Relaxed time is time that’s free from demand or expectation. It’s time when you don’t have to do, fix, or produce something. It’s time you can truly and unhurriedly be present.
I believe we need regular relaxed time and that a lack of relaxed time can contribute to increased stress, missed opportunities, and mounting health issues.
Last week, my wife was out of town. I tend to like my time alone and had plenty of things to do while she was gone. But for some reason, I called my two daughters to see if they wanted to do lunch.
My daughters, their babies, and one of my sons-in-law met me downtown at a great hamburger joint. It was a beautiful spring day so we had lunch outside at a sidewalk table. We talked. We laughed. We took pictures. We enjoyed the kids. We enjoyed the sunshine.
Then, as we were leaving, one of my daughters said, “We should do this more often.”
That simple statement hit me like a hand to the forehead. I thought to myself, “Yeah! We should do this more often! We all live fairly close by. Why don’t we?”
Often, we don’t have more relaxed time because…
- We want to have all we can, so we fill up our time to the point that there’s no margin or space to have relaxed time.
- We’ve been taught that if you’re not busy, you’re not being productive…or you’re being lazy.
- We’ve come to believe that if we’re going to be successful, we must push and use every minute.
- We think that multi-tasking is a coveted badge of honor.
But relaxed time doesn’t mean you’re lazy or unproductive. In fact, getting regular relaxed time can make you more productive, because it gives your body and brain a chance to rest, reset, and refuel.
Relaxed time looks different for different people. Relaxed time could be…
- Standing knee deep in a stream with a fly rod.
- A quiet afternoon with a book.
- An hour with your favorite cup of coffee and the paper.
- Mountain biking.
- Watching a movie.
- Dinner and conversation.
- A walk in the woods.
- A day on the beach, or on a boat.
- A long afternoon nap.
- Strolling through an antique shop.
- Watching the game.
Your relaxed time can be by yourself or with someone else, but the key is there are no demands, no expectations, and no pressure to do or fix or produce.
If you’re going to have regular relaxed time, you must…
- See that relaxed time is not a luxury. It’s a necessity. Without regular relaxed time you hurt your health, your relationships, your productivity, and your legacy.
- Stop cramming something into every spare moment. You don’t have to have everything you want. You don’t have to do everything that everyone wants you to do. Having less and doing less doesn’t make you poorer. It actually can make you richer.
- Start planning space for relaxed time. You plan everything else that’s important to you: vacations, doctors appointments, meetings, bills, etc. If relaxed time is important to you, you’ll plan for it and calendar things around it.
- Seize relaxed time. Relaxed time is not going to seize you. You must seize it. It won’t come naturally and it won’t come easily…at least not until you’ve been practicing it for a while. Don’t wait for relaxed time to come to you. Go out and seize it.
Each time you experience quality relaxed time, you’ll be glad you did and you’ll be surprised by the positive impact it has on you.
Two days after my lunch date with family, my daughter and her family met me at church. At the end of service, my granddaughter wanted to go somewhere for lunch, but my daughter was tired and ready to go home. I had plans for the afternoon, but I remembered the lunch experience from Friday. So I suggested that my granddaughter and I go out to lunch by ourselves. Sort of a grandfather & granddaughter lunch date.
It was wonderful. We had chips and cheese dip for lunch. We laughed and talked about all kinds of things…even some serious things. After a leisurely lunch, I took her home and told her how much I enjoyed our chips and cheese dip date. She looked at me quizzically and said, “I didn’t think you would like it.” When I asked why, she said she just figured I wouldn’t enjoy the talk we had. I took her face in my hands and told her, “Darlin’, there is nothing I would have rather done this afternoon than to spend it eating and talking with you.” She beamed and gave me the biggest hug ever.
I left her house thanking God for the relaxed times…and wondering, “How many of these moments have I missed because I was too busy.”
What’s your idea of relaxed time, and have you figured out ways to more consistently enjoy relaxed time?
Copyright © 2015 Bret Legg