Why You Should Think of Relaxation As a Skill, Not a Reward

Everyone approaches relaxation in their own way: some believe that having – and spending – time on vacation is their right and something that they consider a priority. Others see it as something to be earned and take only after a certain amount of work or certain tasks have been completed (and not before). But what most approaches overlook is that relaxation is actually a skill .

And, like other skills, it needs to be learned and practiced on a regular basis. Here’s what you need to know about rethinking how you think about relaxation.

How to Treat Relaxation as a Skill

At a time when productivity—both at work and at home—is so highly valued, it’s easy to jump to the assumption that any time spent without work is considered “relaxation,” and relaxation is laziness or indulgence. (Is not.)

Meanwhile, there is constant talk about burnout and how to avoid it. But that doesn’t mean that people who have been trained to always be busy can magically start to relax and recharge in the blink of an eye.

In a recent article , New York Times columnist Farhad Manju stated that literal relaxation—that is, deliberate and physical relaxation of the muscles—is actually a skill that needs to be learned and practiced. But much of his understanding applies to the broader concept of relaxation as well.

“I began to think of relaxation as a skill,” he writes . “The more I relax, the better I become aware of which parts of my body are prone to tension, what that tension looks like, and how to relieve that tension with a quick movement of thought.”

How to Learn and Practice the Skill of Relaxation

Whether you want to learn the Manju muscle relaxation exercise or want to train your brain to get out of work mode, here are a few ways to learn and practice relaxation:

Finally, this Southern Charleston resource offers additional ways to practice not only relaxing, but getting your body and mind into a state that encourages you to do so.

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