47 ways to relax, something we all need to do from time to time

“Daddy, you’ve gotta give me a massage…”

That’s what my 4-year-old son said to me just a few hours ago.

Like he needs it. His body recuperates at lightning speed.

My wife and I are the ones who feel it after our Karate lesson on Saturday mornings.

My back paid the price last time and felt it all the next day.

I just have to face facts, I’m no longer young…and whether you’re 14 or 40, if you’re reading this sooner or later you’ll have to accept this fact, too.

What I’ve found is the older I get the more I appreciate taking it easy.

As a kid it’s all go go go…”slow down” doesn’t exist as part of their vocabulary.

But then one day it hits you – life.

You have things to do, people to see and bills to pay and pretty soon we’re devoting much of our time to things we have to do, rather than want to do.

But in doing so we deprive our mind and body of the relaxation they need to perform at optimum levels.

I’d rather someone worked 5 hours at 100%, than someone who worked 10 hours at 50%. The result may be the same but one way is effective, the other painful.

One day, you have time to spend with your family, catch up with friends, cook dinner and all the other things we should be doing more of. The other, mind-numbing and frustrating for everyone involved with no time to do much of anything.

As such, this post is devoted to R&R.

It’s the unspoken rule of success in any endeavor – taking the time to enjoy the spoils of victory.

I was reminded of this the other day listening to a friend talk about their work. It was sucking the fun out of them.

In response to this, I decided to sit down and write up my own list of how to kick back and recharge the old batteries.

  1. Take a bath
  2. Listen to music
  3. Take a nap
  4. Make fists with your toes
  5. Play a boardgame
  6. Have a glass of warm milk
  7. Close your eyes and clear your mind for 2 minutes
  8. Sit by the ocean
  9. Go stargazing
  10. Watch the clouds
  11. Light a candle (scented preferably)
  12. Rest your legs up on a wall
  13. Do some light stretches
  14. Fly a kite
  15. Write a letter
  16. Sit in nature
  17. Listen to a TED presentation
  18. Read a book
  19. Learn something new
  20. Have a lollipop
  21. Write in a journal
  22. Think
  23. Take a walk
  24. Build a model
  25. Go for a run
  26. Sing X-Mas carols
  27. Turn off all electronics
  28. Color with crayons
  29. Watch your favorite cartoon
  30. Take a drive
  31. Climb a tree
  32. Go to a park
  33. Take a bike ride
  34. Read poetry
  35. Go somewhere new
  36. Watch the world go by
  37. Make yourself a drink
  38. Read or watch something funny
  39. Visit a museum
  40. Stop and smell the flowers
  41. Go shopping (always works for my wife)
  42. Meander around town
  43. Drive somewhere new
  44. Get a massage
  45. Cook
  46. Take pics of people and places in your backyard
  47. Play with your pet

Sometimes all it takes is a few minutes to forget our troubles, other times it takes hours. The point is today we’re all so wired-in. And while being connected has its benefits, relaxation usually isn’t one of them despite what we might think.

The Internet may be our preferred avenue of escape these days but when it comes to freeing your mind from the troubles of the world there’s nothing better than just remembering the simple joys of life, the ones that exist all around us and yet so few of us take advantage of.

Earlier this year, I took a walk around the local park at night (hey, it’s Japan). It was cold but very peaceful and within a short time I began to feel at ease with all that was going on in my life.

At home I’m a father, a husband, a housekeeper, a businessman, a student and a coach and from time to time, even someone as motivated as myself needs just a few uninterrupted minutes to his thoughts.

That’s my choice. What’s yours?

Adrian Shepherd

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