The month of April and May is undeniably the summer season here in the Philippines. Hotels, beaches, inns, pension houses and airlines are fully booked. You can even notice the influx of tourists may it be local or from other countries in almost all tourists destinations. Beaches filled with people on their swim wear to cool off the summer heat and other basking under the heat of the sun. It is more fun indeed to rest and relax.
Other people find relaxing a waste of time. They always say that time is PRECIOUS, as if, every second you have to produce equivalent money in everything you do. There are times they equate loafing with lazy people who do not have anything to do or job to be done. This thought I think is dangerous to retain in our consciousness. And, this is what made Friedrich Nietzsche lament on what happening on old Europe that has become “ashamed of resting and prolonged reflection almost gives people a bad conscience.” Are we not becoming slave of our own work if we think of relaxing as a shame? Are we not so hard on ourselves?
As Randy David puts it, “Nietzsche lamented the fate of the modern slave trapped in the ferocity of daily work…The pursuit of work exhaust us so much . . . We lose the energy ‘esprit in conversation, and for any otium (leisure/joy) at all’.” Relaxing is not at all a waste of time. It is rather a time to re-generate, slow down, quite down and reload our emotional tanks and unloads the baggage’s that hinders us to be productive, effective and relational workers.
In one of the organizational retreat I attended, the speaker introduced 8 ways to relax which I want to share with you too. And these ways are very attainable even in a short span of rest.
- Unplug from technology. Daily we are bombarded with all of this gadgetry in our lives. Cellphones, phones, internet, television are technologies that add up to the distracted life that we have. I bet no one among us, right now, can leave his or her house without his phone. Or even control oneself of not touching our phone for an hour. We are frantic about what’s happening in the web, the latest news, fashion trends, celebrity updates, trending issues and topics on Facebook, twitter and instagram. To be able to resist from technological gadgets, it frees us from being enslave with these gadgetry, we then have the time to be present at the moment and be mindful of ourselves. Then, we can have the luxury of time to ask ourselves, “How am I?”
- Take a long, slow walk outside. This is not a difficult task to do. It is also beneficial to health. Is it not boring and stressful if we stay in our office 8 hours a day, seven days a week? How relieving it is to be able to see new environment, new faces of people and new scenery. Walking helps us unload our emotions and clear up our minds of so many stressful issues that we have to face. Of course, walking cannot give us a direct solution but it provides a venue or space for us to re-strategize and relax. Too much of intellectual intelligence can lead also to insanity. Just a tip, when you notice nothing is coming out of your mind, start walking and simply exhale and inhale and see the scenery around. It helps getting your mind sane.
- Take a long Drive somewhere you’ve never been before. You know why people travel away from their places they are leaving? Well, the answer is simple; it is because they wanted to widen their perspective in life at the same time to relax. Do you remember that saying, “Familiarity bridge contempt?” We might become close minded persons if we haven’t go out from our comfort zones. This could greatly affect our work performance and might have believed on standards that are already obsolete and needs updating. Do not think of driving a long way is tiring. Think that on that destination something spectacular will happen and could make difference in your life.
- Get a massage. This I think is very relaxing. It softens your tightened muscles which had become stiff due to overwork and stress in your job. Although, it involves a little amount of money. If you search in the internet the healing power of touch, several books had been written to prove the claim of healing through touch. May be, you haven’t been touch by a fellow human being lately? Touch from other person can remind you that you are a human person.
- Take a long nap. What is the difference between a long nap and a nap? Well, they are both naps but a long nap is enough to power you up. When you are constantly facing a computer monitor and your eyes are already hurting and your eyelids are dropping, you have to take a long nap. To relax your eyes and re-charge. Have you know that there are countries that have nap time schedule within their work hours? It makes them productive and effective which restore energy, renew focus and improve mood. Japan implements power naps and Spain has siesta. Japan times posted, “power naps have become an accepted policy which many Japanese companies…which employees used to steal at coffee shops, on trains or wherever they could, are no longer being viewed as a sign of laziness or incompetence, but as an essential means of maintaining attention and performance at work.”
- Go out in the yard with your favorite book. What? Wait…Is it not we are talking here of relaxation or loafing? Why read? Is it not thinking again and making yourself busy is occupied? Well, reading for some can be relaxing. It is their hobby and it releases the tensions that are within them when they read. Reading entertains them that are why they read their favorite book and that’s how they relax. To others, reading is not relaxing, that is why we cannot impose ways that that’s not work for you. Reading could help you become creative and imaginative which could help you in your work efficiency.
- Watch the sun go down. This is what we call being mindful in the present. By becoming mindful, we become conscious of ourselves or our condition at the moment. It provide a space to self-introspect and re-evaluate things that had happened in the past hours, days, weeks, month and years. It slaps us the reality that life is fleeting and we ain’t growing younger. So, it is up to us to choose what life we want to reach and this could drive our purpose and passion in our work habit.
- Eat dinner (and drink beer) with intimate friend. To all food lovers, this rule is the best of how to become a high-performing person. As our energy depletes due to our hard work, we again eat to regain the energy and nutrients needed to better our work performance. But please, drink moderately. Too much eating and too much drinking could also lead to health problems.
It’s summer time, a time to relax. Makes sure to find time for you to loaf. And, visit the Philippines for the beautiful and enchanting places you can discover. And remember, as what Thomas Merton said, “Silence helps to draw together the scattered and dissipated energies of a fragmented existence. It helps us to concentrate on a purpose that really corresponds not only to the deeper needs of our own being but also to God’s intentions for us.”