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Why Can't I Relax?

boundaries exhaustion mindset negative emotions self-care self-compassion wellness Dec 25, 2021
Woman sits holding her head in her hands against a sofa by 1388843 of Pixabay
Doctoring during a global pandemic aside, many women I talk to struggle with relaxing, myself included. When we have the time to relax, we find we can’t. We can’t sit still on the couch, can’t focus on a book, can’t take a nap, maybe also struggle with falling asleep.
It doesn’t make sense, right? We’re exhausted, and yet…
We forget our animal nature.
In our highly rational, intellectual minds, we should be able to “handle” anything, including relaxing. But we forget how trauma, stress, hypervigilance, anxiety, etc show up in our bodies. We hold tension in our muscles; sit back for a moment, and tell me, right now, how do your shoulders feel? Are you clenching your jaw? Holding your breath?
Does it make sense that your body just “lets go” of that simply because there is a free block of time on your calendar? Nope.
Are we doomed?
No, thankfully, you are not doomed. But, if you are struggling to “just relax” it’s time to look at what you are doing and not doing. Are you scrolling your phone constantly, looking for dopamine hits, or are you taking some time to move and stretch? Are you breathing shallowly, restricting your body, holding onto your emotions, or are you pausing to take deep breaths throughout your day.
Meditation and thought work aside, are you taking care of the stress in your body? Are you finding ways to release the tightness, and control that you keep all day?
If not, time to start.
What now?
Moving your body in certain ways can start to release the tension, even in short amounts of time. Intense movements, such as sprinting or really dancing your heart out to a favorite song are good. Box breathing, or other slow breathwork are excellent. Crying, deep laughter, humming and rocking can also be helpful for releasing energy.
If you want to be able to relax your body when time allows, start to build a few of these into your day, on purpose, to release stress. It won’t happen instantly, but by learning to release tension held in the body, your body will respond.
And then maybe, you can start to relax.

Hi There!

I'm Megan. I'm a Physician and a Life Coach and a Mom. I created this blog to help other Physicians and Physician-Moms learn more about why they feel exhausted, burned-out and overwhelmed, and how to start to make changes. I hope that you enjoy what you read, and that it helps you along your journey. And hey, if you want to talk about coaching with me, I'm here for that too! I offer a free 1:1 call to see if we are a good fit. Click the button below to register today.

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