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Lost art of proper relaxation

Discussion in 'Skills and Smarts' started by St. Louis, Apr 12, 2015.

  1. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    I find hiking in the woods to be quite relaxing, although it takes some effort, most of which is expended in just leaving the house. But last weekend I discovered that my favorite patch of woods was posted with signs indicating a deer control program, meaning bow hunting, except on Sunday, through the end of February. Moreover, I discovered game cameras in place. So that's out of the picture for a few weeks. Pity. I did see deer now and then.

    Yesterday, we had a company outing. It was a fancy boat cruise with a luncheon. I was very tired when I got home last night (we returned to work at about 3:30). There was a band and dancing, eating and drinking, yet it was very relaxing just the same. I didn't have to drive there, which was about 25 miles away, find parking in the middle of town, fix anything to eat or wash dishes. It was relaxing in some ways, less so in other ways. I find lying in bed and reading something to be about the most relaxing thing I ever do, one level short of sleep. Whatever you do to relax, I wouldn't call it an art.
  2. I live directly adjacent to a 500-acre hunt club property which abuts the Appalachian Trail and huge Fahnestock State Park, so hiking just means walking out the front door. Though we have to stay out of the hunt club property during hunting season... like now. Eh, it's getting too cold to hike anyway.
  3. I'm fortunate that the winters are mild.
    I have friends who live in the country with acres of wilderness.
    I have an old wood case filled
    with oil paints & canvas.

    I drive my '46 the back roads where there is no urge to speed.

    I relax by getting away from it
    all and enjoy nature.
    If I see something I like, I will sit
    and capture it on canvas.

    Some things are so beautiful that
    all I do is simply watch and
    enjoy the moment.

    This is very relaxing for me.
    "My Elysian Fields". :cool:
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016
  4. Ernest P Shackleton

    Ernest P Shackleton Practically Family

    I'm amazed by how many people I know who don't have any hobbies. Everything they do is a task or chore. All the things I thought they enjoyed, or that would seem to relax them, are somewhere on the hassle scale. These aren't depressed or dark people (maybe they are?). They don't have anything they do for themselves that provides that leisure and escape. I find that so very strange. I'm also cognizant of the fact that it is a luxury in our culture to have such activities, but geez, it's one of the greatest virtues of our wealth and situation. Everything you do doesn't have to yield some sort of productivity or practicality. It's like in education the perspective that, "You'll never use that. Why learn it?" I didn't come here to complain. I hope it doesn't sound like that. It's just so baffling to me. We have access to so much stuff, activities, and opportunities --not all which cost money-- and you aren't curious about any of it enough to get sucked into the minutiae and joy of the exercise? I sometimes think it is a generational thing. It also reeks of lack of patience for anything. The Millennials might lack an attention span, but the aged lack patience. Busy busy busy. Do do do. Like sharks. Resting is awesome.
    vitanola likes this.
  5. All the millennials I know have lots of hobbies -- writing, photography, hiking in the woods, swimming, playing music, on and on and on. And most of the elderly people I know also have hobbies -- my mother, at the age of 77, took up and mastered the ukulele this year, despite living in near-poverty on Social Security.
    It's the people in the middle of the age spectrum who need most of all to learn to loosen up and find something worthwhile to do with their time besides complain about Kids Today.

    Hobbies were very common in the Era -- even in a time when people were fighting for their lives against the Depression and Fascism, they found distractions. A popular radio program of the time, Dave Elman's "Hobby Lobby," was solely devoted to interesting and unusual hobbies -- alligator farming, manhole-cover collecting, building houses out of Coke bottles and popsicle sticks, teaching goats to talk, etc. etc. etc.
    vitanola likes this.
  6. I can't think of one friend or relative who doesn't have a hobby. Some are crazy passionate about them, some less so, but everyone has one or several. Some have very, very limited financial means, but they still have hobbies.

    Think about the friends you say don't have one - do they read, follow sports, like to cook or do something like that with passion - sometimes a hobby masks itself as "regular life?"

