The Real Meaning of Relaxation
The dictionary defines relaxation as "the state of being free from tension and anxiety."
What is true relaxation?
Typically, relaxation is lying around and doing whatever you love most just because you can. It can mean getting a massage or going to the nail salon. It can be reading or playing video games or listening to music. The list goes on. We all have our own perfect definition of relaxation. Mine would be laying in my bed without interruption and reading my favorite book or watching my favorite show. I might even go the extra mile and have my favorite drink and snack by my side. Relaxation is peaceful. It's a positive state of mind that one can go to.
Relaxing versus resting with MS
However, with MS, it's not always that simple. The other night I had gotten to bed early, and as I lay there, I had a realization. I realized that sometimes, I relax just because I want to. So many times, I crawl into bed from extreme fatigue or pain or because I feel unwell. As I lay in bed that night, I was reminded of what it feels like to lay down and relax, not because of necessity, but because I enjoy it. I had somehow convinced myself that my usual "relaxation" was actually relaxing. Instead, it was giving my body time to rest and recoup until I had to get up again.
Relaxing and resting can both be beautiful things. They're both necessary and healthy parts of life. However, they've become things I've forgotten to truly enjoy. On the nights where I relax just because I can, it's as if everything else melts away. MS, my worries, my fears, my never-ending to-do list.
Soaking in the peace
As I lay in bed, the stillness washes over my body, a state of complete, relaxed bliss. My mind is always running a thousand miles a minute. Still, I'm feeling too peaceful to worry about what needs to be done in this state of relaxation. I'm too comfortable to get up. It's not worth losing this blissful moment. With MS, there are many days we lay around because we have to. We cannot find the strength or energy to get up unless needed. This wasn't the kind of moment where I didn't get up because I couldn't. It was because I didn't want to. Knowing that if I did want to get up, I had the energy to do so, but I was too happy and content to want to. The little things like this I often overlook and take for granted.
The benefit of the choice
It's invigorating to have this notion. Just the thought of relaxing for fun. To know, "I CAN if I want to." I feel as though nothing limits me in those moments, not even MS. I love the feeling of my body sinking into the bed without being too fatigued to actually enjoy it. To enjoy being still without feeling like I have to go to sleep at that moment. To enjoy staying up later than average to binge-watch Netflix just for the heck of it. It's the freedom from worrying about how the fatigue might wreak havoc on tomorrow and instead just enjoying the feeling of normalcy for a moment.
The joy in relaxing
I forgot what it was like for a while. It was such an eye-opening reminder that relaxing is supposed to be enjoyable; because you want to, not because you have to. Knowing you can enjoy it without wishing you could find the strength to get up and get going. To continue pushing through the MS symptoms that plague our bodies. These moments of true relaxation don't often happen lately, but I'm reminded to soak in every last drop when they do.
What is your experience?
I genuinely hope for feelings of true relaxation and rest for you all. May we all have more time for relaxation due to enjoyment instead of bad MS days. Do you ever have moments where you relax just because you want to? Have you forgotten what it's like like I did? I would love to hear your thoughts and favorite things to do while you relax and enjoy genuine moments of peace.
Here's to relaxing days ahead, and cherishing every moment!
How well do people around you understand MS?