Anti-Productivity: 30 Ways To Slow Down and Relax Like a Cat

Have you ever had a weekend, holiday, or lazy sick-day where your main intention was to relax, but you just couldn’t get your bang for the buck? Productive people often have trouble relaxing, because they’ve cultivated the Go-Habit. Don’t worry, by the time we’re done here, even your cat will be jealous!

Being able to relax is very important to regain our energy levels, concentration, and get us ready to be even more productive than before. Alas, many people push themselves after they’re tired and out of juice, which ultimately makes them less productive. A timely time-out pays productivity dividends.

30 Ways To Relax Like a Cat

“Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of
harmony and proportion is more readily seen.”

~Leonardo da Vinci

1. Finish Your Work. If you have a few more minutes of work left, finish, bag, and tag! It’s better to finish off a small loose end than to think about it when you should be relaxing. Don’t start another big project, that you know you won’t finish, until after you’ve completed your relaxing, in order to keep your mind on the present.

2. Massage, Sauna, & Hot Bath. When was the last time you rewarded yourself with the gift of relaxation by taking time out to concentrate on blissful restfulness? Get a one-hour massage, sit in a wet sauna for awhile, or make yourself a DIY hot bath at the house while listening to some relaxing music.

3. Beat-Out Your Tension. Beat the tension out at the gym, on the treadmill, or with the punching bag. You can do this without music or accompanied by some high-intensity music that will get your heart pumping. This might not sound too relaxing at first, but once you’re done exercising and the endorphins have overtaken your mind, you’ll be nothing short of relaxed.

4. Block Time. In order to alleviate guilt about taking the time off, go ahead and schedule in a block of time during which you can hang loose, and not worry about anything. This way your mind knows it can chill, and that when the time comes you can get back to 100% efficiency.

5. Turn Off Distractions. Tell whoever you need to that you’re unreachable and turn off your phone, door bell, and internet connection. No one can reach you with a task for you to do, bad news to stress you out, or for any other reason that would drag you out of your zone.

6. Dress for the Occasion. If you’re going to relax, do so in style. Warm sweat pants, pajamas, and loose hoodies are perfect to lounge around in. Make sure you have warm wooly socks to keep you snug as well.

7. Get ‘Extra’ Clean. We’ve all slothed around on a weekend morning without showering. We’re supposed to be relaxing, and no one is going to see or smell us anyway, right? Wrong! Before you set out on a day of relaxation, make sure you get extra clean, shower, shave, brush, floss, rinse, and put on clean clothes. You’ll feel like a million bucks!

8. Tea-Licious. Make yourself a nice cup of herbal tea, with extra anti-oxidants, and sit with a good book or mood music. I’m a sucker for honey, and recommend getting creamy honey to add to your tea. It’s better than sugar for those with a sweet tooth.

9. Moleskin It. Carry a trusty moleskin with you during your relaxation time, and journal whatever is on your mind. You might come up with some great insights or ideas. You might also have a work-related thought, which you’ll be able to jot down so that you can stop thinking about it for now.

10. Full Out Write. Go ahead a write a story about your life, or some kind of a fiction story that can change the world or teach someone a lesson. I personally find writing to be very relaxing, which makes my work day very stress-free.

11. Release Your Tension. If you’ve got a problem on your mind, don’t just let it fester there. Take a piece of paper and start journaling. Vent into the paper, and write down exactly what’s wrong. When you’re done, go ahead and toss that paper into the garbage, and with it the stress.

12. Visualization Exercises. Without leaving the house, you can go away on a spectacular journey, full of white sand beaches, powdery snow, tantalizing sights, and demonizing dragons. Sit down, close your eyes, and let your mind trip (go raw: no drugs necessary!)

“To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization,
and at present very few people have reached this level.”

~Bertrand Russell

13. Thank You Letters. Take some time out to think about the people in your life that deserve a thank you letter. Get a stack of cute postcards, and write a short message to someone you just met, or someone you appreciate.

14. Baking. Baking fills your house with a sweet aroma, and makes for a great treat for your family and friends. The act of being creative, combined with doing something for others is always a treat!

15. Read a Book. Find the perfect fiction novel and escape into another world.

16. Breathing Exercises. Practice breathing in slowly for a 10 count, and then exhaling for a 10 count. Do this a few times in a row and as you breathe out, let go of your worries.

