Life lately has been, in a word…simple. Which is exactly the way I like it. Most days find me with my nose in a book or selling books, or counting them, just generally admiring them, really. And speaking of books, I have good news. This:has turned into this:Finally, we bought some much needed bookshelves. If anything could help me put a check mark next to “settled” on my to-do list, it’s having a home for our books.
Travis and I have been discussing lately the quality of our relaxation. We both work a lot, so we need relaxing activities that yield maximum relaxation. It feels weird saying it like that, but we’ve found that some activities make you feel more relaxed in a small amount of time than others do over a long period of time, and those activities also seem to match up with how simple they are.
For example: reading vs. television.
Yes, reading is complicated on the production level; printing presses, mass production, lots of marketing. But on the consumer end: you buy the book and then you take days, weeks, or even months to properly savor it. It is always the same words so there is no rush to finish it before it changes. You can pick it up and put it down at any time. Your mind sinks down to level of relaxation very quickly but is at the same time being enriched by the information it is soaking up, and it is information being taken in at the comfortable speed of your brain.
On the other hand, television. An incredibly complicated production including mining and crafting for the materials; shipping those materials from all over the world; hundreds of workers to assemble the parts in assembly-line fashion; distribution; and when you finally get it in your hands: the assembly, instruction manuals, cords, power supply, not to mention needing to pay X amount of dollars a month to receive a signal. Then when all is said and done, you sit in a sedentary position for hours soaking up information at a speed that someone else sets with no ability to skip parts you don’t wish to see or hear. There are numerous scientific studies about the effects of television, and not many of them are positive ones.
This isn’t the most objective analysis, but part of being human is making judgments about the best use of our time. There have been days when I’ve watched TV for 6 hours and not felt as relaxed as 30 minutes of reading. Here are some other examples:
knitting vs. watching a million youtube videos about how to knit (guilty)
baking vs. planning a large dinner that turns into some sort of fiesta gathering (guilty)
sitting around chatting with friends vs. contrived party with lots of games and activities
spending a night at home vs. driving to a busy restaurant/movie/mall packed with people
I’m not saying that there is never a time or place for fiesta gatherings or going to the mall; what I am saying is that when you want to simply relax and come away from an activity feeling renewed rather than exhausted, go for simple. If you are feeling like you aren’t getting the relaxation you need, it may have less to do with the amount of time you give it, and more to do with the quality of the activity.
What are the best ways you relax?