Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Zen and the Art of Lounging

Lounging is not something that comes easily to people who are overworked, burdened with too much responsibility, or taxed for time.  For them, it’s something that feels impossible to get to and once they do get to it, it seems like a horrible waste of precious time that could be used to knock one more thing off of their long list of chores and errands.

Lounging is a way to completely let go of this constant internal push to “get things done” and/or be productive, but it’s also an art that one must learn to do--and do well.   Sofas, patio lounge chairs, hammocks, rocking chairs, are all built with lounging in mind.  If you find you don't even have lounging furniture in your environment, then you may already know that you don't take enough time to slow down and relax now and then.

To lounge well requires a special skill for finding balance between personal discipline and the need for self-care, but many people who are prone to over work and under play have a false belief that if they slow down and stretch out for some personal time to do "next-to-nothing", they will be perceived as lazy or idle and their attempts at lounging are therefore associated with feelings of guilt and shame.

In order to find balance one must work to fit a little lounging into life now and then, and perhaps a little into each day.  This vital part of human health and ongoing healthy functioning can be fit into one's morning before the noise and chaos of the day begins to get too loud and hectic, or can be saved for the evening hours where one can sprawl out in front of a good movie, or read a book before ending the day.

Like anything that is pleasant or unpleasant, things done in moderation are things done well.  If you are prone to guilt and shame for taking time to relax, or even discomfort and awkwardness whenever you sit back and put your feet up, you may have to ease yourself into some lounging a little bit at a time.  Try something simple at first like sitting down in a comfortable chair for a fifteen minute interval in which you vow to not get back up before the end of the fifteen minutes, even if you think of something you need to go do.

Other ideas for easing yourself into a little lounging now and then are things like:  soaking your feet in warm water, lying back and watching the clouds float by, sitting in a lawn chair in your yard or favorite park, or stretching out on a beach to watch the waves come in.

Don't worry, if you begin to lounge too much, you'll know it.  You'll begin to realize you are drifting too far to the others side of the balance scale, and you already know what to do when you get to that point.

Thanks to Laura D'Alessandro , freelance photographer, for her great image - Lounge