Why Is It So Hard To Relax?

simple ways to relax


Find it hard to relax? Are you stress out or maybe you feel anxious about taking a day off only for yourself? Well, if you feel this way you’re definitely not alone. Believe it or not, but dedicate time to relax can be extremely challenging. The main reason for this, in my personal opinion, is definitely the type of culture we live in, where if you are not working you’re not productive and if you’re not productive you’re just lazy. Let’s face it, for people who work really hard to achieve their goals, being called “lazy” is the worst insult they can hear. Somewhere along the line we just forget that in order to be effective, motivated and productive we need to rest, reset our brain and recharge our batteries. We’re humans, not robots. And I’m so sorry but a living creature cannot function as some kind of perpetual-motion machine even if that is what is expected of us especially in the workplace.

Set Realistic and Attainable Goals

Just think about it, how many times you had to work beyond human limits because it’s always possible to do more. You can always be more productive, work more effectively, achieve greater results it only depends on your focus and dedication to your work… Don’t get me wrong, I agree that we should always focus on self-improvement, personal and professional growth because it’s the main purpose of human existence but at the same time we cannot forget that goals we’ve set should be realistic and reasonable. It’s highly important to set goals that you can actually achieve otherwise you can end up extremely unmotivated, discouraged or even depressed. When it happens it’s ahh… a vicious circle from which it is very difficult to escape. We have all been there…at least one. This constant competition not only in the workplace but also in our personal life definitely does not benefits nor ourselves neither society as a whole. I know, that’s a bit of an oversimplification, but I hope you get the idea.

Most of us get our first job at a very young age what does pretty much means joining the rat race. And this is when the constant competition who gets what begins… In many cases at the workplace we are expected to do the impossible and of course not complaining about this because you know how it works… If you cannot do the stuff you’re assigned to there will immediately come someone who will be able to do this instead of you, at least they tell you this… You can call it mobbing, because that’s exactly what it is but for most of the people is their reality, everyday workplace struggle… We accept these working conditions because in many cases we are convinced that it’s how being an adult should look like. And after a couple of years of participating in this rat race we are completely burned out. This is the exact moment when you ask yourself this question: Why I am even trying so hard? What’s the point if I don’t feel happy, satisfied, fulfilled or proud of myself?” Well, it has no sense at all.

We work faster and harder than humanly possible and then when it finally comes to the holidays we are so anxious and stress out that we are unable to relax and turn our brain off. I don’t know about you but for me, it was a huge problem for most of my adult life. Taking time to relax and enjoy myself made me feel guilty. It seems so silly right now but I didn’t see the difference between relaxing, procrastinating and killing time. It was the same thing to me. I know that a lot of people think this way. Somewhere in this constant pursuit of success which definition is very one dimensional in today’s world we forgot about ourselves, our mental and physical wellbeing. You may deny it, but the generally accepted definition of professional and personal success is determined by the amount of money someone has on their bank account… It’s kinda sad, don’t you think?

Pursuit of Happiness

Somewhere in this constant pursuit of so-called happiness we completely lose the ability to just stop for a second, take a deep breath and relax for a second. To busy with chasing someone else’s dreams we gradually lose the ability to rest. Then, we realize it’s become too late because we are already on a slippery slope…

How can we avoid this vicious circle? Well, first of all, we have to realize that if we find ourselves thinking that we are to busy to actually take care of ourselves there is something is wrong here. We need to dedicate at least one hour a day for ourselves and I mean exclusively for ourselves. Feel guilty for taking some time for yourself? Fit relaxation into your busy schedule! I’m serious. Don’t look for excuses. If your ego speaks too loud just tell it to shut up. You’re in charge of your life. If you feel tired, anxious, stress out it definitely means that you need to relax. Don’t wait until you will notice physical symptoms of chronic stress and anxiety. Because then, it will be difficult to reverse this process. Get your butt and implement relaxation into your daily routine. I know it can be really hard especially for workaholics and perfectionists BUT it’s possible and necessary to keep our sanity.

