Watching the world go by…

When I was little, maybe 8 or 9, I remember running in from playing outside in the evening when it was eventually time for me to come in. I bounded in, to find my Mum and Dad (usually in separate rooms) doing their own thing.

I remember running in, all tired out and out of breath, from a busy day at school and out playing. I’d come in when it was close to being dark and I’d usually find my Dad sitting in the front livingroom. No TV or magazine in front of him, just him with a light on, and his thoughts.

I’d sit with him for a bit and chat with him. He was a busy man, with his own business. He was good at his job and well known and respected in our small community. He was a pleasant and shy man, but he was good at what he did and he took satisfaction in knowing he was good.

I’d come in from playing and ask him:

What are you up to Dad?’

Sitting there, almost lying back with his feet outstretched in front of him, and hands clasped together just below his ribcage, he’d say,

Not a lot Lorn, just watching the world go by.’

When I was small I never understood why anyone would ‘sit and watch the world go by’.

What was the point in that? no computer? or game, or fun? What? It didn’t make sense.

It’s only now that I’m well into my adulthood that I realise just how important ‘watching the world go by’, or taking time out, or relaxation time, is. 🙂 time to help your brain ‘switch off’. Time to think about things, and think about nothing. Time to just be.

With work, training and play, life can get full. Full of so many things that need to get done. Routine occurs and in some cases, before you know it, you could be chasing your tail trying to get everything done. Depending on the kind of person you are, and how much you have to deal with, the stresses of life might get to you and anxiety or other concerns might start to hit home.

I’ve always been very active and busy. If I’m not working, I’m exercising. If I’m not exercising I’m coaching. If I’m not coaching, I’m writing or socialising. With such a busy life, sometimes I forgot one of the most important things I should be doing: relaxation.

Each day, we should spend some time relaxing. Watching the world go by, listening to music, winding down, chatting with loved ones or friends. Without distraction and without the stresses of everyday modern life.

Work, rest and play… but sometimes I used to forget the rest bit. I’m now getting better at taking rest from a busy training regime. I used to feel guilty if I missed a workout, now I realise my body needs a rest day, and I take one – no matter what my training plan is. Training plans can be rejigged!

Exercise is great for you, but exercise, and especially training 5-7 days a week, can be very stressful for your body. And that’s why I always sim to get at least 1-2 days of rest a week.

Relaxation is a whole other thing. How can I find the time for relaxation in my day job of I’ve got so much to do and not enough time? There’s so much to do with the new house or I have to meet this person or that person who’s relying on me!

The truth is, relaxation can help in all of these situations. Taking time out from your desk at work, meeting friends for lunch, even going for an easy run at lunch. They’re all shown to reduce stress levels and improve efficiency at work.

Sleep is another form of getting your body to relax. If you find it hard, take a look at your sleep routine and what you do and consume before you try to sleep. Set a regular and realistic bedtime, let your body and mind wind down. Get rid of electronics or active or thought provoking activities an hour or two before bedtime.

If in doubt, sit in a nice comfy chair, with no TV, phone, iPad, magazine or book, and do what my Dad used to do: Sit, relax and watch the world go by. Let me tell you, it works. 🙂

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