Add relaxation to your routine

Back to Article
Back to Article

Add relaxation to your routine

Haemi Jung

Haemi Jung

Haemi Jung

By Matt Hutchison, Columnist

A new semester brings a new routine and often some New Year’s goals. A common goal my peers share with me is they want to be more productive. To this I usually ask, “What makes an activity productive?”

Responses are usually related to focus or discipline. For those who can relate, I suggest strategically incorporating relaxation into their routines throughout the semester.  Doing so will help you perform at peak levels.

First, clarity is necessary. What is relaxation?

Let’s analyze a quick example: Is a concert relaxing?

Concerts are great when we get to see a band we like, spend time with friends, enjoy the theatrics, admire the technical precision of a master performer all of these things can be deeply relaxing.

But if all we can think about after going to a concert is getting back to the grind, then the concert is not relaxing: It’s an escape. Relaxation is more like eating it’s a part of your routine because it energizes you, enhances your ability to focus and is necessary; it should not be something that you long for or that occupies your thoughts unless you are deprived of it.

Your state of mind after relaxing is equally important: How can one relax if they know that afterward they’re returning to tension and anxiety? The literal definition of relaxation is to be free from tension and anxiety, not to be temporarily distracted from your worries.     

Now that the idea of relaxation is in place, one can ask, “What makes me experience relaxation?”

Maybe it’s after an exhausting workout. Maybe it’s after watching a favorite movie.

Maybe, if you’re like me, you find these activities relaxing, but also find detachment from our current moment through learning about something historical to be deeply relaxing. I even know some people who find reading the dictionary or learning about the body to be extremely relaxing.

What is most important is that after relaxing we feel recharged and ready to tackle the tasks at hand, not passive or lethargic. Keep in mind that harmful or reckless behaviors can never truly be relaxing. They are only an escape from ourselves by escaping from our good sense.

Remember, relaxation is not an escape. Escaping from your routine and the sobering feeling of returning to reality is the opposite of relaxation it’s an emotional roller coaster ride.

By incorporating relaxation into your routine, you will learn your body’s signals for when it is time to relax. Listen to these reminders and you may notice that your mood, focus and overall levels of productivity are much higher. College students are busy, this is a lengthy process, but now is the time to start.

Lastly, remember that relaxation and reflection are intertwined. The better you know yourself, the more confident you will be in your ability to handle whatever life throws at you.

You may just realize that proper relaxation inoculates you against unhealthy stress.

Ultimately, relaxation is as productive as it’s necessary for good health. J.F.K. spent the weekend relaxing before his televised debate against Nixon because he knew how this would affect both his presentation and his mental state before the first televised debate. Some folks call this lazy, negligent or hedonistic; they have yet to comprehend the concept of relaxation.

But we do.

Matt is a junior in Media.

[email protected]