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Reasons You Can’t Relax (And Ways to Fix Them)

When stressed, there’s nothing more annoying than someone telling you to “just relax!” As well intended as it is, there’s a whole host of different reasons why you might not be able to relax, as well as solutions to fix them.

By figuring out exactly why it is you can’t relax, and understanding the best course of action to take for this, you can help to alleviate your worries, promote your wellbeing, and well…just relax. 

Stress can have negative impacts on both your body and your quality of life, able to trigger emotional changes, behavioural changes, as well as physical pain and damage.

With this in mind, it’s essential that you address any and all reasons why you can’t relax, helping you to safeguard both your physical and mental health.  

Below is a list with some of the common reasons why you might be struggling to relax, as well as top tips in how to address them.

 

You’re Too Busy

 

busy-woman-stressed-out 

 

In the fast-paced world of today, many associate busyness with success and productivity. As a result of this, many can see being busy as a good thing, and strive to become it.

Whilst it’s great to be productive and make the most out of your days, it’s also important to give yourself some rest when needed, and to not feel bad about this.

For some people, keeping busy and working on various projects are often prioritised over relaxation, meaning when they do set aside some time for this, they end up feeling stressed and anxious.

However, as anxious as taking time off can make some people, a healthy work-life balance is vital is helping to avoid burnout.

 

How To Fix This: Whilst there’s no singular solution to this problem, there are a ways you can try to help to incorporate the much needed “me-time” into your routine, and not feel guilty about it.

Reminding yourself that being unproductive can actually lead to productivity is a great first step in learning to relax. When we put our minds at rest and relax by doing nothing in particular, this can often spark inspiration from a calm and rested mind. 

In the book Four Seconds: All the Time You Need to Stop Counter-Productive Habits and Get the Results You Want Peter Bregman writes:

“My best ideas come to me when I am unproductive. When I’m running or showering or sitting, or doing nothing, or waiting for someone. When I am lying in bed as my mind wanders before falling asleep.”

“These “wasted” moments, moments not filled with anything in particular, are vital. They are the moments in which we, often unconsciously, organize our minds, make sense of our lives, and connect the dots. They’re the moment in which we talk to ourselves. And listen.”

Recognising that doing nothing is in itself productive can help those spinning too many plates to take relaxation seriously, and factor it in as time well spent in their busy schedules.

 

Work-Related Stresses  

 

 woman-stressed-at-work

 

In the same vein, work-related stresses can also make it difficult to relax. Those who experience a lack of control in their jobs, unclear expectations about their role, or a dysfunctional workplace dynamic can develop job burnout - a type of stress where sufferers are physically/emotionally exhausted from the pressures they face in the workplace.

This stress can make it difficult to properly relax, impacting upon your health and overall wellbeing, whilst also potentially affecting your sleeping habits.

 

How to Fix This: First and foremost, if you have been experiencing any of the symptoms above, the Mayo Clinic suggest the following advice: “Consider talking to a doctor or a mental health provider because these symptoms can also be related to health conditions, such as depression.”

Additionally, another important first step in handling work-related stress is to work this out with your employer. If you feel you’ve been taking on too much, or have other issues with your work that have led to this stress, discussing these with your bosses can help to stop them, and create a more manageable, sustainable working life.

 

You’re in an Uncomfortable Space  

 

restless-unrelaxed-woman 

 

One of the more obvious reasons you may not be able to relax is that the environment you’re trying to relax in is uncomfortable. It’s impossible to feel truly relaxed when awkwardly positioned on a hard chair, or wrapped up in a scratchy blanket. Being uncomfortable can result in irritability, restlessness and furthermore, higher levels of stress.

You can also become uncomfortable in a space due to the lack of proprioceptive input - Our brains constantly send signals to the rest of our body, trying to figure out its place within the environment. When the brain receives insufficient feedback from the body, it can lead to restlessness, and make it harder for you to relax.  

 

How To Fix This: The simple solution to fixing an uncomfortable environment is to make it comfortable. By investing in softer blankets, better chairs and other products designed specifically to help you relax, you can help to optimise a space for relaxation.

There are certain, specialised products designed to also help provide the proprioceptive input our brains crave, including weighted blankets. Studies have linked these blankets to reduced levels of stress, and increased quality and quantity of sleep.

To find out more about the benefits of weighted blankets, please visit this page.

 

Sources: 

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/s/stress  

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/burnout/art-20046642

https://psychcentral.com/blog/reducing-your-guilt-about-not-being-productive/

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