by NATALIA JASTRZAB
It all started when I came down with the Death Cold From Hell. I took myself off to the doctor, hoping for some kind of magical medicine that would cure me of my sickness and allow me to get on with work and my uni assignments. Little did I know, there was going to be no such thing.
“Just try to relax,” my doctor said. “You know – take your mind off things. Come back in a week if there’s no improvement.”
The word “relax” has never been part of my vocabulary. I’m not sure at what point I became the sort of person that doesn’t know what it means to sleep more than six hours a night, but it just happened. Amongst my friends, I’m known as the “frantic” or “scattered” one. In any one day, I’ll work nine hours and go to class for another four hours and then maybe settle down to a nice dinner at 11pm. And I like it that way.
Needless to say, when I eventually get a moment of spare time, I just don’t know what to do with myself. I’ll find myself staring into space frantically trying to remember something urgent I absolutely have to get done. I’m not all that comfortable unless I’m juggling at least three electronic devices in my hands and seven different tasks in my mind.
But my doctor said to relax. And if I was ever going to get rid of my death cold, that was what I was going to do, even if it (ironically) killed me.
So I schlepped myself off to yoga at the local gym. That’s supposed to be relaxing, right? WRONG. In my enthusiasm, I’d accidentally booked myself into a Bikram class. Instead of relaxing, I spent an hour sweating profusely and wondering if I was going to die. Happily, I was fine, although that’s possibly because I then spent the rest of the afternoon drinking copious amounts of water.
Meditation was next up, and the words “epic fail” are probably the most relevant to use in regards to my experience. In hindsight, I’m not sure why I thought sitting still in a room doing absolutely nothing for an extended period of time was ever going to be a success, considering I can’t even sit through a movie without dozing off. I should have been emptying my mind, but I was too busy missing my bed and thinking those wild thoughts that pop into your head when you’re on the verge of dozing off. Never. Again.
I tried to read, but got distracted by more interesting things happening on Twitter. I tried baking but destroyed several pans and nearly set myself on fire trying to make caramel (it’s going down in history as maybe the most stressful experience of my life, actually).
In the end, I gave up on anything fancy. I just pulled my running shoes on, grabbed my iPod and took a long walk to the beach and back. I even left my phone at home so that it was just me, my music, the pavement and the sunshine – and I loved every bit of it. It was the perfect balance of doing a lot less than I’m used to but still doing something. It was even – dare I say it – kind of relaxing.
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How do you relax?