Jul 22, 2018

Just Relax

Just Relax photo

My first year in Japan I felt like a homeless person, and not only for the two weeks before I got into my apartment. Where I'd been living, on the west coast of the US, clothing is extremely casual compared with the Tokyo area. I also got the majority of my clothing from thrift stores and clothing exchanges because I had been mostly unemployed for a few years (2009-12, after being laid off during the recession).

I got the feeling that Japanese people all looked perfect all the time. So tidy, smooth straight hair, all super thin.

On time is fifteen minutes early.

Plus I felt like a baby in my Japanese ability.

Thankfully things were a little more relaxed in the countryside in the west corner of Ibaraki Prefecture. The principal at the school where I worked dressed like a farmer (and was hanging out gardening too) unless he had a meeting.

When I visited west Japan, it was even more laid back. People arrive only about five minutes early, or right on time. There are of course still suits and ties, but the requirement to wear them is more relaxed. Instead of a matching suit, it's more like business casual with a jacket a lot of the time. I feel living in this part of Japan suits me so much better than the Kanto region.

Even living in the more relaxed part of Japan, I have to remind myself to just relax, especially during the summer. Physically, I just can't maintain the energy to do the same things when it's around body temperature outside.

It's not that I need to be told to slow down, I know that now, but I need to stay busy with things I can handle or I'll get restless. I'm the type who can't go on vacation and just relax. I prefer working holidays.

As someone with ADHD, migraines, and sometimes mild depression, I have to be extra careful about the balance of busy.

Sometimes I need reminders not to compare myself with others. Maybe some of you can relate - I feel so lazy compared with Japanese people!

I need to be patient with myself, especially while living abroad and trying to do everything in Japanese. Being far away from friends and family is also a difficult thing.

Staying home in the air conditioning and watching videos or reading seems perfect, but I feel too restless if I do that. I feel guilty for not studying or going on an adventure.

My workload just got cut in half for the summer vacation, for about six weeks. It's great because I don't have to go out in the heat on my bike as often, but I can't handle staying home all day on my days off.  

What's your solution for staying just busy enough during summer vacation without melting or getting restless?



What if whales don't communicate with whale calls & they're just farting?


  • edthethe

    on Jul 22

    I had have the same struggle as you. Not feeling productive is a huge trigger for my depression, so I always need to feel like I've accomplished some thing. This sometimes means I put rest day as a goal. So read a book, practice kanji, or leant about something new that I never knee are my rat day goals. Paint my nails, dye my hair, or make a craft I've been wanting are rest day goals when I have energy. Going out and exploring despite the heat, incorporating exercise and fun for my son and that is my lots of energy 'rest day' these have to be prepped due to the heat with frozen pillow packets and frozen bottles of water, but are good for my mood.

  • helloalissa

    on Jul 23

    @edthethe Exercise helps me so much. Nighttime walks are nice when I'm not riding my bike to work (with the ice packs) during the daytime. I know we aren't the only ones who are having trouble with feeling genki during summer.