17. Lavender. Spray your bedsheets with lavender and lay down.

18. Stretching and Yoga. Last time I tried Yoga, I ended up hurting my back, but then again it was already hurt before I started. You might want to give this one a shot for yourself.

19. Lay on The Beach. Bask in the sun as you run your fingers through the sand and listen to the waves crashing as the tide comes in.

20. Fishing. Grab a beer and a buddy and head out early in the morning before the sun comes out. Enjoy a great conversation, or quietly reflect on life, and share in every victory as you snatch those suckers right out of the water (now that’s animal cruelty, isn’t it?)

21. Camp Fire. Enjoy the whole process of collecting kindle, starting a fire, and sitting in front of the whispering flames as you tell ghost stories!

22. Grow a Garden. Gardening can tell you a lot about life, such as the changing seasons, sowing and reaping, and it gives you the perfect opportunity to think about life as you work.

23. Picture Collage. This is what you need. A big poster board, pictures of yourself and the people you love, a glue stick, scissors, markers, oh and…. your imagination!

24. Declutter. Clean up your living space, so that everything is clean and tidy. Your living quarters will make you relaxed just looking at them.

When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves,
it is useless to seek it elsewhere.

~Francois de La Rochefoucauld

25. Slow Music. Whether you’re listening to classical/jazz music, or playing the instrument yourself, it’s always relaxing to make yourself a part of a slow song.

26. Lie on a Hammock While Being Fed Grapes. Umm, this is where Marina chimed in. I guess this is her personal fantasy. To each their own!

27. Say No. Don’t take on any responsibilities. Say no to people’s incessant requests and just take time for yourself.

28. Say Yes. Sex is very relaxing.

29. Get Cuddled. Ok, this is getting too cute… kinda like kittens, but it is relaxing, so try it!

30. Pet & Nag Your Cat. If you own one of these furry-creatures, then go ahead and hold them, while telling them about the stresses you are going through. They’re soft, warm, and complacent, meaning they’ll actually listen to you no matter how much you nag at them.

Final Words

At the end of the day, relaxing is a very personal and subjective way to pass time. You’re more than welcome to try any of the tips above, they work, but what’s even better is to find something that is personal and effective for you.

I’m sure that you already have certain things that you do, those that I didn’t mention above, and I would love it if you’d let me know about it in the comments below. Give us your most unique tip, or name your favorite from the list above, I’d love to hear from you either way!

Please vote for this article on StumbleUpon and Digg, I’d appreciate it!

Images by Piez and florencetime

Posted by in Featured, Productivity | December 14, 2008 | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumble | Print | 27 comments

  • http://www.successprofessor.ca Success Professor – Danny Gamache

    Great list Alex. My top choices are the massage and hot bath! I also enjoy reading blogs, listening to podcasts and treating myself to a meal out or delivery.

  • http://www.sportsnetworker.com Lewis

    This is a great list for anyone to chillax and take it easy for once. It’s tough to be productive when your are over extended, so thanks for putting together this info to help us decompress, and appreciate the finer things in life.

    Lewis

  • http://www.thebridgemaker.com Alex Blackwell

    I like “Say No” the most. Too often, I try to be all things to all people. This leaves very little for me. Thanks for the great list Alex.

  • http://www.alexshalman.com Alex Shalman

    @Danny – A man after my own heart. Let me know what is your favorite type of massage. I don’t splurge on these too often, only a couple of times really, but I’ve come to find out that there are SO MANY KINDS.

  • http://jennymannion.com/healpain Jenny Mannion

    Hey Alex, Happy 2 years blogging! GREAT tips and I love and use SO many tips on this list; journaling, bath, HOT shower, relaxing my mind by meditating or visualizing…. you got my faves on there Alex! And my weakness as well…. saying “no”… I’m workin’ on it! :-) Congrats! Love, Jenny

  • http://www.alexshalman.com Alex Shalman

    @Jenny Yes, it seems that saying no is hard for you and @Alex as well.

    Thanks for the 2 years. Two years blogging is officially on December 15th, 2008.

