Newsflash: Life is stressful.
While you’re all reeling from that stop the presses bulletin, I’ll add that sometimes we make relaxation stressful.
Over the holiday season I saw a number of well intentioned posts on social media, urging me to take time for self-care, to cut people who cause stress out of my life, and be aware of the larger world. Depending on my mood when I read those posts, my reaction varied between nodding at the wisdom of the words, shaking my head at their cluelessness, and wanting to shout swears and hurl my device across the room.
Because on a busy day self-care is yet another thing that I have to “make time for.” Because the people who cause me stress are also the people who I love, who I care about, who support me. Because my awareness of the larger world is often what’s got me stressed out to begin with.
My point is that life is complicated. Getting overwhelmed is complicated. Decompressing is complicated. Often it can’t be reduced to the space of a tweet.
Lately, I’ve been stressed, and struggling to relax. My ways of relaxing vary but they often involve losing myself: in a TV show, in a book, in whatever I’m doing. Working out sometimes helps. Yoga can be helpful. But I often struggle between my urge to lose myself and forget about what’s stressing my out, and my need to feel productive. While a Netflix binge might take my mind off my stress, it’s limited in terms of what it accomplishes long term. I’m very aware of that, and it can make it that much harder to lose myself, which in turn makes me more stressed.
I don’t have any great words of wisdom for this blog. I wish I did. I just wanted to say that we should try not to let well intentioned advice stress us out more than we already are. But I am curious as to how my readers relax. What helps you take the pressure off?