Indulge in the Italian Ideal: Il Dolce Far Niente

Remember that relaxation doesn’t have to be a waste of time. Learn about many, different ways to relax and use your free time wisely. Who says that you cannot be productive, motivated or effective during a day off? We can always learn new things, practice and develop our skills even or especially during our holidays. Some may say that the holidays it’s the best time for personal and professional development. How is that possible? Quite easily. Learning new things and feeding your passion benefit not only your personal but also professional life. Like for example learning a new language, discovering new cultures, developing new skills can help you to get a better job (if it’s that what you’re looking for of course).    

In Italy, where I live there is this whole concept of “dolce far niente” which can be described as the art of relaxation. It’s the idea of living in the moment and actually enjoying it. All that matters is the sweetness of an authentic experience of living in the present moment.

The art of relaxation; Italian dolce far niente

Italian “dolce far niente” is a celebration of seemingly minor events like sitting in restaurant or bar and enjoying a creamy cappuccino, delicious spaghetti alle vongole, sweet and tasty gelato or glass of Italian prosecco… Is the celebration of life, expressing gratitude for the beauty of the present moment… it’s a mindful relaxation… in the presence of a beautiful and breathtaking landscape

“Dolce far niente” does not apply only for holidays but for every brief respite you have during a busy day. It’s a particular mindset, a way of living, a way of enjoying life in the most authentic and honest way possible. It’s experiencing the present moment through all senses. Next time when you will order an espresso in tiny porcelain cup give yourself some time for actually enjoying it, its flavor, delicious and strong taste, its warmth and this incredible feeling you get shortly after drinking your caffè, very serious coffee culture… the authentic one…

Today is my day off… and I decided to take a one day trip in Liguria… and spend this lovely, warm summer day by the shore… My plan for today is quite simple: relax, swim, sunbathe, eat some delicious spaghetti alle vongole, drink latte macchiato (before dinner of course), enjoy some tasty gelato (definitely my guilty pleasure) and be able to experience the sweetness of dolce far niente

Stay positive

Be Mindful

And Relax

xo Kate

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4 thoughts on “Why Is It So Hard To Relax?

  1. Your day to relax and make the most of simple pleasures sounds perfect – enjoy! You’re so right in this post, from joining the rat race to being too “busy with chasing someone else’s dreams we gradually lose the ability to rest”. I think for many of us we do lose this ability and when we try to relax or practice self-care we wind up feeling guilty about it. xx

    1. Hi Carol! You are so right, even practicing self-care makes me guilty sometimes… We should definitely put ourselves first and take care of our physical and mental health. Honestly, when I heard about this whole concept of Mindfulness for the first time, I couldn’t understand why people even practicing it. It seemed so strange to me. I was living in the past, constantly analyzing the same past events that I wasn’t living my life at all. I wasn’t practicing self-care, I didn’t know how to relax and definitely, I wasn’t appreciating this incredible opportunity to actually have another, brand new day to live my life. I really thought that suffering from depression and anxiety was my destiny or worse some kind of predestination. I was unable to rest because for me taking some time to myself, relax on a sandy beach or eating a delicious gelato and actually enjoying it was just a wasting time… How silly is that? Now, I’m still trying to find out what this concept of “living in the present moment” really means to me but I can tell by now that the real change begins with the mindset we chose to adopt. If you don’t believe in something you won’t achieve it. If you tell yourself that you cannot do something you definitely won’t do this. And in order to remember all of it, I have these Post-it notes with positive affirmations everywhere at my house… 😁 I wish you the best day! Take care!! xx

    1. Oh my gosh, I can totally relate to this! I can imagine this right away… I would be sitting in one of those cafes in a little town somewhere on the Italian coast (most probably somewhere in the Cinque Terre), drinking cappuccino and eating stracciatella gelato all day long… That would be paradise… Take care! Have a great day!

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About Me

Hey, I’m Kate. I create content about a holistic approach to a meaningful life. On this platform, you will find resources on reaching YOUR goalstime management,  personal growth, & living your best life. 

(particularly for procrastinators, self-doubters, and dreamers!)

If I am not here it’s because I’m enjoying my creamy cappuccino in one of my favorite coffee shops… 😎

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