    My mother would tell you she has no hobbies - but she reads all the time, does crossword puzzles, is an avid fan of movies and loves to bargain shop at Marshals or similar stores for things that cost next to nothing. To her, a hobby is something like golf, collecting stamps or painting, what she does she'd say is just "life" not a hobby, but I think all the activities I listed of hers are hobbies.
  7. Ernest P Shackleton

    Ernest P Shackleton Practically Family

    Nope. No football or sports love. Reading the paper or watching the news is a task they tick off their daily list. Believe me when I tell you, I've watched many of these people even closer once I started to suspect they had nothing that piqued their interests. I'm a curious person. I can talk about just about anything, so when I run into people who can't talk about anything, I notice. I notice when their response to any and every subject is "Meh. I'm too busy X, Y, and Z to do anything like that." And the X, Y, and Z are the fun stuff. As I said, the relaxation and leisurely stuff, that would be more likely something someone looks forward to doing, are included in the "I need to get this out of my hair" stuff. How exactly is having a coffee and reading a newspaper in the morning an "in your hair" task?
  8. Wow, whatever works for them I guess. I have known a few people whose hobby seems to be, being cranky :).
  9. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    My father, born 1916, had no hobby or special interest. He always kept a garden, though, but that was very common in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. It was a food source, not a diversion. He always worked six days a week, though, and for the ten years my mother was an invalid, he worked nights, too. The other fathers in my neighborhood likewise really had no hobbies but they kept busy, including with gardening. My uncle, who lived across the street and a welder by trade, made just about everything but not as a hobby. He remodeled three houses and even moved one of them. He did fish, however, and would go "down on the river" a few times a years, usually to include a week-long camping trip. But otherwise, he did virtually nothing beyond home maintenance work while at home.

    I used to do a lot of folk dancing but that eventually came to an end after I married someone I met dancing and we had our first child. That was over 30 years ago. But I have other interests and activities but it is surprising how the time evaporates when you're at home on a workday, like I was today and will be tomorrow. I've reached the age where my chief activity will be to piddle, which may or may not be a word anyone uses anymore.
  10. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    I just reread this thread, a little surprise nothing new has been posted. I'm a little more interested in the topic than I was two months about because retirement is beginning to look a little more imminent now. I think I'll be out of here by June but it was be nice to stay until my birthday in August when I turn 71, just so I can say I retired when I was 71.

    I always thought of a hobby as something like collecting, or woodworking, flower gardening, stuff like that. I just can't visualize hiking and camping as a hobby but I suppose it is. I have lots of other interests, however, although none of them involve anything more than reading and studying. My interest in any one thing comes and goes, possibly at the speed at which I forget things and go back to reading more about the topic. I try to limit my interests to something I can't spend money on, like studying star forts in Belgium or something like that.

    My wife is retiring this year, too, which will complicate matters.
  11. I would suggest you reconsider
    about being active physically.
    I'm semi-retired and two of
    my favorite hobbies is cycling and
    But I've been doing this since I
    was a kid.
    So it may not be easy to start.
    But you need to stay active.
    My dad never did anything active.
    Eventually, he lost the abilty to
    Not saying this will happen to you.
    But you do need to stay active.
    I also do crossword puzzles to keep whatever brain I have still
    functioning. Good luck to you!
  12. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    I agree. As far as going on a hiking outing, which I'm planning on for Monday, easily the hardest part is leaving the house. After that, it's pretty easy.

    Funny, but just this morning I was reading a newspaper clipping that I had saved from my hometown newspaper from probably 30 years ago, the Mullens Gazette (Mullens, West Virginia). The writer was a nurse and nutritionist and recommended regular activity or exercise as well as drinking plenty of water and getting fresh air but not too much sleep. She even described rest as something besides sleeping or sitting in a chair. Dick Van Dyke says pretty much the same thing, I believe, and he's no nutritionist. But he is 92, so he might know what he's talking about. My mother-in-law, however, is 93 and does none of those things.

  13. I need to start drinking more water.
    I find if I have a bottle of water nearby, I will drink more.

    I eat all the time in small amounts when I get hungry instead of three full meals.
    I've lost weight because of this. Doctor said that was fine.
    But suggested to stay away from junk foods as much as possible.
    I sleep less now and will take short naps during the day.

