Kick Back, Relax

Whenever I try and take slow, deep breaths to relax, I feel like I’m giving myself an internal service error. At which point, I put my breathing back on auto-breathe and act like I didn’t try to manually control it. The body is smart, I’ll let it do it’s thing.

This blog post is in response to Aaron’s weekly prompt. Since today is National Relaxation Day, his prompt is “Relax“.

I was going to get into what I had intended on writing about, but I’m too distracted by the recommendations Google has for how we can relax our mind and body.

Soothing music. What classifies as soothing music? Is it just ocean noises with the periodic “Caw Caw”, to keep you on your toes? Or, is it just music you like that doesn’t have any thumps in it?

It’s like when a fitness instructor says, “legs should be shoulder width apart”. Okay, but how far is that, exactly? When did our shoulders become a unit of measurement?

I just want specifics.

Anyway, when I see the word, “relax”, I think back to watching TVO Kids as a child. For the non-Canadians reading this, it was like Nickelodeon. There would be an after school lineup of children shows, with hosts in a studio.

The hosts would say, “Kick back, relax”. I didn’t know what “kick back” meant, but I assumed it meant I should lay down on the couch and kick the far arm rest, as a way to get comfortable and “relax”.

Brilliant boy, I was.

And as I thought about writing that in this post, I remembered the Friday Night Football song for the CFL on TSN in the early 2000s. The song had the lyric, “kick back, relax”. The song was great. I miss it.

Was there something about that era – late 90s, early 2000s – where “kick back (and) relax” was a popular phrase people said? Maybe it’s just a coincidence. I’m just here to connect the dots.

To me, relaxation occurs when I am doing something, while also doing nothing. It is the act of being on a couch, while staring at a television screen. Or laying on a bed and listening to music, that may or may not be soothing. Caw Caw.

Another weird thing just popped in my mind.

The ol’ “picture the audience in their underwear” line, as a way to get you to calm your nerves when speaking in front of a group of people. I never understood that. That’s too much mind work. Can’t I just picture them looking uninterested and bored?

Remember presentations in front of the class? You held onto the paper with both hands because if you were to hold it with one, it would start shaking uncontrollably? I feel like that happened to everyone at least once.

I always hated sitting through the presentations before mine. That was worse than actually giving the presentation. The anticipation killed me. Once I got in front of the class, I knew I would deliver as long as I wasn’t missing a cue card.

Maybe it was growth through experience, but presentations in university weren’t that bad. I was fairly relaxed for most of them.

The trick, for me, was a combination of: being prepared, not having a script, and not over-rehearsing.

I would have my bullet points and know what I wanted to saw for each. To practice, I’d pace back and forth in my room while saying the words under my breath. I never wanted to get too attached to the same verbiage every time, in fear of sounding robotic. I wanted to save my best performance for the class.

“We’ll do it live!”

There was one time my group wanted to practice, and practice, and practice the presentation. It got to the point where I said I wasn’t going to practice my part again. I knew it, I didn’t want to overdo it.

That presentation was only out of 10 marks. Two marks were going to be given for making the audience laugh. That was to encourage us to make it fun.

My portion was one of the two parts of the presentation where laughs were possible. Sure enough, I had the lecture room laughing, and I attribute that to not over-rehearsing.

Anyway, I have rambled on long enough about things that barely definitely relate back to Aaron’s prompt.

I bid you an adieu.

Caw Caw.

How do you relax? How were you with school presentations?

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13 Responses to Kick Back, Relax

  1. gigglingfattie says:

    Haha shoulder’s width apart is for your own balance and body alignment Paul 😂

    I hate presentations but also thrive on them. Especially as a teacher it’s a weird thing. Every day is a presentation of sorts and you have to keep the little munchkins interested. And if its something I’ve never done before then it’s a little terrifying.

    This one time in teacher’s college, I had to do a group presentation. The whole year I had a core group of friends. 4 of us. But this was in Marchish and we had to take in one guy who didn’t have a group. He threw off our ENTIRE dynamic! We had to engage the audience and we decided on a debate. And this guy butted heads with me a lot. And somehow, it ruined 2 out of the 3 other friendships! I have no idea how! Apparently I made one girl cry (again no idea how) and then “the lead personality” took her side. When it was time to put together the power point, my slides only had bullet points cos, like you, I would fill in the info. Well they decided we needed every word up there and when we practiced these 2+guy laughed and tore my section apart because I was “saying so much” but they just stood and read from the screen? To this day I have no idea what I did or said. But that was the end of those friendships….

