Top 10 Ways to Relax Productively

By Sam

We’ve all been there, you’ve got some free time on your hands and nothing to do but for some reason, you just can’t shake the feeling that you should be doing something, anything, productive. If this sounds like you, then trust me — you are not alone. You have a classic case of “productivity anxiety” a very scientific phenomenon that I just invented. As a person who gets productivity anxiety myself, I’ve discovered the best ways to manage it while still ensuring that I relax. So here are the top ten ways to relax productively:

1. Read Non-Fiction

Non-fiction, quite obviously, is based on reality and almost always offers the reader some new perspective or knowledge. Nonfiction can even be creatively written too, which sounds weird but is magical. There are so many well written books with plenty of informative content out there, what are you waiting for?

2. Learn A New Skill

An absolutely terrific way to relax while also being productive can involve learning a new skill. The productivity part of the equation is abundantly clear (i.e. you’re gaining a new skill). As for the relaxing part, learning a new skill, like playing the guitar or cooking, can be an amazingly immersive and fun experience that’s just for you and your enjoyment.

3. Play Sports

As I talked about in my last piece, almost anybody regardless of skill can enjoy playing sports. They’re an amazing way to productively relax because they they allow you to exercise without feeling like you’re exercising. Whatever sport you play, you’ll be building muscle and doing a ton of cardio all while having fun, how’s that for productivity?

4. Watch A Documentary

Watching movies, TV shows, Youtube, or even Snapchat stories are some of the most common ways to relax. But what happens if we want more than just entertainment though? Documentaries combine all of the relaxing effortlessness of other media while also focusing on real-world stories, which teach the viewer something in the process.

5. Clean

If you’re going to relax (or let’s be honest, procrastinate), then cleaning is a great way to do that while being be productive. Whether you find cleaning fun (weirdo) or just simply don’t feel like working, cleaning is a great way to feel like you’re doing something useful. Furthermore, cleaning can be deeply relaxing (if it’s not the bathroom) thanks to its repetitiveness. Plus, you can watch TV or play music while you do it.

6. Play An Educational Game

Yes, educational games do exist. And yes, they can be fun. Two examples that I love are 1) any Canadian trivia game and 2) a computer game called Democracy 3. Trivia has obvious benefits for its players; it’s all about testing and gaining information. These types of games aren’t for everyone but they are a great way to have fun while picking up a thing or two. Democracy 3, on the other hand, is my favourite game to play, and it also happens to be taught in some classrooms as a simple model of how politics works. The game is all about running a country, instituting good policy and getting re-elected, which is actually a lot more fun than it may sound. Seriously. I love it.

7. Nap

It’s about time we rethought naps. If you’re tempted to grind out your work while feeling tired, check in with yourself and consider taking a nap instead. Naps are a good break from work but they’re also a big energy boost, which definitely make you more productive (if after the fact).

8. Socialize

I cannot stress how important socialization is. Socializing offers relaxation and mood-boosting in a number of obvious ways (i.e. being around people who make you laugh, share your pain, let you vent, etc.) but the productivity is a little more complex. When it comes to productivity, socializing can a) serve as an opportunity to share and b) enhance your network.

9. Take A Walk

As Adam Smith and Ben Franklin discovered, walking is one of the best ways to clear the mind and think freely. Adam Smith was actually so fond of long walks that once he walked 14 miles in his bathrobe before ending up in another town. That’s the power of a good walk. Walks provide a nice, mild distraction with their repetitive movements encourage the mind to think openly and widely

10. Write

Everyone reading this will know how stressful writing can be — whether it’s a ten page essay or an email application for a summer job, it’s not always easy. However, when the deadlines and pressure are removed from writing it can be a freeing and immersive experience. Whatever you like to write, be it stories or personal reflections, when you write for yourself you can easily get lost in the process.