a better mode at home than pseudo-relaxation
January 2, 2012 8:38 PM Subscribe
For those who find "relaxing" completely un-relaxing, how do you cultivate a strong activity and project based home life?
posted by elephantsvanish to human relations (11 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Growing up, I identified strongly with activities like reading, learning new things on my own, listening to music -- things that tend to take me away from people. As time has gone on, I've realized that while I still value this kind of introspection and careful listening, I care most about people and relating to them. I also go a little crazy in their absence. In my first year of post-college apartment living, I've put a lot of energy into making new connections, creating a social club, maintaining long-distance friendships, etc. I appreciate a lot of the new connections and opportunities that have come from these efforts, for sure.
But my balance at home still isn't where I want it to be. In just a few hours, my extroversion people-meter starts binging and I can't concentrate on what I'm doing. I'll read for a bit, or learn a little Python, and the anxiety-depression flare will abate. But I can't shake the feeling that Home, rather than being a sanctuary or a place where I can build new experiences, is just this kind of self-indulgent space, and that really doesn't appeal to me.
I've read many of the excellent AskMeFis on extroversion, as well as how to take care of yourself/be mindful. I've also reflected upon what I'm feeling and came to the conclusion that, yes, at some point my home life will be a fulfilling and warm experience with family, etc. I've had lively college houses that provided that. But at this exact moment, what I really want to do is adopt a kind of fire and mindset of work and service. If I'm not doing my day-job, which is national service, I want to be either volunteering or working on a project. I don't want to go off the deep-end with being overambitious here, I just want a change from the sulky un-relaxing relaxation time I keep finding myself in. Perhaps this goes back to a deeper underlying anxiety, and if so, I wouldn't mind focusing on that. But in any case, the built up habits of just kind of reflecting/wandering about my home space does not compute at all with what I desire, and I'm tired of these mini emotional rollercoasters each night. (One little thing that jumps out at me, upon preview, is that I did grow up in an emotionally abusive household. Is there any chance I'm just experiencing an adult version of walking-on-eggshells?)
I would love to hear any thoughts about how people have dealt with their alone/personal/relaxation time just being agitating, and strategies to structure that time to be more deliberate and committed.
(The spirit of this quote kind of hovers over this question: “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”)