    After that huge long comment, I’m not gonna tell you how I relax because it will be in my own post for Aaron which I still need to write LOL but I will add here “sending Paul random insta posts” because that is quite relaxing since they are usually about pandas or tv shows we both enjoy lol


    • Paul says:

      Now I’m even more confused about shoulder width lol

      That sounds like the group project from hell. How could one person cause so much damage!?! Reading from the screen and adding no additional words of your own should be an automatic fail for whoever does that. One of my high school English teachers didn’t allow us to use Power Point for our presentations and I’m so glad he made that rule. He said they were too distracting for the audience and he’d rather have us read off a page, so we covered everything we had to.

      Liked by 1 person

      • gigglingfattie says:

        LOL why are you so confused 😂😂

        And I honestly have no idea what happened! Like I know sometimes I am not the most compromising person so maybe I just pushed too hard on something I wanted? The crying girl was pregnant so hormones probably came into play. But still – no one filled me in on what went wrong. And after that I only saw the girls at graduation and even another classmate commented on how cold they were towards me. 🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️

        And I agree with powerpoint! Ive learned to be ok with not focusing on them but they are distracting

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Woahhh the details that continue to come out from that group project. Could probably make a documentary out of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gigglingfattie says:

        😂 for sure

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Relax | The Confusing Middle

  3. Sabrina B says:

    Not gonna lie, the image of you kicking your feet up on a couch, laying back, listening to some soothing music, and then hearing a CAW CAW and jumping a foot in the air really cracked me up.

    In elementary school I was really nervous during presentations. I would barely look up from my paper or cue cards, I would be shaky and nervous, I’d dread it any time I knew a presentation was coming. Funnily enough, I loved drama class, and I loved dance performances, I was in the school choir, I’d read over the announcements, I did introductions at student talent nights. But just reading a speech out loud or presenting a project? HATED IT. Then somehow by like grade 10 I became the person volunteered to speak in group projects and who was known for being good at presentations and speeches and wasn’t nervous at all for them. Guess my brain finally got the memo that speeches and presentations were no different than all these other things that didn’t make me nervous at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Haha you’re welcome for that visual.

      I would get nervous for presentations in elementary school too. I don’t think I knew anyone who wasn’t. It was just a foreign concept to us…we’d spend every day at a desk and all of a sudden, once every few months, we actually had to stand and talk? Terrifying. I remember a Grade 7 French presentation, the teacher FILMED IT while we presented in front of the class and then we all watched every presentation on TV so the teacher could mark it. Everyone laughed at everyone and it was very uncomfortable hearing our voices.

      I think I was (more) comfortable with presentation in university because most of the time they were related to sports and I was confident about that. That’s probably why you were always good with drama and dance presentations. That’s where you were most comfortable. Look at this psychology I’m spewing lol

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sabrina B says:

        Oh my god that sounds like TORTURE!! I never like hearing myself speak on video as is, never mind in front of the whole class?? That just seems unnecessary.

        Hahaha I mean it’s definitely a possibility! It makes sense you’d be more comfortable in a situation where you feel like you have the knowledge or know what you’re doing. I’m sure theres some behaviourial science behind that

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        It was truly awful. Not only did we have to hear ourselves talk, but it was also in French, and we had to see our body language for the entire presentation. Traumatizing.


  4. rebbit7 says:

    If I’m looking for something to instantly relax me, it’s a glass of wine after the end of a work week. Otherwise, it’s after I do a hard workout (with all of the endorphins coursing through me), or blogging! Watching YouTube videos helps, too. I was utter garbage when it came to school presentations, but after working as a teacher for several years, giving presentations don’t make me very nervous anymore. It’s the mindset of knowing that the audience really aren’t judging you as hard as you are (“one’s own worst critic” is a saying for a reason), and even if you mess up, the audience either doesn’t notice or are sympathetic to you. That calms nerves anytime!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Love watching YouTube videos to relax! That’s a good point about giving presentations. The audience always thinks the person knows what they’re doing and is in control. And unless they visibly mess up, few will notice because not many are paying close attention anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: The week gone by — Aug. 22* – A Silly Place

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