The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Relaxing
Man, I really enjoy my down time. Yet, I’m amazed that so many people find “relaxing” to be an unattainable goal. Sure, life is hard and we have super-stressful jobs chock-full of responsibility and stuff we need to do. At times it doesn’t seem like there are enough hours in the day to address every pressing issue. This is why finding the time to relax and just “be” is so important.
Our lives are not meant to be so stressful. Way, way back in the day, survival was key when people lived in a “fight or flight” mode. Nowadays, many of us are blessed with food, drink, shelter, modern conveniences and numerous forms of entertainment. Still, we feel rushed and under pressure.
What’s a Guy’s Guy to do? Nothing. That’s right. Nothing. When my world speeds up I go to my tried and true ways for slowing it down. This life is a blessing and I’m determined to find time to kick back and just “be” whenever it is necessary for my health, sanity and wellbeing, no matter what’s going on. I still “do” a lot, but it’s important to balance the “doing” with the “being”. Even if it’s only for a few short minutes a day, there are many ways to chill out. I hope this short list can work for you. The key is committing to putting aside fifteen minutes a day to just “be”.
Inhale. Exhale. It’s that simple, yet we too often run around huffing and puffing as we tend with lives imprisoned by bars made up of tasks and to-do lists. I like to step outside, find a place to sit quietly with my eyes closed and just breathe, even if it’s only for a few minutes. I like repeating a mantra or employing a short visualization exercise, but the most important thing is simply sitting quietly and breathing. Try it sometime, even if it is for a few short minutes. Just breathe.
This is my favorite way of relaxing. I’ve walked everywhere in Manhattan. Always have, always will. When I first moved into the city, I would walk from my flat on West 34th Street to Chinatown for lunch on Sunday. Then I’d walk back along a different route. It was great exercise and showed me so many neighborhoods in the city. It also gave me time to think and be one with my thoughts. Thirty years later, walking remains one of my favorite past times and ways to unwind.
Each day I practice some form of meditation. Recently, I have been practicing Color Works, a visualization exercise developed by healer Patti Conklin. I use it to address whatever ails my physical vessel. With eyes closed, I inhale through my nose and exhale through my mouth. I ask my body to show me a color that relates to a physical issue I suggest. Lately I have been using this to reduce the residual swelling in my abdomen from two robotic surgeries. Once my body shows me a color I breathe it in through the soles of my feet, through my body and out of my nostrils. Colors have vibrations, so they can carry energy. After a few minutes I tell my body out loud that I love it unconditionally. Then I ask it for another color to balance out what we just eliminated. I breathe it through my nose and then exhale while flushing it out through my crown. I end the process by drawing white light through my physical being. All of this can be found in Patti’s book, God Within. The entire process takes about fifteen minutes, and it does a world of good.
4. Be Appreciative
Beginning and ending each day with an acknowledgment and show of thankfulness will set your head straight. I find that this very simple practice subconsciously helps put any day-to-day stresses and headaches into perspective. If I have my health, my family and a roof over my head I can take on any challenge successfully. Showing gratitude when my head hits the pillow at the end of a long day relaxes me. It helps me release my spirit to God or the universal consciousness. Before I know it, I’m on the fast track to slumber and a good night’s sleep. And we all know how difficult falling and stating asleep is for so many people.
Who reads? And who has the time? We’re reading all day while on our mobile devices, iPads and computers. And that’s a good thing. But, I’m referring to reading books. Yes, we are challenged for time, but we somehow find ways to binge watch television series and watch sports. I always carry a book with me (sorry Kindle). I find that by reading on the subway I can relax quite nicely during my daily between the trips uptown to downtown and back. I realize that the Lexington line is challenging for reading, but reading is possible on any other subway line and any commuter train.
Okay, this is an indulgence,but grabbing a few winks in the late afternoon or early evening is a real treat. I was never a napper until a few years ago, but now I look forward to carving out an hour or so whenever possible to lay down and just chill. It replenishes my energy and keeps my head clear from the internal monkey chatter we all wrestle with in these modern times. These practices won’t solve all of your problems, but they can help improve the quality of your day-to-day life. And that’s a good thing.
This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is the Buddha. Whatever his current incarnation, the man just knows how to chill from the inside out. He’s a great role model for us Guy’s Guys.