    Doc says I'm in good shape, physically and mentally.
    Most of my friends my age do not (some cannot) stay active.
    I'm finding that the friends I share tennis or cycling now are younger
    and I enjoy their company.

    I enjoy driving my '46 truck to small towns and the country side.
    I can spend the whole day walking and visiting places.
    Sometimes if I like a particular scene, I will capture it on canvas.

    This hiking and oil painting is very relaxing for me.

    Earlier this morning, I got a text from a girl who is ranked in
    the top ten in women's tennis in my area who wants to play.

    This is my incentive to stay in shape...otherwise I won't stand a
    chance and will have a hard time keeping up with her! :D
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
  14. A hobby, to me, is anything you enjoy doing even if you don't get paid to do it. For me, writing is a chore and a task and a job. For others, writing is an enjoyable hobby, because they don't have to deal with the pressure of deadlines and the annoyance of editors.
  15. I find that I enjoy oil painting for myself. When someone is willing to pay me to do it, I feel good
    and take it as a compliment, but do not enjoy it as much, it becomes a chore.
    I only paint when the mood hits me, even if it's 3 or 4 in the morning.
  16. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Writing used to be a hobby, but now it's more like a job. Well, I take that back: it depends on *what* I'm writing. If I'm writing a blog post, it's not a job - it's a means of expressing myself. If I write in my diary, same. But when I write my magazine articles, that's a job. My novel writing is more of a job now since I have an agent and I'm trying to get published.

    Unfortunately, that means some of the joy has been sucked out of my writing practice. I've always told myself, "Write the first draft with your heart, and then the second with your head." Guess I need to go back to that way of thinking.

    I love to create mixed media art, but since we moved last year, all of that stuff is still packed up. I also love to embroider, but haven't done that in awhile, either.
    LizzieMaine likes this.
  17. There was a time when I used to sew for relaxation, but somewhere along the line it became something I did only when I needed something new to wear, or to patch something old. I think it was at the point when my vision deteriorated to the point where i had to wear a jeweler's magnification visor when doing hand-stitching -- I just don't *enjoy* it like I used to. But I still do it when I *have to.*

    Likewise repairing electronics. I used to fix radios or TV sets just for the fun of it, but, again because of my declining eyesight, I'll only do it now when something I use regularly breaks down and needs to be repaired.
    AmateisGal likes this.
  18. But you write here for enjoyment - no? If not, at least we enjoy that you write here.

    I love writing, but deadlines, pressures, editors, etc., of course, turn it into work. That said, it's a continuum, where writing what I want with no pressures is close to pure fun to some great work assignments (with some pressures) to pure torture assignments that you do for the money. That said, all along the continuum, I still derive some fun out of writing and some sense of achievement if it's done well. Said another way, since I have to earn money, I'd rather earn it writing than doing something I inherently dislike.

    That said, I don't really write for work anymore as the internet destroyed the value of financial writing (too many people will do it for free) and make my living managing and trading money (which I like, too, but talk about pressure for results - it has a very, very demanding client base in a very, very competitive field).
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
  19. Lately I find myself tinkering with old bicycles and parts putting them together
    which is very relaxing.
    Still enjoy oil-painting but my vision is not improving. So I limit that activity.
    Frustrating is when I misplace my eyeglasses and have to use old prescription
    broken pair to locate them.
    I also wear contact lenses. Sometimes I forget and fall asleep with them on.
    I wake up with dried up contacts and unable to open my eyelids.
    I crawl to the bathroom and splash water until I can see.

    First thing I see is Polo giving me the weirdest look.

    He is so fascinated and enjoys watching me for hours.
    I guess that's his way of relaxing....
    watching dummies like me. o_O

    vitanola likes this.
  20. I have too many hobbies. The ones I enjoy are sewing, wood burning, crocheting, baking, and spinning. I also like to cook. I probably like sewing the most.

    I write as part of my job. I enjoy it (and I wouldn't do the type of work I'd do if I didn't) but it is strictly work.

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