Candles

It’s often hard for me to stop thinking. I go in circles. I worry. About everything.

I have to make sure I have enough time to buy chips for the party, because if I don’t buy chips there won’t be any salty snacks, but what if there are too many people for just one bag of chips? What if I don’t have time to buy chips? I have to make sure I have enough time to buy chips, so there’s some salty snacks.

And so on, except it’s usually about more important things than chips. Like, my career. My future. My family.

I get the thoughts to stop the same way you get a song out of your head. If you have a song in your head, you listen to the song and it goes away. If I have a worry in my head, I go through the worrisome situation and it goes away. Saying “Stop!” to myself helps for a moment, but then the thoughts come back like a stubborn case of hiccups.

The less-effective way to make it stop is by telling myself “Who cares?”

There won’t be any salty snacks for the party. Who cares?

And et cetera.

I am glad that I have things that keep me occupied and don’t make me worry. Like blogging. And drawing. Creative writing. And lighting candles.

I love lighting candles. Nothing makes me feel calmer. I love watching the flame dance, I love the smell of the room when they’re lit. I love the color of the wax. I love candles. I can see why they’re used with meditating.

The candles make me feel like everything’s alright, even if there’s no salty snacks. Even if no one cares.

Relaxing is hard

Relaxing is difficult for me. I suppose it always has been. I’m the sort of person who bounces their knee under the table.

Relaxing is hard to justify, especially when it’s not “an activity.” I can relax on a beach, because that’s why I’m there. But when it’s Sunday night and I could either relax or do any number of activities, I feel lazy if I choose to relax.

Maybe I just need to learn that it’s not a bad thing to take a break every once in a while.

Yesterday I was playing Star Wars with my 3 year old cousin. We would run around in capes made of blankets, and then he would announce “Take a break!” and we would leap onto a couch and catch our breaths for about sixteen seconds before taking off again. That’s sort of how I treat relaxing. A burden you have to do so you don’t break down.

Even when I specifically set aside time to relax, I have a hard time doing so. Growing up, vacations were always spent doing things. Those relaxing beach moments I described earlier were just that—moments, because my family would soon tire of it and decide to go swimming, or something.

Last night, since I truly didn’t have much to do and had such a busy week last week, I decided to let myself relax. To “force” myself to relax may be better phrasing. I turned on Netflix and laid down  for about an hour and a half, then I started feeling gross and restless. I should get out of bed…I should do something. I should prepare for tomorrow. I could do laundry. Do I need gas? I haven’t used Rosetta Stone in awhile. I need to shower at some point. Did I water my plants yet? Maybe I should repot my cactus.

And so on.

I want to be able to relax. It would be good for me. But it’s hard. It feels lazy and unproductive. Even a “relaxing” activity like knitting or video games feels difficult after awhile.

What do you do to relax? Do you feel guilty/lazy/restless when you try to?