In the words of Frankie (Goes to Hollywood) – RELAX!
Just writing that title transports me back to the mid-1980s when the song ‘Relax’ was topping the charts (check it out on YouTube https://youtu.be/Yem_iEHiyJ0 if you’re too young to remember – it’s well worth it!) I was embracing a full 80s vibe with my backcombed hair (this involved tongs, gel, backcombing and hairspray!), a fluorescent pink Miss Selfridge flying / boiler suit with a pink headband, white belt and white heels – this was the look I liked to rock at the time and take out clubbing with me, or on holiday, although the boiler suit was a tad hot for summers abroad so I would switch that up for a pink mini skirt!
So, why am I talking about ‘Relax’? Because Monday 15th August 2022 was National Relaxation Day.
Tell me, what does relaxing look like to you?
I posed this question on my LinkedIn page and had a range of answers, from ‘I’ve never tried it!’ to ‘Exercise and being outdoors always makes me happy, Sarah, it has such a positive impact on our wellbeing, both physically and mentally’ to others who play golf or go for a run to relax.
For me, relaxing covers a wide range of ‘activities’, (I am using the phrase loosely here); the fact that find a variety of things that I enjoy when I relax may not come as much of a surprise if you a regular reader of my posts!
The list includes the following:
Yes, really. I just love being outdoors in nature, breathing in the fresh air, witnessing first-hand the beauty of this amazing planet will live on, appreciating and feeling grateful that it is on my doorstep; I love the feeling of wellbeing when my run is done, but also taking the opportunity to stop and take photos whilst drinking in the incredible views, which can be anything from a tree silhouetted on the horizon to a freshly harvested field, or the shoots of new growth in the springtime. Everywhere you look, there is beauty. This relaxes me and makes me feel great. It breathes wellness into my very soul. And then there is the space and time to process thoughts that comes with running – I can get clear on stuff and create plans etc.
In fact, as a side note, I was speaking to a friend who I hadn’t spoken to in a very long time via Zoom last week and she share this brilliant quote:
“Allow space to be space – the creative void.”
Love it – it is so true. Just take time out and let those thoughts run through your mind. Which brings me neatly to another way I like to relax, although I might just combine a couple here…
Yoga and Meditation
I love being in a real-life yoga class with a great teacher who provides such clear instructions that you can follow them with your eyes closed. I love receiving information telling me what to do that will help my body with its flexibility and wellbeing. During the pandemic, when classes went online and I started experiencing issues with the speaker on my laptop, my yoga practice fell somewhat by the wayside, but I am back on it again, and it’s a wonderful way for me to relax!
I love savasana, corpse pose, which is a pose of total relaxation—making it one of the most challenging yoga asanas.
I love the stillness, even though I struggle physically to lay flat on the floor due to the curvature of my lower spine and my natural J Lo-esque bum! It’s a time to ‘just be’; it NEVER lasts long enough in my humble opinion in any class.
I also love Yoga Nidra for its relaxation powers.
You can read more about it here:
“Yoga Nidra is a form of guided meditation also known as “yogic sleep” or “effortless relaxation”. It’s usually practiced lying down with a teacher guiding the session. The practice draws our attention inwards, and we learn to surf between the states of wakefulness and sleep, where our body finds its natural state of equilibrium (homeostasis) – the breath balances and becomes quiet, unconscious and conscious aspects of the mind reveal themselves, and we fall into an innate state of deep, blissful awareness.
As we rest here, we can turn our attention easily and effortlessly to the very nature of awareness and consciousness. We start to experience the ‘deeper’ features of yogic teachings that previously we perhaps considered intangible, such as feeling our interconnected wholeness and becoming aware of our true, unified nature – expansive, inclusive, and deeply restful.
Yoga Nidra takes us effortlessly into a state of harmonious, restful being. From here, we can be healed, restored and awakened to our deepest, all-knowing, all-welcoming self. It’s a sublime practice, gaining popularity the world over, and ongoing research continues to prove its effectiveness.”
I personally love it and it’s best done right before bedtime.
I love getting my nose into a good book. If it clicks, I devour it! I have read thousands of books over the years. And I mean real books too. I spend too much time on digital devices to want to read books that way. I love turning the pages, using a bookmark, and really feeling the book as I read. I am currently reading BEQOMING by Azrya & Benjamin Bequer. It was recommended to me by Amy, the friend who passed on the fab quote that I have already mentioned.
It’s an incredibly insightful book for so many reasons; for me, it’s like seeing my life and understanding of the world encapsulated into a brilliantly written book. There are elements that I haven’t experienced, but on the whole (and I am now halfway through), what they talk about, share, and discuss is all stuff I have experienced and understand. In some respects, I don’t need to read the book because I know all that they are talking about. However, it is a great source of reflection, they are mirroring back to me and underpinning and acknowledging all that I have learned, which is why I am able to live my life in a 95-99% happy state.
It’s about acceptance, letting go of attachments to outcomes, really getting to know yourself. This was a massive part of a talk I delivered last week to young creatives in Nottingham in relation to their future careers. In fact, I received a rather wonderful email from one of the attendees:
“Thank you so much for giving the talk at the Power Up Your Creative Potential event this Thursday in Notts, it was inspiring to say the least! I honestly loved your energy the most, I got tempted to pick up your book, so I just did. … Thank you so much, it was a real pleasure listening to your talk, Sarah!”
For a ‘quick fix’ relax, I take myself away from the office and just sit somewhere different, occasionally in the lounge, or on days when I’m knackered, I will lie on the bed. This is one of the upsides of working from home!
I also love being by the sea or any area of water. I am a big fan of open water swimming. I also love cycling. And I love prepping and cooking food in the kitchen with the radio on. Oh, not to forget watching a film or some stuff on Netflix.
I did say I loved variety!
Most of all, it’s being in nature that brings me the greatest sense of relaxation. Give me an empty beach, sitting on the sand, looking out to sea, or being in the sea – every time. I do not need busy, crowded spaces, ever!
- I love sharing my wisdom
- I am grateful for the life that I have created for myself, as it enables me to work it in a way I want it to be
- I love nature and relaxing – it serves as a great balance to the busy life that I also love
- I must get back to yoga and cycling
- I am enjoying reading Beqoming and am re-inspired to head to South America
- Reading stuff that reflects to you what you already know adds value to all that you are able to deliver personally, as it acknowledges your knowledge – if that makes sense!
- I loved and appreciated the lovely email from the attendee at my talk
- I love delivering talks – I am putting it out there to invite more speaking gigs in.
How do you relax?
Please let me know – I’d love to hear from you.
Lots of love