According to the Oxford American Dictionaries, relaxation is “the state of being free from tension or anxiety”. While it does not take much to become stressed, it may require some effort to master the art of relaxation. For most moms, knowing how to relax is not the problem – it’s finding the time and the space to do it in.
Here are ten out of the box relaxation suggestions that are easy to invoke:
Play. When your children return from school and go outside to unwind from their day, join them. Kick the ball around. Start a game of tag. Move, laugh, and enjoy a few moments with your children. You will find that the burst of energy is revitalizing!
Nap. A brief nap during the day can positively impact your productivity. The key to napping is to lie down for twenty minutes. This will ensure you do not enter deep sleep which can make you feel groggy upon waking up. It may take a little experimentation to uncover the perfect naptime and nap environment that works best for you.
Invite yourself over. We all have friends who we can call when we are in our worst moments. Why not use the friendship for relaxation? Your girlfriend will understand exactly what you need when you say “I need some pampering". Let her make you lunch and relax together!
Garden. If you have a garden, get in it. Pull weeds. Decorate the walls. Taste the vegetables. Smell the flowers. If you don’t have a garden, visit the botanical gardens or find a community garden where you can sit, watch, or even help out.
Put on music. Sometimes, it’s just that simple. If you need a pick me up, play music that makes you dance. If your anxiety is high, find some peaceful music. When overwhelmed with housework, play something that will motivate and provide you with energy.
Engage in intercourse. When it’s good, it’s followed by a natural relaxation response. The relaxation is a result of rising and falling hormones – like dopamine. More recent research shows that individuals who have sex more often maintain lower blood pressure in stressful situations.
Bake. The mixing. The stirring. The measuring. The methodical pleasure of baking can help ease tension (not to mention the end product that is an added gift). Bake bread. Bake cookies. Invent something. Follow a recipe. For some, baking leads to a Zen-like relaxation.
Blow bubbles. Return to simple pleasures. What our children find delight in, so – too – can we. Bubbles are sold at any Target, dollar store, and many grocery stores. You can even make your own. Watch them float and allow peace to enter.
Shower massage. Do you have one of those showerheads with the adjustable settings? Take a ten-minute shower, and use the high-powered setting on your back. Quick relief, instant relaxation, and you’re ready to face your next task head on.
Use aroma. It’s hard to believe that a simple smell can ease tension. A few aromas that are known for their calming attributes are: chamomile, cinnamon, basil, lavender, and vanilla – to name a few. You can use essential oils in a bath, to make a spritzer, in a face mask, or directly on your pillow.
Reaching states free of tension and anxiety is essential to mom’s management of stress. Quite often, mom needs to think on her feet and be creative with her resources. I encourage you to use some of the above suggestions in your daily relaxation and to think outside of the box to come up with additional possibilities.