Relaxed or tired?

By David Joel Miller

Can you tell the difference between relaxed and tired – most can’t.

Tired or Relaxed

Tired or Relaxed.
Photo courtesy of Flickr (Thomas Sobek)

Ever taken a vacation and come back more tired than before you left? Most of us have. Some of us are so used to pushing to accomplish things that a day off is a scary event. Stop running for even a moment and suddenly you realize how tired you are.

We live our life at such a frantic pace it can be a shock to our system to finally slow down.

Lots of people say they would like to be able to relax but when that opportunity finally occurs all they can report is that they are really tired.

This happened to me recently, or more precisely I finally recognized it was happening.

I mentioned a while back that I had taken up Yoga. Not in some fanatical religious conversion way, but just trying to do something structured that might help my flexibility and let me exercise without having to stay out in the heat or the rain. Being able to pick up things I drop on the floor and touch my toes again would be a plus.

Now our particular yoga class ends each session with a guided meditation. How common it is to do this I can’t say. Every yoga group I have ever attended has done it this way. But I can’t be all that confident with any conclusion drawn from a sample size of one.

What I have noticed is that by the end of the class, having attempted some postures, I am either so tired or so relaxed that I can’t remember much of what was said during the guided meditation.

This has caused me to wonder if I really can tell the difference between being relaxed and just plain tired.

Seems that I run from thing to thing so rapidly that I never have a chance to rest. When I finally do relax what I discover is the extent of my exhaustion.

This has led me to wonder if I or many of you are really ever able to relax. Or do we just run ourselves to the point of exhaustion and then when we stop to collapse call that relaxation.

Clearly, relaxation needs to mean more than just running out of energy.

So help me out here. Do any of you have ways in which you relax and if so how can you tell the difference between being relaxed and just plain exhausted?

From the number of coworkers who come back from vacations exhausted and needing a week or more to rest up from that vacation, I am suspecting that most of us, when we say relaxed what we really mean is drop down exhaustion.

What do you think? Relaxed or exhausted?

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books


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