Six Things That Can Sabotage Your Relaxation Time

Relaxation doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Some people can begin to unwind as soon as they get off work, while others stay keyed up and stressed straight through bedtime. We also relax differently, and some may want to sit in silence while others would prefer going out for a group activity. But no matter how you approach relaxation, it’s important and has proven benefits for your physical and mental well-being.

If relaxation frequently eludes you, you might be unwittingly engaging in behavior that’s sabotaging your attempts to relax. Here are six things that might be sabotaging your relaxation time.

Mobile Devices

Your phone, laptops and tablets are important devices you use to connect with others and get work done. But the very nature of their mobility makes it hard to put them down. Several studies of mobile phone and device usage have suggested that constantly checking our phone disrupts our sleep and makes us more anxious, stressed and unhappy during our supposed leisure time.

Now we’re not suggesting you chuck out your smartphone and go live in a cave. Rather, you may want to take short breaks from your devices for short periods of time, especially when you want to relax. You can turn off your notifications and leave your phone in another room — it will still be there when you’re ready to pick it back up.

Work Notifications

Another side effect of mobile devices and work laptops is that you’re never truly away from work. Even if you aren’t working, email notifications on your device may be reminding you of that upcoming deadline or meeting when you’re at home trying to relax. Turning off work related notifications when you get home can help you unwind and forget about work for a while.

Overloaded Schedules

If your calendar is packed with obligations, deadlines and activities, you might be stressing yourself out and denying yourself much needed time to relax. Consider removing unnecessary items from that overloaded calendar. Reducing your commitments isn’t selfish if it helps keep you sane and happy, so you may want to try to avoid spreading yourself too thin.


Caffeine is extremely useful when you need to wake up and take charge of your day. But when it’s time to relax, caffeine can keep you wired and harm your ability to unwind. Now, some people swear by coffee as a way to relax, and we won’t necessarily argue. But if you’re feeling jittery and wired at the end of the day, it might be time to cut out that afternoon cup of coffee.

Tense Muscles

Even when you’re ready to relax, a tense body can prevent you from doing so. If your neck and shoulders are still tight from hunching over your computer screen or your body is still tense from a tough day, you may have difficulty relaxing. There are many ways to reduce muscle tension that include exercise, massage, stretching, and improving your posture. The right way to relax your body will vary, but loosening up physically can help you do the same mentally.

Sedentary Lifestyle

If you rarely exercise, your sedentary lifestyle may be preventing you from properly relieving stress. Exercise releases natural chemicals and endorphins in your body that fight stress and promote happiness. These effects last long after exercise is finished. Exercise can also tire you out, helping you relax and get a good night’s sleep.

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