2013-07-18 / Community

Just for the "Well of it"

Stop and smell the roses

Relaxation has been defined in the following ways: refreshment of mind or body – a reduction in strictness or severity – recreation or leisure, abatement or relief from work or effort – an activity or recreation that provides relief, diversion, or entertainment – an absence of tension or worry – a state of peace and quiet.

Life is busy as we all know. Work, family, school, and our other commitments leave us with precious little time to sit back and relax or enjoy our favorite leisure activities.

Not getting enough “R and R” can have devastating effects on our health by interfering with our immune systems, increasing stress, causing memory problems, increasing blood pressure, causing weight gain, heart problems, and many other chronic conditions.

Do you feel guilty, bad or lazy when you relax, instead of working? Do you feel as though you must complete your entire to-do list before you are “entitled” to relax? Do you associate relaxation with laziness or being a couch potato? Are you waiting for retirement to do your relaxing? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions read on for some thoughts that will hopefully help you change your mind.

For each phase of work or productivity, we all need a phase of relaxation that helps us recharge our batteries and generate new energy for our next work phase. Many people assume that sitting or lying around watching TV is relaxing, and of course, it can be, but there are many other ways to relax.

A hobby or project that you enjoy can have major relaxation benefits.

For example, I love to make quilts. I enjoy the entire process, from the fabric and pattern selection, pressing, measuring, cutting out all those tiny pieces, sewing and finally quilting it all together. Each one of these activities brings me closer to the end result which (most of the time) gives me great satisfaction and pride in my ability.

However, for a person who doesn’t like or know how to sew, making an entire quilt would seem like a horrendous task. That particular person may enjoy gardening and working with dirt, plants, shrubs, and flowers.

Find something you enjoy, or maybe you already know what you’d like to do, and start making some time for it each day or week. It will give you something fun to plan for and look forward to.

It could be anything from reading, watching or participating in sports, learning something new, running, cooking, woodworking, wine-making (or tasting) or just sitting quietly and listening to the world around you or your favorite tunes.

It’s up to you to make time for the important activities of relaxation, recreation and leisure. Use your time wisely, don’t wait until all of your work is done, and definitely don’t wait until retirement to start relaxing, it’s too important to your health and wellness.

My point is, do what you love and love what you do (and this applies to your occupation as well, but that’s another column). Enjoy!

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You can reach Cathy Kaltz, Certified Worksite Wellness Specialist, at (906) 286-0985.

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