Domi wandered downstairs looking lost in his own home. It was the first day of no school in three and a half years. I had told him to also take off work for a few weeks so he could just relax and enjoy himself. It was time for a break for my boy. He was so excited for his break, but I looked at him as he rounded the corner into our kitchen and I could immediately tell something was off.
“What do I do now?” He asked me.
“Well, I’d say relax. Read a book. Watch TV in the middle of the day. Whatever the hell you want! Do anything! Just chill!” I replied, just a touch more forcefully than intended.
But I could tell he felt like he was floating. Not in the woo woo, Nirvana kind of way. The kind of floating that you can see in someone’s face on a first date when they aren’t sure where to put their hands. He was anxious. He didn’t know what relaxing meant anymore. In the last three years, he has been running two companies and going to school full-time. He’s achieved his Bachelor’s degree and today will be awarded a Master’s in business taxation. So, needless to say, he is used to being freaking busy. He runs on empty most of the time. And all of a sudden his tank was primed to be full, except he didn’t know with what.
I think people think that relaxing is inherent, but for people that are used to running a million miles per minute, relaxation has to be relearned. Learning to take time for oneself is sometimes forgotten and has to be reintroduced.
I’m someone that’s definitely had to learn how to turn on and off the relaxation button. This is not something that is in my family’s nature. We are all used to running on little to no time for ourselves (which is not a good thing). But I decided I would lay out for Domi some things I thought might help him enjoy this in-between time. It’s not easy in a major transition. When your identity goes in one day from student to master. And then what? It’s easy to get lost in thought, which is great unless your brain is slowly eating away at your psyche, then please lord have mercy, get the heck out of there! We’re also in a time where you can’t distract yourself by going places and seeing people and doing things. His entire vacation will be spent stuck in a house with me, the puppy, and not a whole lot else.
So, I thought I’d give him some option for ways to fill up the time in a relaxing way, really anything to take that lost puppy look out of his eyes:
1) Sleep in and have some coffee in bed and take time to enjoy the morning before diving into your phone.
2) Make a list of things you’re grateful for.
3) Go work out if it sounds fun—it’ll get you out of your head and into your body and your body always knows what’s best.
4) Read a book that no one is telling you, you have to read.
5) Facetime a friend you’re missing, or your family you never get to talk to.
6) As the relaxation gets easier, just sit outside and think about everything you can be grateful for.
7) Cook me something!! I’m kidding…sort of…but honestly, cooking is an amazing activity that makes me feel good and creative.
8) Watch a show you’ve been dying to see and binge it all day and promise you won’t judge yourself for taking time to just laugh and have fun staring at the box on the wall—sometimes it’s what you want and need.
9) Go for a hike—trails are open baby!! (but obviously, wear a mask and stay six feet from any human)
These are just a couple of ideas. There will be many more I’m sure I will think of over the coming weeks, but it’s a place to get started.
If you’re graduating right now or going through a transition where you have more time and are stuck at home, consider throwing some of these activities into your day to ease the feeling of purposelessness. You have a purpose. You are you and you get to wake up every day and be you and that is a purpose—when you’re in transition it’s an opportunity to redefine yourself, to take time for yourself, to become someone that joyfully practices self-care. You don’t have to be someone who always runs a mile a minute, you can find a new definition if that’s what you want. There is always time to change and morph and become who you are anew every day. Happy weekend my friends and congratulations to my baby.
To all 2020 graduates, I know this is not what you imagined and my heart goes out to you, but I am so proud of your effort and everything it took to get you where you are. Take some time. Relax and enjoy and if you feel stuck—take a look at that list and see if anything tickles your fancy.