Although seemingly insignificant, the art of doing nothing is a very important one to cultivate. In a society that values doing and achieving it is hard to ascribe value to doing nothing and true relaxation. However, the benefits are enormous. Relaxation has potent healing qualities, it is antidote to stress. Having time to reflect and integrate your day is necessary so as not to overload yourself and your body with constant information. Allowing space to just be is healing in itself.
Society is so stimulating, everything vies for our attention, taking you away from yourself and influencing your mind and body in how you react to it. True relaxation, or a mindfulness practice if you like, will be none of those things. It will allow you to rest from stimulation and offer space for you to experience yourself as you are.
Although seemingly relaxing, activities like watching television/movies, scrolling through social media and even reading are still stimulating for the brain and the body will react in some way, perceptible or not. Activities that we may do seemingly for relaxation in our spare time when not actively working aren't actually relaxing the body on a deep nourishing level.
So what can you do to develop your art of relaxation? I find somatic movement helps to reset not only neuro-muscular pathways and muscle length but also calms the body on a deep level. It is a practice of deep listening and creating space for yourself to just be and notice. But true relaxation could be anything that takes you into a space to stop and do nothing except focus on your self and your body. It's an art and it will be individual to you.
There are so many ways in which you can find a state of deep rest. It could be somatic movement or it could be lying on the floor and bringing your attention to your body sensation of lying there. It could be sitting and watching your breath as it comes into and out of your body or it might be a mindful movement dance, non-choreographed but movement following the impulses of the body to move. Anything that helps you get in touch with yourself in the very moment of being will be nourishing for you, something that brings your focus internally without stimulating you to do something.
So do you give relaxation much time and space in your life? Creating the time to do this takes dedication but the benefits of a calmer, more relaxed life are worth it.