Relaxation Merit Badge

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 4,690 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—6,500 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life

For this week’s Make It Easy/Relaxation Merit Badge, I thought I had it made in the shade. That’s right, girls, how hard can it be to relax?! I mean, seriously, this badge was in the bag, so to speak.

I was blindsided however, by the sneaky difficulty of relaxing. The insidious lurking feeling that I must be doing something. The niggling notion that I couldn’t turn my brain off.

I first realized how hard this was going to be on me when I found myself with my Blackberry in hand, scheduling my five-minute period of relaxation.

Um, grammar isn’t my strong suit, but isn’t that some sort of oxymoron, or something? Like a jumbo shrimp, or all-natural artificial flavor, or “a little bit pregnant,” or specifically vague?

Sighing at how in over my noggin I was, I scheduled my five minutes of relaxation right after my Hot Yoga class, but before my appointment at the The Doggy Beauty Parlor. Ms Twinkles is overdue for a grooming and a toenail clipping. I swear, that dog takes tap dancing to a whole new height on my hardwood floors at 3 a.m.  My Pomeranian thinks she’s Gene Kelly.

I found myself looking forward all day to my appointment with Relaxation. That’s right, I thought of Relaxation as a person I was meeting. Perhaps a long lost girlfriend, or a grandmotherly type, or a tanned cabana boy … ahem. Back to the badge at hand!

After Hot Yoga, I kinda wished I’d scheduled a few minutes to die properly. I had sweated away buckets, which sadly, in the world of physical fitness, meant I probably worked off half a blueberry muffin (sans butter). But, no matter! I had time to shower off, and then I found a perfect spot to meet with my elusive and mysterious Relaxation.

Evidently, Relaxation is not a punctual guy. I laid down in my favorite recliner and waited for him to arrive. Would he be soothing and gentle? Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Have a pencil thin mustache? My mind whirled. My thoughts swirled.

I. Could. Not. Find. The. Off. Switch. To. My. Brain.

ARGH! Stop thinking, Jane! I told myself, fiercely. Just relax! Relax! RELAX RIGHT NOW!

This badge was going to take longer than five minutes. This whole process was new to a get up and go kinda girl. I was lost. I decided to research a bit on the benefits of relaxation and the health hazards of stress. Turns out, the smartest, most successful, and happiest people in the world know the importance of little things like:

  • saying “No” occasionally
  • not over-committing
  • getting a full night’s sleep (No, not just on the weekends! Every night!)
  • recognizing what stresses you out and eliminating it
  • surrounding yourself with your definition of beauty

Huh! Who knew, right? I always figured the most successful people were the ones running around like chickens with their heads cut off, having a million and one things to do, and people to hire to do it! Maybe after I redefine what relaxation means to me, I can redefine what success means to me …

Whoa. Getting deep here. Suddenly, I felt a weight off my chest. I felt lighter. More energized. Less stressed. Could it be *gulp* that I did it?! I calmed down, and (dare I say it?) relaxed?

And I didn’t even have to schedule it this time.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I am not sure what others experience, but working seems to condition me to be on task. At the end of the day, it is hard to turn that switch off. Over the years, I have spent so many hours on task that being busy becomes the natural default button. Real relaxation is very hard to do because one first has to have the ability to switch off the on task button for a brief while and then switch it right back on to keep going. This is the tangled up loop I have found myself struggling with. I only wish it was as easy as MBA Jane makes it sound to me!

    • Terry Steinmetz says:

      You are so right, Winnie. Not only is it hard to “shut off”, sometimes I feel down right guilty. I sat one afternoon with my hubby & my mind never did shut down. That’s where going for a walk really helps me. When I walk around my property, I CAN & DO shut off the rest of the world & my mind. Do you think it is because we are nurses & had to be task oriented?

      • Winnie Nielsen says:

        After all these years, I am not sure if it was the nursing profession or my own personality . For sure, being able to be on task is what keeps people in the nursing profession capable of keeping up with all the unexpected twists and turns of any work shift. But I wonder if maybe some of us are just wired to be results oriented by nature. Then the profession we go into further reinforces those tendencies because, in the case of nursing, we get positive reinforcement for being so proficient. So while I am your go to person to get something done, I am not very good at relaxing and doing nothing. My mind is always going 100 miles an hour ! Maybe we are hopelessly ” taskers”??

        • Terry Steinmetz says:

          Maybe! The only time I really relax is when I’m outdoors!

          • MaryJane says:

            This is what everyone says, outdoors. It probably has to do with the scientific concept of “grounding,” covered in a recent issue of my magazine. Mine might be my bathtub:)

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