We’ve all been there. You finally get the house to yourself, five minutes of quiet, and suddenly, without reason nor justification, you’re consumed by relaxation anxiety.
“Should I be doing something more productive?”
“Have I earned this five minutes to myself?”
“I shouldn’t have slept in, I have so much to do!”
Sleep guilt and anxiety over spending a few moments with yourself is a very real problem in this day and age.
So, what is it, and why is it important for us to let it go?
It’s a Very Modern Problem
In today’s world, we’re not just expected to do it all, we’re expected to do it all perfectly.
There’s no doubt that our ancestors were also busy bees, but there’s one major factor that’s putting pressure on modern men and women: social media.
Social media makes it easy for people to frame the narrative of perfection.
Flawless bodies, the latest labels and children that appear to be direct descendants from Jesus himself.
Being exposed to this day in, day out can easily have a negative impact on your psyche, and that’s where much of the relaxation anxiety stems from; you just never quite feel good enough.
Why is it Such a Big Issue?
No matter how much we wish it were true, we simply need time to unwind.
The problem is, I, or any other self-help guide can tell you this until we’re blue in the face, but if you’re constantly looking for a way to silence that self-doubt, then nothing will change at all.
As it stands, we as a society have a fundamental flaw when it comes to taking time out.
We’re constantly reminded of our shortcomings, whether it’s via social media, our partners or even our insecurities, whatever the channel, it’s detrimental to our mental wellbeing.
While burnout is obviously an issue, there is another aspect of relaxation anxiety that could prove even more precarious.
How often did you copy your parents growing up?
If they observe you constantly rushing around, possibly losing your patience, and displaying extreme amounts of exhaustion on your face, they will grow up believing that regardless of the side effects, they simply can’t stop.
I don’t mean to fear monger here, obviously there are different extremes of relaxation anxiety, and pockets of stress won’t scare your children for life.
However, long-term stress will have a domino effect on the rest of your life, and that’s the focal point of this article; you need to slow down. There is absolutely no shame in deciding to take time out for yourself.
How Can You Stop Relaxation Anxiety?
Unfortunately, there’s no one size fits all solution or magic pill that will alleviate your issues.
In saying this, I wouldn’t be much of a sleep expert if I didn’t have a few relaxation tips up my sleeve. So, here are my top tips for how to put yourself first without feeling guilty.
Take a Break From Social Media
Social media may be an easy past-time to indulge in on occasion, but limiting your exposure to it will allow you to begin the process of relieving that relaxation anxiety.
If you can bear it, leave your phone in another room so you’re not tempted to scroll as you take some time out.
I do understand that social media is a bit of fun escapism so, if you really love it, why not focus on following those with a positive message?
Get rid of accounts that post a near constant stream of gym selfies, flawless contours and seemingly impeccable families, and instead focus on influencers who encourage positivity and mindfulness.
Schedule a Break Into Your Diary
Popping it into your calendar rather than simply collapsing from exhaustion is a much better way to handle your ‘me time’.
If you write it in, you can then plan around it.
Get your errands done beforehand, and anything that’s not urgent can wait until afterwards.
Once your designated time arrives, you can kick back knowing you’re in good head-space.
Write a Gratitude List
This was a difficult one for me as I rarely buy into this type of self-help, but once I got started, I quickly realised how positive it was.
Take a minute or two out of your ‘me time’ to scribble down a few people or things that you’re grateful for and why.
It will help to bring your focus back to what you actually care about, and suddenly all of that other stuff won’t seem so life defining anymore.
Have an Early Night
If you’re at an odds over how to reduce stress and sleep better, then you’ll be surprised at how effective a simple early night is.
Curl up in bed and allow yourself to drift off at your own pace.
Once your mind is well rested, those issues that dominated your day will suddenly feel that much more manageable, and you’ll feel the positive effect of some time for yourself first-hand.
Still Struggling to Sleep?
Sleep is key to relaxation, and without it, you won’t be able to function, never mind unwind.
If you’re tossing and turning at night, consider that it may not be you that has the problem. How long ago did you change your mattress? Is it providing the support you need to get high quality rest?
Since you’re here, why not take a quick look at how we can help you, and maybe we can solve relaxation anxiety one good night’s sleep at a time.