This exercise won’t automatically fix whatever’s wrong (and for many of us, that’s easier said than done!), but it can keep you from reaching for your phone to avoid feeling your feelings, says d- r Zaker. Similar to the guilt tip above, once you identify what you’re struggling with, you may be able to work through it—whether with a mental health professional or on your own—so it doesn’t continue to interfere with your break.
3. Reframe how you view “me time.”
“When we come from a space of being, we are often better able to be the people we want to be than when we come from a place of ‘doing,’ because we are not in this anxiety.” I have to prove myself worthy place,” says Dr Gooden. “We perform better for others and ourselves when we are rested, nourished and have time to play versus when we are tired or exhausted. Investing in yourself helps you show up in the world the way you want to be.”
If you find it hard to relax because you think you’re letting others or yourself down, think about how you want to present yourself to the people in your life (including yourself). You may want to bring an even presence to parenting, be a less reactive partner, or feel less stressed at your job. Then think about what helps you relax (maybe it’s a midday walk in the park, a fake nap, or sitting on the couch alone for an hour doing a crossword puzzle) and try to make it a priority, asking for help if you need it. that. Realizing that downtime allows you to be your best self can help you reframe it as essential rather than selfish, unproductive, or [insert negative adjective here].
4. Consider adding some structure to your relaxation.
Do you find it difficult to sit completely still with an empty agenda? Some studies have shown that short periods of mindfulness meditation — 30 minutes or more — can increase creativity, suggesting that the brain thinks best when it’s calm and, in general, mindfulness exercises can facilitate relaxation. Even a 5- or 10-minute meditation session or a few yoga poses can help you enter a more relaxed state. Because these practices have some structure to them, they can gradually ease you into just being, according to Dr. Zucker (she likes the Insight Timer app for short, calming mindfulness sessions).
“A yoga pose or a guided mini-meditation can help you feel like you’re doing something while stilling your mind,” she says. Just remember: “Try not to judge whether or not you’re ‘good’ at these practices,” says Dr. Zucker. If critical thoughts arise, try repeating a mantra like: I’m working on just being in my space, or, This is the best I can do right now, and it’s good enough.
5. Do something, if you want! Just make it something you (key word!) really enjoy.
Rest doesn’t have to mean literally doing nothing, but it does mean getting pleasure from whatever you do (or don’t do). It sounds simple, but the next time you have some free time on your hands, Dr. Gooden recommends thinking about what you you want to do – not what you think will get you likes on social media or what your judgmental thoughts tell you you “should” do. Maybe it’s eating your favorite dessert, spending 15 minutes with your child, or reading a romance novel. Whatever you choose, do it carefully and enjoy the moment: smell the food. Give your child your full attention. Feel the weight of the book in your hand. Put the phone out of reach.
Focusing your free time on what feels good, rather than what you want others to see or what you think you should be doing, helps you let go of perfectionism and other pressures that ultimately lead to relaxation, Dr. Gooden explains. . “You enjoy things so much more when you’re out of your head and fully present,” she says. “The enjoyment you feel afterward will help reinforce the behavior.” The more you really let go, the easier it will be—yes, even for you.