I hate relaxing. Perhaps it’s the Type A in me, perhaps it’s my anxiety, perhaps it is my excessive need to check things off of my to-do list. For as long as I can remember, I participate in what I call “productive relaxation.” This includes mowing my lawn, cleaning my house, clutter clearing, and (you guessed it) running.
For similar reasons, I hate yoga. As someone with too many social and work obligations, I get little time for myself/exercise each day. Spending that time on yoga does not intrigue me. I’ve tried several forms of yoga, wishing I liked it and could get the benefits so many rave about. But I don’t. I dislike it and feel unproductive during and after. In trying to remain authentic to myself, I stopped trying to force it. To me, it’s boring, slow, and tedious. I’d rather spend my hour of exercise on something that mentally and physically provides for me. Typically, that means running. But I also enjoy other forms of high intensity cardio and strength training.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy things like reading, watching a good movie, and spending time boating or at the beach. I suppose those are all things people call relaxing. However, I cannot bring myself to do any of those things if I feel like I have things I need to do. If my house needs to be cleaned, I’m not going to sit down to read a book. If I need to do any prep work for the coming week, I’m not going to start a movie. It’s like my brain won’t calm down until all of my daily to-do’s are done. I frequently feel like my mind is going 1000mph and will not calm down until I am able to mark things as complete (hello, OCD).
As mentioned above, I LOVE mowing my lawn. My lawn mower is loud and no one can talk to me while I’m using it. I get time to myself while getting exercise (I use a push mower) and doing a household chore. Similarly, I enjoy gardening. It is productive, outdoors, and calming. I don’t know how many other people out there experience a love for ‘productive relaxation,’ but I know I can’t be the only one. I’d love to hear from those of you who feel similarly, as well as those who don’t. Send me your thoughts and favorite productive relaxation activities!