Stresslaxation – The Anxiety That Appears When You Are Trying To Relax

Valentina Roman

7 minutes read

Now that we are all back from the summer vacation, we can draw the line and ask: did you manage to completely relax and forget about all your worries, did you stop from constantly checking your inbox while on holiday, and did you manage to put a stop to the constant flux of negative thoughts and problems?

It seems strange to feel anxious when you are doing what you like, when reading a good book, when climbing a mountain surrounded by nature or on a beach while sunbathing. But we are after all living in the century of speed and we are constantly running and trying to tick as many activities as possible in as little time as possible and this leads to more and more people having to deal with anxiety.

Studies show that between 30% and 50% of the people who are on vacation or who are trying to perform relaxing activities feel stress symptoms (such as an increased heart rate or perspiration). This unjustified state of anxiety which appears during the moments when theoretically we are doing relaxing activities has been named by the specialists, stresslaxing.

Here are the reasons that might lead to stresslaxing:


You refuse to recognize that there are some problems in your life or you want to pretend that you have everything under control even though inside you feel worried and scared, but you want to hide all that. On the short term, denial can help us cope with change in our lives. But if denial is used frequently in order to deal with everyday stress
factors, then it can be the source of constant blocks. Even if you can’t see it, when you are in denial about things that are evident in your life, your body keeps sending you stress signals in order to make you take action and solve your problems. This is the reason why trying (and failing) to relax instead of taking an action on the cause of your
stress can make you feel even more anxious.

You worry about what the others will say

It’s important to do relaxing activities, things that you are passionate about and not just because other people have
recommended them. If you go on vacation with your partner and he/she wants to spend the entire day laying in the sand while you dream of visiting museums, just do whatever makes you happy. Otherwise, frustrations will build up inside and they will lead to stress and sometimes spontaneous quarrels that seem to have started out of the blue.

You can’t make a decision

You want to stay on the beach and get a tan but at the same time you would like to be home, enjoying the air conditioning and watching your favorite movie. Making a decision about choosing a relaxing activity might seem fairly easy, but there are people who once they chose, can’t stop imagining alternative scenarios with all the possible options that they might have chosen or how it would have been had they chosen differently. For example, when someone who is very dedicated to his/her work is doing a relaxing activity they might blame themselves for the time they spend relaxing and enjoying some quiet time instead of using that day to get all those other things done.

You put a lot of pressure on yourself

I hear more and more people around me saying that they have to relax. And they make a point out of relaxing and they make up lists of movies/massage sessions/trips that they have to see, have or do and end up coming back from that activity more tired than before.

Accept the fact that a completely stress-free life is an illusion and that you have to learn how to manage the stress and not to run away from it looking for the salvation through too many relaxing activities. Sometimes, relaxation comes from a day that you choose to spend in your bed with your eyes closed.

Now that Christmas is right around the corner, make sure you spend your next vacation in such a way that you relax your mind and prepare yourself for a more peaceful/relaxed New Year.

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Written by Valentina Roman


I am a digital project manager with a 360° perspective, passionate about understanding what makes projects truly successful and why. I’ve worn every hat in the communication domain: from PR to marketing, from content writing to e-commerce growth strategies, from managing volunteers to business development, from CSR campaigns to product development and AI technologies.

In my spare time, I am writing for Pluria about my experience in managing diverse teams while directly reporting to high-profile senior managers. Take your moment to read my articles as I hope you will find them useful and inspiring!

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