Learning How to Relax Again
It’s been a busy few weeks for both me and Liz, with us doing a lot of running around and planning (as well as all the normal workday work stuff, that also seems more involved than usual).
My default mode is to plan and try to predict future choices and contingencies. And it doesn’t make for a very relaxing approach.
Liz noted that, even when I’m not actively working on something related to the house or to work, I’m on my phone – intently playing one or two games. As though I had to fill every moment with some kind of activity that involved decisions and reactions.
We’ve got a vacation coming up soon, and I’ve found myself frantically trying to plan and prepare. Those seem to be my default modes, as opposed to looking forward to events or experiences.
Lately, I’ve had to actively, with intention, pull myself back from knee-jerk reactions to analyze and plan and whatever else it is I always do. And check myself, to ask: “Is what I’m doing necessary? Do I need to really figure this out right now, right this very moment?”
It sounds silly, but I’m trying to learn how to relax again. I think Liz is as well, but I’m convinced I’ve got a longer hill to climb on that front.
As a developer, generally the task before you is taking a large amount of chaos and uncertainty… and then distilling that down to a stable, predictably recurring outcome. This work lends itself well to how, I feel, my brain is naturally wired.
This mindset, however, works less well in the real world – where I have control of fewer variables. And despite my best plans and intentions, the outcomes are never as stable as I may want them to be.
The trick then, is to be ok with those moments (which are more frequent than I care to admit). To favor process over outcome (and boy is that hard). “As long as I write my unit tests, that’s what’s important – who cares if they pass?”
I’m going to try to check my email less frequently. And to not look at Slack. And to be more in the moment, to try to view and experience the journey over the destination. My tendencies are otherwise, so it’s going to take a lot more concentration and effort on my part, to avoid my habits.
It’s going to take some work, before I get comfortable with relaxing again, it seems. But the good kind of work.
[photo via Sid Leigh]