Relax to the Max

When I read our company emails about new hires, transfers, or those receiving promotions, the one thing I enjoy reading about each person is, not so much about their job or their qualifications, but what they enjoy doing apart from their work. I have read things like fishing, hunting, playing sports like baseball, basketball, golf, etc., or watching a favorite sport. Some are hobbies like woodworking, sewing, art work. One I probably like best is spending time with family. And, there are many more.  I probably learn more from these about the person than from what job they will be doing.  These are activities that are supposed to help you get away from the job and focus on things you enjoy and will help you to relax. These activities apart from your work schedule can be a type of “therapy.” How essential they are and yet how seldom do you really relax?

You have heard the expression, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” All work and no relaxation/recreation can also affect “Jack” mentally and physically, which can cause mental stress or physical illness. These can and do affect our relationships with others and especially with family.

Physical Stress – “Any specific situation or event that threatens the health of the body or has an undesirable affect on its functioning.”

Psychological Stress – “Anything that challenges or interferes with a person’s ability to think, make decisions or function in life.”
— Dr. Jeremy Crosby | A Mind Frozen in Time

Your, “off job,” relaxation/recreation can not only play a part in your relationship with others, family and co-workers, but can enable you to think more clearly and concentrate more on your job at work. These relaxing activities can help to keep you from being depressed, anxious, frustrated, stressed, hostile, and being impatient and irritable.  Dr. Crosby suggests it is equally important to listen to your body. “If you never provide any maintenance for your car, it won’t last very long or run well. The same is true of your physical body.  However, many individuals do very little in the area of self-care.  It is also common for you to abuse your body with...workaholism...Most things work best when all parts are in balance: care for self - care for others; activity - rest; productivity - recreation (or rest).”

In his book, Growing Strong In The Seasons Of Life, Charles Swindoll suggests that relaxing is not automatic, it is a skill that must be learned.  He lists four good suggestions:

  • Block out several evenings each month on your calendar. Make special plans to do nothing – except something you (or your family) would enjoy.
  • Loosen up the tight wires of your life by not taking yourself so seriously...nor your job.  Sure, some things are terribly serious – but not everything. The old Greek motto is still true:  “You will break the bow if you keep it always bent.”
  • Look for times during each day when something humorous or unusual makes laughter appropriate, then, laugh out loud. That helps flush out the nervous system. Solomon tells us this is good medicine.
  • When you relax ... enjoy the leisure ...let out all the stops.

For a minister (chaplain) sometimes it’s hard to get your mind off work and relax when you are thinking about other people’s problems and thinking of ways to help them.  Sometimes it’s a 24/7 process.

However, my wife and I also enjoy some of these off the job activities listed above.  Some of the things she enjoys is sewing, writing, working in her flower beds, and gardening. I enjoy fishing, hunting, sketching pictures, and farming (raising cattle for me is therapy – my wife says I could watch the cows graze all day). Some of these things we enjoy doing together. I enjoy helping her with her flowers, like digging holes (which she can’t do) to plant flowers.

Getting the ground ready for her garden.  She used to help me with the cattle, for ten years she helped bottle feed the calves, but one day a 400 pound calf knocked her down so now I have to work cattle alone.

However, I have arranged the corrals and gates so I can do that. She still enjoys watching the week old calves running across the pasture with their tail straight up in the air, we both do. We laugh to the max!