitalism has brainwashed us with.

I learned to relax after I left the Navy. I use to get off work and drink like a fish while playing videogames.

Now I can open the windows and sit on my sectional with my leg hanging over the edge of the top, legs spread apart and free in my underwear.

I watch TV for an hour or so and have a laugh. Make some spicy chicken and rice. Take my dog for a walk and breathe in air. Feel calmness and stillness.

You’re never gonna be a free animal in the universe after this. Might as well enjoy being free while it’s here.

YARNLADY's avatar

I rarely get wound up, so I don’t need to unwind. I am fairly relaxed most of the time, with a few minutes a day activity.

longgone's avatar

Aw, @cookieman. If your mind can’t ever rest, I think you need to prioritize practicing this for your mental health. That sounds like intense anxiety. I know you’ve talked about feeling burnt out in the past, and it’s no wonder if you can’t ever rest.

I used to be very similar. I’d always have my brain engaged. I’d read while walking, text while watching TV, fall asleep with a book so I didn’t have to deal with the few minutes of free thinking, pipe music into my ears almost non-stop. If, by chance, there was a moment of stillness, my brain would immediately run down lists of things to do or even just play a song or rhythm on repeat. Anything to avoid that awkward silence and the thoughts it might birth.

I eventually learned (and am still learning) to disengage from my mind a little bit. It’s like…if your family is arguing, you’ll want to step in, resolve the conflict or at least calm everyone down. It might be difficult to stay out of it. If you’re watching a show and people are fighting, on the other hand, you can just watch and let things happen. That’s how I feel about my mind now, increasingly. It’s like “Oh, I’m in planning mode. Freaking out a little. Hm.” or “Huh, that’s very negative self-talk.” I still think the thoughts, but I don’t automatically feel the emotions. Thoughts are just inventions of your mind. Very often, they have no basis in reality.

Try to practice this, seriously. Do just one thing. Single-task. Be mindful – right now. What five things can you see, hear, feel right now? Can you smell or taste anything?

If you want help, the app Headspace is great. It will ground you with very little effort. Also, good sleepcasts and general advice. There’s even some emergency advice for burnout, panic, and depression.

I used to think meditation is woo and a waste of time. Really, it’s just a rest for your brain. It feels like a good night’s sleep. While it’s a bit annoying to make it a habit, it really is worth it.

Forever_Free's avatar

Absolutely yes.
I have always found a way to disconnect. I have no idea how, but my brain is wired to be able to fully disconnect when I want.
Perhaps it is also tied to my ability to be and stay completely in the moment, completely present.
It serves me well.

SnipSnip's avatar

I sure can!

eyesoreu's avatar

Yes, of course.

KRD's avatar

If I’m tired enough.

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