Relaxing is Hard Work, Be Mindful During Your Off Time


Time to relax

The weekend, the start of a vacation, the morning of a day off. These are all times when we often find ourselves asking the question, “What should I do today?” It’s the beginning of our hard earned time off and we want to make the most of it, though for most of us, coming up with something to do is only half the battle. Plans are set but having them go off without a hitch is another story. How you handle these ”hitches” can be the difference between having a fun and satisfying time, and spending the day frustrated at the little things that didn’t go quite right and wondering what could have been.

The ideal day/night off

What does your ideal day off look like? When a day off, a free evening, or even a vacation is on the horizon we want it to be perfect, filled with all the things that we want to do with that time. It might be fun with friends, a night on the town at your favorite restaurant, or even some quiet relaxation time with a book at home. So we make plans, it’s in our nature as humans living in a modern world full of things we want to do and enjoy when we have the chance. Plans give us something to look forward to and offer us structure in the process.

I know that when I have an evening during the week free of appointments and other obligations that life tends to throw my way, I think about the best way to spend that time. I think about how I will go straight home from work and try and maximize my time, and then I might make a nice dinner with the girlfriend and watch the next episode of “Stranger Things.” I think about how it will be the perfect opportunity to get to the next area in whatever video game I am currently in the middle of. Ah yes, that night will be awesome! But what if it doesn’t go as planned? If these things that I want to do don’t end up happening, or if my time with them is cut short, is my awesome time ruined, my chance for fun gone? It could be if I let it.

When your expectations are shattered the day is ruined

We can plan our time as carefully and as hopefully as we want, but that doesn’t mean that something won’t come up before we are able to realize our plans. I don’t know how many times I have been ready for a night like I was just describing and traffic causes me to get home late, a family member needs help with something when I get home, and dinner takes way longer to cook than planned. Next thing I know I look at the clock and my night is half over and I’ve barely touched the things that I wanted to do that night. This starts to put me in a bad mood. A bad mood! On my free night! How could this happen!? I finally get a chance to sit down with a game, but now all I can think about how my time is cut short and I begin to wonder how I could even enjoy the little time I have left. But we can’t think this way, time is a precious resource we can’t afford to waste it worrying about things that turn out differently than we expected them to. Whether it’s a free night or a 2 week vacation more full with planned activities and hopeful expectations, there are bound to be snags, things that pop up unexpectedly, that force us to take a right turn when this is not the route we planned. So what can you do to make sure that you still enjoy your time?

Go With the flow

There are enough uncontrollable variables throughout life without us sabotaging ourselves. When plans go awry it is important to not make things worse by being your own worst enemy. Salvage your time by being mindful of the moment, letting go of the things that you can’t control, and make the best of the situation. Even if you end up doing something other than what you planned at least you are enjoying your time to the best of your ability and by letting go of your expectations and going with the flow you prevent the inner animosity that comes with the frustration of well-laid plans going out the window. Don’t get me wrong, plans are nice and all, as is getting to do your favorite activities when those plans manifest successfully. But when life gets in the way and skewers those plans of yours, focus on making the situation the best it can be. It may not be what you had in mind, but you just might end up enjoying your off-time after all.


To Your Wellbeing,

Nic Mckane

The MINES Team