The Five Rules of Relaxation

April 19, 2017


Rachel was taking a mini break during her long day of seeing patients at the doctor’s office. It was Wednesday. The week was halfway over, but it really didn’t make a difference to her. Between soccer games, birthday parties and catching up on her patient documentation, she hadn’t really experienced some much-needed relaxation in a while. With some trepidation she looked at her calendar to see what the upcoming weekend had in store.


There was nothing on the calendar.

How could that be, and why didn’t she check sooner? It’s time to relax! She thought for sure she could get in some “me time” for at least a few hours. Well, there were a few things around the house she had intended to do. And she really needed to visit that friend she hadn’t seen in a while. Pretty soon thoughts of all the things she could be doing instead of relaxing began to flood her brain. It became clear in Rachel’s mind that “me time” would probably have to wait… again.

All too often, our intended “me time” gets crowded out with other more important tasks. Except, relaxation is important, and physicians especially don’t give themselves enough. It’s time to prioritize leisure, and once you make the decision to do that, you need a plan.

1. Decide what you want to achieve.

Do you want to release some endorphins by doing something active, experience something new, spend time with friends or do you want to just veg-out and catch a few hours of a movie? The end result should be you feeling refreshed. For example, if you’re an introvert, you may pass on a night with friends.

2. Plan it. If you require tickets, buy them.

If you need transportation, book it. If you need equipment, get on the internet and have it shipped to your house. Pick a time and day and who you want (or don’t want) to participate. Put it on the calendar. If you don’t schedule time for you, it may never happen, so treat R&R as an appointment with yourself.

3. Let everyone know your relaxation plan.

Let’s say your idea of relaxing is watching three straight hours of Court TV (no judgment!). If you don’t communicate your intention to do so, you will likely hear “honey, could you just…” Suddenly one favor turns into a list, and you’re not relaxing anymore. Fifteen minutes before your “me time” begins, remind your family. This is especially important if you expect them to do something with you.

4. Put technology away.

Unless your relaxation time includes Netflix or video games, take tech out of the equation. Leave your phone at home, and don’t worry about the pictures. Sometimes people are so busy taking pictures and posting them to social media that they forget to enjoy themselves!

5. Stay in the moment.

With your phone out of the picture, so are your email notifications. Don’t let the worries of tomorrow distract from the delights of today.

So, now that you know you need some R&R (and you deserve it!), tell us what you plan to do in the comments.