Stresslaxing: 5 Sure Ways to Prevent it From Ruining Your Life Balance
Sarah Mae (SMae) |
When was the last time you just sat and watched a TV show without simultaneously eating, folding laundry, or checking your phone? Yeah, I thought so. Entrepreneurs suck at relaxing! There’s just so much to do and while you may not have heard the term “stresslaxing”, I KNOW you’re as guilty of it as I am!
What is it you ask? Well, stresslaxing is the act of being stressed out by relaxation. I bet that got your attention!
So many entrepreneurs are exhausted and burning out. Yet, if we put us all in a room together and ask, “Hands up if the last time you sat and watched a movie or scrolled through social media, you felt guilty doing it?”, everyone would put their hand up. I know past me would.
Taking the leap to start not one but two separate businesses at once has been incredibly rewarding. It also increased the demands on my time and energy, making it easy to feel guilty whenever I wasn’t busy “doing something” to grow either business.
Even when I would try to relax, my mind would be racing 100mph thinking of all my to-do lists until I got so antsy to get going that I’d just start working again.
Can you relate? If so, I got 5 ways you can ACTUALLY relax when stressed, guilt-free.
Table of Contents
Stresslaxing: Why You Feel Guilty When You Aren’t “Doing”
(v.) Being so stressed that relaxing makes you more stressed because you’re not working on what’s making you stressed (urbandictionary.com)
When it comes to the guilt you feel for not “doing” all the time, it’s an emotion that often stems from the voices you internalize growing up. Your parents, the education system, and the media have all done a number on how you talk to yourself and the high expectations you set around your productivity.
You got to play video games only after you did your chores. You were called lazy when you didn’t get your homework in on time (despite juggling 8 subjects and extra-curricular activities at once). You’re told by advertisers that relaxation is something you should “treat yourself” with.
Quite simply, HUSTLE CULTURE has tricked you into believing that relaxing equates to being lazy, or possibly more insidious, that it’s a “luxury” to be earned.
This is utter nonsense! Relaxation is a NECESSITY. You need it to protect your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. You need it to show up as your beautiful badass self and be the powerhouse you are.
So let’s learn to avoid stresslaxing and embrace downtime, shall we?
5 Ways to Relax When Stressed, Guilt-Free
1) Schedule Your Downtime
How many times have you had a day off and told yourself that you “wasted it” or “got nothing to show for it”? This happens because when you’re relaxing you don’t feel like you’re accomplishing something.
We have this perception that being busy is “productive” while doing nothing is “unproductive”. Yet, we all know that we can be busy as hell and still be unproductive. That is why we plan ahead and schedule our biz tasks.
Yet, when it comes to relaxation, there tends to be this expectation that it’s just going to naturally emerge throughout the week. The reality is you have to plan for it as well.
When you plan and schedule time to relax, you’re going to feel the same sense of accomplishment you get when you cross anything else off your to-do list.
We all love crossing things off our to-do list!
2) Shift from “Should” Motivated Thinking
Hustle Culture makes you feel like you should always be getting shit done, like telling yourself that you should be knocking things off your never-ending to-do list instead of watching Netflix.
In reality, YOU are the only one setting these unrealistic expectations for yourself. There’s no reason to buy into the idea that you should be doing one thing over another.
Should is such a loaded word. In fact, my mom hates it. Anytime I would say “should” growing up she would correct me with “Not should! Could!” (I can still hear her in my head, thanks Mum!). As a result of this upbringing, anytime someone says should, I immediately replace it with could.
So I could complete something on my to-do list. It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t, and it’s not that I should, but I could do it. I have the agency. It is my choice, and I’m grateful to have that choice as an entrepreneur.
In our recent Best Life Coach Collective Podcast, we offered another reframe for this type of thinking. Instead of “should” motivated thinking, focus on the values around it. So when you’re thinking, I shouldn’t be late, you can also reframe that perspective and say, it’s really important to me to be on time.
“Should” motivated thinking just leads to guilt when you don’t. So shifting your thinking in this way will help you to stop doing things because you think you should and alleviate some of the stresslaxing that comes up around not doing.
3) Discover What Makes YOU Feel Rested
Relaxing doesn’t have to mean doing nothing. It could mean lying on the sofa staring into space, or it could mean something more active. What makes YOU feel rested?!
Sure, I love a good spa day just as much as the next person. However, there are plenty of people who find hiking, running, and exercising to be more relaxing.
Some of my fave ways to relax include having a moon circle with my girlfriends, reading a good fiction novel, watching some rich teen drama, fantasy/ sci-fi movies, and going for walks in nature.
I am also trying to get into gardening, meaning I have an indoor plant addiction that I’m almost ready to take outside. Almost.
The point is that there is no right answer here, find what makes you feel rested and rejuvenated and schedule more of it.
4) Process Over Destination
Just like how we’ve internalized guilt around “not doing”, we’ve been socialized to believe that success is a destination that our self-worth depends on.
In school you’re taught to work towards building a career, as if becoming a teacher/ lawyer/ doctor is going to fulfill you in some way. Yet, what happens when you actually reach that achievement? Not sudden fulfillment, that’s for sure.
Your career is not your whole identity, you’re far more complicated and interesting than that. Instead of asking youth, “what are you going to BE when you grow up“, we need to start asking, “what would you like to DO”?
We carry this conditioning with us as entrepreneurs. We believe that to be fulfilled and “enough” we must reach certain business milestones. The problem is that it’s a moving target. We’ve often already set the next milestone before we’ve even reached the current one.
What you need to be focusing on is enjoying the process of building your life and business. It’s incredibly freeing to let go of the need to get somewhere and just ENJOY the processes of getting there.
5) Create a GPS Life Plan
I know it feels like it but your business is not your whole life. Life is beautifully multi-dimensional and when you’re busy all the time you knock yourself out of the essential rhythm needed for work+life balance.
When my businesses began to completely monopolize my time, I decided that, just like my biz plan, I needed a Life Plan. This plan was a game-changer for me, so now I help entrepreneurs create their own Genuine Personal Success Plan (GPS) too!
To do this you lay out all the different categories of your life, I like to call them paths, and create a plan around each. The 11 Life Paths that I focus on are (1) Health & Longevity, (2) Intellectual & Creative Life, (3) Emotional Life, (4) Your Identity, (5) Spiritual Life, (6) Love Life, (7) Social Life, (8) Community, Mentorship, & Parenting, (9) Financial Life, (10) Career Life, and (11) Quality of Life.
Each of these Life Paths deserve your focused attention. When you’ve taken the time to really think deeply about each area of your life it leads to more work+life balance and less stresslaxing because you know that you’re being productive when you’re choosing to focus on something that is not business-related.
Stresslaxing is something most, if not all, entrepreneurs experience. The guilt around not being “productive” when all your hopes and dreams lie in the success of your business can be overwhelming, especially when you have employees and families to think about.
However, we need to separate the idea of ‘laziness’ from ‘inactivity from work’. They’re not the same and believing that they are is only going to exasperate your feelings of guilt whenever you try to relax.
Life is really stressful and so is building a business. Meanwhile. what’s happening around the world is devastating. Yet, as the saying goes, we have to put our own oxygen masks on first before we can help others.
No more stresslaxing and feeling guilty for taking some time for yourself. Remember, you don’t just deserve it – you NEED it.
In my Busy to Balanced 90 day 1-1 coaching program we dive deep into these Life Paths to create your GPS Plan so that, by the end of our time together, you have a personalized guidebook to navigate living and working in balance. Find out more HERE