Does relaxing make you more resilient?


Do you think this is a trick question?  Because we have always been told that if we relax we will feel better.

The truth is we do; the catch, unfortunately, is that it can be short-lived.

I remember working in an office, leading people, and needing a vacation.  This experience was long before I understood how it all worked if you know what I meant.  The workplace was full of urgent demands and I have to admit that I was addicted to that urgent way of being.  I prided myself in never meeting a problem that I was not prepared to take on.

stomach knots, and swirling thoughts

The lead-up to the vacation was filled with extra pressure as I needed to get everything done before leaving.  Being someone who was high on control and a self-proclaimed perfectionist, no one would be able to look after things the way I had.  And two weeks away seemed like an eternity. Finally, Friday arrives, and as I leave, I feel the knot in my stomach and the thoughts whirling in my head.

The first few days, I couldn’t sit still; it was like I was still there.  With some self-talk, things begin to settle about day 4.  For a week, I ease into a new way of being—liking the fact that I am on my own.  (I am an introvert hanging out in a very extroverted world).


And then it happens, I realized that my vacation will end in, but a few days and back to work I will go.  All of those feelings of regret and dread begin to flood me all over again.  I recognize it and start with some powerful self-talk.  Things like you should be grateful, you had a vacation, you are luckier than most, and on it goes.  I talk myself down and prepare to return.

day one

Day 1 goes well; I am excited to be back, enjoying the feeling with perhaps a bit more energy than when I left.




day two

Day 2 it happens.  I get triggered by something entirely unexpected.  All of the pre-vacation feels in my body floods back.  Then I make the telling statement – “It is like I never had a vacation.” 




Has this ever happened to you?

So how do we get to the bottom of this?  Well, relaxation doesn’t build resilience.  

Resilience is about our ability to bounce back or regain composure, and here are a few things that set it apart from the relaxation!

  • Building resilience is an “on purpose activity.”
  • Taking steps to regulate the messages that move between our brain and our heart is pretty straightforward.
  • You can build resilience on the go, and no one might even be aware of what you are doing
  • You can feel the difference in a few days with some practice

If you would like to hear more about what this could look like for you because you are tired of experiencing the same cycle time after time, let’s connect on a call to see what is possible.

Life is not meant to be hard!

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