Achieving a relaxed state is, ironically, a stressful and difficult process for much of us. With modern technology scooping up any free time, making us more accessible to the outside world and extracting the privacy from our not-so-aptly named private lives- not to mention longer working hours, higher societal demands of performance, appearance and achievement- we are busier and more stressed than the generations before us. Yes, they had it tougher, but our generation is surprisingly whingy.
Not everyone is like this. I live with a man who is more zen-like than Dhalsim from Street Fighter. Stress doesn’t even get near him because his extra long arms and legs just smack it out of the way.
Bastard. Shifty priest-bag (sorry, I’m doing my best to give up swearing. As it turns out, it covered up my inability to effectively insult people- drat).
I am, on the other hand, a ball of stress. Seriously, I am a little stresticle hanging limply from Mother Earth (who was a dude in this analogy), wondering if that lump is benign or cancerous. Maybe I should get it checked out. But I’m shitting myself too much to go to the Doctor.
Fuckkkkkk. Gosh, darn it, Betty White. Oh god, I really need to curse.
Anyway, because it takes me a while to relax, I know that I have to make a conscious effort to de-stress and achieve relaxation*, whilst still maintaining my daily goals and duties. Here’s how to do it in five delightfully easy steps.
Numero Uno: GOAL IDENTIFICATION
Firstly, to enable relaxation, I must identify the things I want in life. What are my goals and how do I get there? If, like me, you hate yourself and think you are inadequate on every level, this stage is an opportunity for you to commit to completely changing your personality and tossing your old life aside like the sack of crap it is. From the offset, I like to set myself up for failure, and usually decide that as of tomorrow, I am going to ‘be perfect’. Nothing specific, just better and less of a shitty (I’ve heard the word ‘shitty’ on daytime TV before, folks, so it’s staying), disappointing failure. My idea of ‘being perfect’ is achieved by being more productive, thinner, more sassy (not like Fran Drescher), dressing better, being less weak, doing better than I’m doing at everything and generally being less of the crappy mess that I am. But this process also works for other unsustainable and generally doomed-to-failure expectations, such as ‘Cutting Out Carbs’, ‘Training For A Marathon In Twelve Days’, ‘Not Drinking Alcohol For As Long As I Live’ or
‘Fucking Vigorously Disposing of The Cigarettes In The Bin On A Whim And Giving Up For Good’.
In order to be better, you must say goodbye to your old lifestyle in an appropriate and healthy way. No, not by disposing of your old vices and getting a good night’s sleep in preparation for your new life, silly! By overdosing until you’re close to vomitting. If, as of tomorrow, you are no longer smoking cigarettes, smoke as much as possible as a ta-ta to the old you. Smoke twenty cigarette at a time. Smoke your sofa. Your lungs know you’re stopping tomorrow- they don’t mind and know not to get cancer anymore in lieu of stopping for good tomorrow. This is true.
Numero Dos: OPTIMISM
Start off the process with the blind optimism of someone who joins Weightwatchers on New Year’s Day, or Monday thereafter. Deprive yourself massively, you can do it! Change is easy. Push yourself to the brink of tears, and don’t allow yourself any slip-ups. Feel the burn,
Remember to optimistically update your Facebook with details of how you are now better than everyone else, usually via the use of inspirational song lyrics. I am rooting for you, serial self-improver. You definately won’t quit this in like, a day.
At this stage, seeing as I usually try ‘being perfect’, I choose to ignore that perfection is unachievable. I do not acknowledge that I have never managed to really achieve any of the individual components of perfection before, let alone them all at once. And here I am, at the gym at 11 p.m. because it’s the only time I’m free to go because I’m busy what with ‘being perfect’ every other waking hour. And some hours that should be allocated for sleep. But this is great, I love the new me. She is so much better than old,
ball-sack bastardface inadequate me of yesterday.
If weight loss via starvation is your achievement of choice, then at this stage I would recommend making your diet as unsustainable as possible by just generally being starving and weak all day. Don’t even dream of exercising so that you eat a bit more and feel better. Don’t implement any measures that might make your starvation more bearable, such as a ‘cheat day’ or healthy snacks. Remember that celebrating the small achievements will give you a sense of accomplishment and as such, help to spur you on. Therefore, do not celebrate the small accomplishments. I can’t believe you even let yourself get this out of shape. You don’t have accomplishments, just entities that partially rectify past failures. Focus on those past failures rather than current successes, you twat.
This type of punishing inner dialogue is an excellent source of discontent, spurring you on to keep going even though you are exhausted, weak and miserable. Keep it up!
Numero erm… Tri…o: INSOMNIA
At this point, I am usually pushing myself to the point of exhaustion, but am too stubborn to admit to anyone and keep telling everyone that ‘I love the new me’. Due to my relentless schedule and inability to stop trying to ‘be perfect’ because there is always room for self improvement, not to mention the fact that my body and mind have got used to running on empty, I usually suffer a bout of insomnia. In true ‘being perfect’ style, do I take some sleeping tablets and declutter my life so that I nip my insomnia in the bud? Do I fuck- I use my sleepless nights to carry out the joyless tasks that there weren’t enough hours for me to do during the day. I chuckle superiorly to myself thinking about how much of a non-chump I am by not needing sleep, while typing up my novel entitled ‘Fuck Everyone Who Is Sleeping’, and sinking slowly into insanity.
(Fuck it, the cursing is all I have- no more clean-living charade.)
Numero Quatro, muthafucka: DENIAL
At this stage, loved ones will try to intervene because they are ‘worried about you’. Don’t believe it- it’s just jealousy and lies because they can’t see anyone else be happy. Bunch of bastards.
Everything is going great and you definately aren’t about to burst at the seams and kill yourself or others. This feeling of utter despair is just a test to see how strong you are. You are a shell of your former self and have begun living nocturnally, and it’s likely to that you are a danger to society, but apart from that, you are doing great and everything is fine.
Start living as a recluse.
Numero Five-o: RELAXATION
Have a mental breakdown and go to hospital. Start to wise the fuck up to yourself and realise you may as well be dead if you keep living like this. At this point, I start to binge on all the things I’ve deprived myself through the pursuit of achievement, such as food, alcohol and love. I go out and get pissed and lie in a gutter, happy as a pig in shit on the outside, disgusted and damaged on the inside. I usually do this for about two weeks, until self-loathing starts to creep in. So, there you have it- non-deranged, unabusive, contented relaxation**. Fair enough, you’ve regressed back to a childlike state, and your mother is very worried, but whatevs. At least she’s making you some soup while you watch the TV. This is the life!
*Method cited may not actually provoke relaxation.
**’Relaxation’, in this context, refers to ‘Nervous Breakdown’.