  • http://yinvsyang.com PJ_Normz

    #30 always works like a charm for me…that is till I get bit ;)

  • http://www.alexshalman.com Alex Shalman

    @PJ If you get bit, this means you stroked it too hard =) Let me stress “GENTLE” ;)

  • http://www.greatmanagement.org greatmanagement

    Great list, Alex. I love cooking so number 14 jumps out for me.

    Andrew

  • http://twitter.com/frank_einstien jesvin

    If money can buy you love or happiness, its definitely a cat/dog!

    For me its my (mostly indoors) exercise routine and deep breathing.

  • http://mind-mart.com/mindset/stress-management-and-journaling Clara

    Substitute a toy poodle for the cat. Mine likes to drape herself around my neck like a scarf. Better than aromatherapy.

  • http://www.alexshalman.com Alex Shalman

    @Jesvin “If money can buy you love or happiness, its definitely a cat” LOL, definitely quote worthy. The only problem is, I don’t think you have encountered an animal that doesn’t like you. You still have to be nice to them, or they’ll hate you!

  • http://www.healthmoneysuccess.com/443/what-everyone-ought-to-know-about-renewing-yourself/ Vincent

    Hi Alex,

    Thanks for the list and I particularly like point number 5. In this modern world, many of us carry a cellphone and surf on the net excessively. By switching off our phone and not using the internet, we can really avoid lots of distraction.

    Relaxing is definitely useful because it is just like sharpening a saw before using it. Sharpening a saw will help us be more efficient in sawing and it works the same as relaxing and renewing ourselves.

    I did an article that elaborate on the importance of renewing ourselves, maybe you will be interested in it.
    http://www.healthmoneysuccess.com/443/what-everyone-ought-to-know-about-renewing-yourself/

    Cheers
    Vincent
    Personal Development Blogger

  • http://www.somedaysyndrome.com Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome

    Great list, although fortunately I have no problems relaxing. Well, actually I do, but since instituting rules (like no work after dinner nor on weekends) I find it very easy to relax.

    Basically take away the temptation and I’m good to go! (or in this case not to go) ;)

  • http://danmassicottespositiveliving.com Daniel Massicotte

    Thanks for this Alex. I just discovered your blog from Simple Dollar.

    This list will be great to put in action this evening; I have 3 final exams between tomorrow and friday.

  • http://www.jayfrawley.com Jay

    Funny- I was just looking at my cat today and thinking what a life she has. One thing I suggest is to grab that moleskin and turn to a clean page and just simply throw down the gratitude. We all have many things to be thankful for- sometimes we have to remind ourselves of that. When you are done I dare you to be stressed! :-)

  • http://brandon-gilbert.blogspot.com Brandon Gilbert

    its easy to get sucked into a workaholic mentality, but it must be balanced with relaxation and peace.

    i really appreciate the practical and easy to use action steps.

  • http://www.marketleverage.com MLDina

    I have a pretty hard time relaxing; I usually feel like I’m wasting time. I loved your suggestions, and am seriously considering scheduling a massage after the stress of the holidays!

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  • http://www.yungdrew.com Yung Drew

    Nice tips here Alex… ANTI-PRODUCTIVITY is SEVERELY underrated today! People definitely gotta take time out and just CHILL OUT sometimes.

  • http://www.thejewspot.org Monica

    Number five already gives me anxiety, but I was actually thinking about number 10 recently. Writing about oneself, or fiction of our imagination, is a great way to relax and just reconnect with our own thoughts before getting bombarded with everyone else’s. Bringing a journal is also great. I find my best ideas come to me when I have no intention of writing.

    I love the thank you letters – as it seems to always be in the back of our minds who we might have forgotten about or thank. And the hammock and grapes sound wonderful, Marina. I’m with you girl!

  • http://www.getyoursuccessnow.com Rigdha

    Amazing tips Alex! The one I do everyday is #3. I love my treadmill…definitely doesn’t sound relaxing but it’s worth every bit of it especially for major stresses that have your mind running in several directions and just won’t let you relax! Plus, you get a decent work out too!

    Oh yeah…and treadmill + inspiring music = brand new chance at getting that thing (whatever is stressing you out) done…

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  • http://www.twitter.com/spiritplanner Gerry

    Thanks Alex, great tips, fun pics and smart composition. Taking your cue, I’m unplugging Saturday to do simple fun writing, very relaxing. Also to do things ‘slow’ that are usually rushed, like food shopping, cooking and eating.

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