I am so rarely ever relaxed that I giggled a little when I saw this prompt. It’s just part of the territory with small kids (or at least our kids), to have to constantly be on alert for the next fall, the next daredevil leap off the countertops, the next fight, the next bottle of food dumped all at once into a fish tank, the next plunge into the delights of the garbage can. When I am with them, there is ALWAYS a part of my mind scanning the environment for threats to them and threats coming from them.
Work, obviously, is not relaxing.
Going out with my friends, surprisingly (or maybe not), is not terribly relaxing. I’m an introvert through and through and I have to FOCUS on making sure that I’m paying attention to the thread of the conversation and responding appropriately. I can’t just check out and take a breather for a minute – I have to be there and present and on performance. The caveat is if I’m out with a single friend, I find it much easier to be social — too many people at once, and my brain short-circuits trying to keep up with everyone.
So when AM I relaxed? Right after a run, when my body is so worn out that my inner voices just shut down and let me rest for a while. First thing in the morning, when I get up all alone, and it’s just me and the coffee pot and the dog chowing down her breakfast. At my parents’ house, where there are acres of unpopulated forests waiting to welcome me into the solitude and sheer beauty of the property. After a big party when all the guests have gone home happy and full of food and the kids are worn out and asleep and it’s me and the stillness permeating the house after all that movement and noise.
The common thread is me being alone. I simply can’t relax when anyone else is around and I have to wear my socially-conscious mask to deal with them. Good food helps, and a stout beer, a good book or movie to sink into silence for two hours. But the key really is having time by myself to rest and recharge. Then I can relax.