Home » Blogs » Happily Imperfect » How to Relax and Enjoy Some Down Time

How to Relax and Enjoy Some Down Time

How to Relax

A lot of Americans get time off from work during the holidays. If you’re working customer service or in another industry where this is your busy season, maybe you can tuck these ideas away for when you do get a break.

However, time off doesn’t automatically result in rest and relaxation for many perfectionists and Type A personalities.

It’s hard for some people to relax. Does this sound like you?

  • routinely work long hours
  • rarely sit down with your family during a meal or movie (in your home)
  • pride yourself on having a strong work ethic
  • complain that others don’t work as hard as you do
  • goal-driven
  • feel like there’s always one more thing to do
  • “fun” is a low priority
  • your family complains that you work too much
  • rarely take a vacation

If relaxing doesn’t come easily to you, think of it as a skill that you can learn and practice. But if you’re going to invest in relaxing and enjoying down time, you first need to see its benefits.

Why is rest and relaxation important?

  • Decreases stress
  • Helps you sleep better and feel better physically (such as decreasing blood pressure and headaches, fewer colds)
  • Increases productivity
  • Strengthens relationships
  • Increases happiness
  • Improves focus and accuracy
  • Results in more energy
  • Improves decision-making skills

Do you need help learning to relax?

In my experience, most perfectionists and Type A personalities have a hard time relaxing and allowing themselves to rest or enjoy recreation. You can start small.

Even if you believe it’s important, finding balance between work and fun/relaxation is challenging for perfectionists. I find that making small, incremental changes are the most realistic. Small changes also create less anxiety. Instead of thinking about spending a whole day on rest of fun, consider committing to two hours of no work of any kind.

Ways to relax include:How to Relax and Rest

  • take a nap
  • spend time with your children
  • spiritual practices
  • meditation
  • take a walk
  • a date with your partner
  • listen to music
  • a hobby
  • visit or call a friend
  • stretching
  • do nothing at all
  • reading for pure pleasure
  • play a game
  • technology-free day
  • see a movie

Like most things, there isn’t a one-size-fits all solution. You’ll need to experiment and find what helps you relax. But like learning anything new, you’ll need to be intentional when it comes to rest, relaxing, and enjoying your time off.

Thanks for reading! I’ll only be posting once this week and once next week as I’m practicing what I preach! I hope you all have a restful and enjoyable holiday.


There’s more inspiration, healing, and motivation!

Please join me on Facebook and Twitter.

images courtesy of

How to Relax and Enjoy Some Down Time

Sharon Martin, LCSW

Sharon Martin is a licensed psychotherapist and codependency expert practicing in San Jose, CA. She is the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism: Evidence-Based Skills to Help You Let Go of Self-Criticism, Build Self-Esteem, and Find Balance and several ebooks including Navigating the Codependency Maze.  

To learn more, visit Sharon's website. And please sign-up for free access to her resource library HERE (worksheets, tips, meditations, and resources for healing codependency, perfectionism, anxiety and more).

No comments yet... View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Martin, S. (2015). How to Relax and Enjoy Some Down Time. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 22, 2020, from


Last updated: 23 Dec 2015
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.