Learning to relax

These past two weekends have been great, and all about focusing on myself and what makes me happy. This semester has been stressful and hectic, and last weekend I made a vow to really take some time to myself.

I’ve been working on some tactics to unplug and allow my weekends to be recharging as opposed to two days of putting off stress, as they have often been this semester. Here are some of my strategies:

  1. Running: I’m getting back to running again this semester, and it’s been a rewarding experience. I started by choosing a race to train for, and it’s been really nice to know I’m working toward something beyond just running for fitness. My mom and I are going to run the Chesterfield Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning, and I’m really looking forward to this race! It’ll be a nice change of pace (no pun intended) to run a race on Thanksgiving morning. I’ve been running 3-4 times per week, resting two days and doing some strength work throughout. What’s been great about my running program is that my exercise has made me feel good for a few reasons: 1) It makes me feel good to know I’m active. 2) It gives me an energy boost whenever I run. 3) Running is “my time” that can’t be interrupted. It’s been a great training program for the past 4 weeks and I can’t wait for the race!
  2. Unplugging: Last weekend, I went home in search of some serious rest and relaxation. I vowed to turn off my email on my computer, and only check it once a day throughout the weekend. Little did I know turning off my email would lead to logging off of Facebook and Twitter, and really allowing myself to be present with my family and with myself. I spent the weekend reading blogs, reading books and spending time with my family. It was the perfect weekend, and exactly what I needed. Not only did I feel less stressed when I wasn’t attached to the online world, I also discovered that I didn’t miss anything important. This weekend, I again put away the computer, and even spent most of Friday night talking with Allen and reading. I’m not doing anything drastic here–just stepping away from my weekly obligations on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays whenever possible. This has really changed my outlook on the upcoming week. I feel more able to tackle what’s coming when I’ve spent some time on myself.
  3. Reading: I’ve always enjoyed reading. As a college student not taking any literature courses, I’m really in control of what I read and when I read it. As I’m spending more time “unplugging” on the weekends, I’m using that time to read! I’ve always loved to curl up with a good book and no time limit to how long I have to read it. Also, as I’ve been spending more time reading, I’m spending less time watching tv or mindlessly surfing the Web, and I’m finding I feel less stressed when I spend my leisure time doing something worthwhile.
  4. Cutting back on mindless entertainment: As I said above, I’ve been spending less time on mindless activities such as surfing the web, watching tv just because it’s on or doing both at the same time. I can easily waste hours doing this, and at the end I just don’t feel good. I want to be able to spend my time doing worthwhile things, even when I don’t have anything pressing to do. I’m working on having a good arsenal of leisure activities that make me feel recharged and like I’m using my free time in an effective way.

This is definitely a work in progress, but I think I’m making progress on my time-management skills, and using my free time to its fullest so I can feel ready to tackle tough and busy weeks ahead!

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