Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pause and Reset - Tea and Relaxation

Relaxation is a learned skill. Unfortunately, most people simply do not know to relax. We tend to rush to and fro, journeying from task to task, multitasking, and then brag to each other about how busy we manage to keep ourselves. For fear of appearing unimportant, lazy, or being labeled a "slacker", we will invent even more ways to overextend time designed for non-essential chores, e.g. sleep. We ignore the fact that 6-8 hours of sleep nightly is essential for healthy brain activity and immune systems.

Now take sleep deprivation and add these ingredients -- noise, distractions, communication -- and this becomes a personal recipe fraught with danger. The nonstop daily assault on all of our senses, if unaddressed, leads to frustration or an emotional roller coaster for which we just want to get off. Patience, a glorious virtue, goes out the door. In fact, most virtues go out the door. We have the audacity to wonder the reasons why we feel stressed, fatigued and overwhelmed. Do we have the confidence and courage to pause and reset?

Purposeful Pauses

In physics, relaxation is defined as returning a system to equilibrium after being scattered. When we pause, whether at a beach or over a pot of tea, we intentionally move ourselves towards a balanced state. We purposefully give our minds and our bodies the opportunity to release the tightness that we've accumulated during daily living. Additionally, relaxing pauses give us room to breathe so that we're better equipped to navigate the noise, distractions, etc. that we encounter daily. Some of my favorite ways to pause and reset include:

> Walking
> Getting a massage
> Completing a Pilates session
> Receiving a pedicure
> Listening to classical music
> Drinking tea

Relaxation, like tea, relies on an applied process to gain the desired result. For example, a massage therapist knows that one hour of massage equals four (4) hours of sleep. Yet a person has to make the appointment to receive the massage's benefits. Until we prioritize balanced living we will complain about how stressed our lives are. Instead of complaining, take a walk and get some fresh air. Feeling better? Now... let's drink tea.


  1. I think it is sad that in our society many people need to learn to relax, but I can relate to this from personal experience.

    I think this is really good advice about relaxing that you give here, both about tea and all the other ideas.

    I want to add one to the mix: nature. There is even some scientific evidence that I've read about, that looking at natural stimuli, whether leaves and branches of plants, clouds, or water, helps relax a person in a way that the cold, squarish stimuli of the objects and buildings that humans create do not. Taking a break to go outside, being in nature, or in a garden, or even just a quick glance out the window can do wonders for relaxation!

  2. I really like this. Especially the example from physics.

    It's one of the many reasons I find tea benefits my life. The whole experience of brewing a pot is normally enough to slow me down.

    Once I've taken a few deep breaths and had even one simple sip, I'm well on my way.

    Nice post.