Relaxing – Let Me Count the Ways

Yesterday my Slice was about wanting to have a tantrum like a toddler. Today I am taking a healthier route and focusing on ways I can relax. Almost everyone is going through life at breakneck speed and trying to check off an ever-growing to-do list. There is so much on our plates – places we need to be – deadlines we need to meet – that focusing on ourselves usually takes a backseat in our day-to-day existence.

If you Google ways to relax, you will find site after site of suggestions on things to do to de-stress your body and mind. Some seem very doable, and some seem like they require too much effort – as silly as that sounds.

Here are some favorite strategies I use to help me relax which are quick and easy.

A Warm Beverage – I like to brew a cup of tea. Everything I have read indicates that it should be decaf, but I don’t always take that advice. My favorites are tea with lemon and sugar (I like it sweet!) and chai latte. I actually have the server in my dining room set up as a tea bar. My family knows how much I like tea and has kept me stocked with all the different flavors you might be able to imagine.

Breathe – Sometimes that’s all I need to do to de-escalate a stressful moment. First I try some focused deep breathing, and as time goes on, I try to bring my breathing back to a normal rhythm. It really works!

Progressive Muscle Relaxation – I use this before going to bed if I am having trouble settling in. I often use the CALM app for guided relaxation, but it is easy to do on your own. You just start with an area of your body and systematically tense different muscle groups then you release the tension and notice how your muscles feel when you relax them.

Hand Massage – I use this at school very often. All you need to do is take a favorite lotion and massage your hands – each joint – the webbing between each finger – the palm – the back of your hand – the wrist. Use your thumb and put pressure on each of these areas. Take your time and notice how it feels. I especially like to use Bath & Body Works Stress Relief lotion. It is eucalyptus and spearmint, and when I am finished massaging my hands I breathe it in and that is an extra calming benefit.

Stretch – I could never do yoga because of my bad knees, but now that I’ve had them both replaced I might try it. In the meantime, I stretch. I have a series of stretches I do to help my back, but when I am feeling stressed it helps to strategically stretch my neck and shoulders. I even have my students stretch when they have been reading or writing for a length of time. I tell them to reach up high like they are trying to get cookies from on top of the fridge and then reach way down to their toes. I can often see their faces soften after stretching.

These are a few of the many ways I try to relax. The problem is that I don’t do it often enough. You know what I mean. How many times do you find yourself clenching your teeth? Are your shoulders up by your ears at the end of the day? Remember to take time to relax. It is important!

I am sure you have your favorites as well. I loved to know what you do to relax.


8 thoughts on “Relaxing – Let Me Count the Ways

  1. Love and use most of your ideas here. Well, except for the tea. I never did acquire a taste for it. Of course, stress is as prevalent in my life now since retirement, but I also like to use my favorite lotion on my feet.!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just reading your post made me feel relaxed! I’ve never tried a hand massage, but that sounds lovely.
    I also like to relax with a nice hot cup of flavored tea at night. I feel very comfortable with a heated neck wrap and a weighted blanket. Of course, this winter was a little too warm for my weighted blanket, but I used it when I could.
    I’m glad to hear that you are much more relaxed today than yesterday! Lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great ideas, Rita. I’ve begun drinking decaf tea regularly with fresh lemon and sugar and I often employ deep breathing. Walking outside and playing the piano (not well) are my favorite relaxers. I can’t wait to give myself a hand massage…that’s a good one. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

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