PS: Somber Sunday…time to RELAX

It’s dark, dull, cold, and rainy outside today. This, to me, is a PERFECT Sunday.

I want to take advantage of being home and look into new ideas to relax. Life is life and along with many happy moments also comes stress, anxiety, and tension. I thought I would share “8 Easy Ways to Relax” from an article I came across on Active.

 

1. MEDITATE
Meditation can be a great way to relax, especially if you are under a lot of stress. Research has shown that meditation can be helpful in lowering heart rate and blood pressure, and even improving cognitive performance.

And meditation is pretty simple to do: just find a comfortable place, close your eyes, relax your muscles, and focus on ONE thing, whether it’s your breathing, an object (a flower, or a painting) — or even a picture in your mind — perhaps you are sitting on a beach in the Caribbean. You can do this for as little as 10 minutes to experience benefits. The key is staying focused and not letting any distractions or thoughts enter your mind — being mindful is key. If you have a bit more time, take a yoga or tai chi class — both incorporate mediation, along with physical movements.

I have never really attempted to Meditate or take anything like a yoga class, but the more I read, my friend, Teresa’s blog the more I get interested in yoga. I have heard from numerous people that the moment you take one class you feel so much better and never want to try anything else. So who knows, maybe I will get into this one day!

 

2. DRINK GREEN TEA, AVOID CAFFEINATED BEVERAGES
Green tea is very soothing — it contains theanine, an amino acid that gives flavor to green tea and also promotes relaxation. It is also thought that theanine is a caffeine antagonist, meaning it counters the stimulating effects of caffeine. So, drink green tea, and avoid caffeinated beverages, since caffeine can worsen the stress response.

I did this not too long ago. I quit coffee and soda and only had water and green tea and I can honestly say that I felt wonderful – I felt healthy! But of course, stress and insomnia kicked in and with that I turned back to my forgotten friends soda and coffee. Currently I am, practically addicted to, drinking caffeine – be it coffee or soda but I PROMISE to stop today and go back to water and tea – I’ll take the headaches for 3 days – as long as it means that by the end of the week I will feel great.

 

3. CONSUME SEROTONIN-BOOSTING FOODS
Many of us crave indulgent carbohydrates like cookies, candy, ice cream, pretzels, and other sweet and starchy foods when we’re stressed, anxious, or tense. These foods can have a soothing effect in some women, and it may have something to do with low serotonin levels during these mood states. Serotonin is a brain chemical responsible for feelings of calmness and relaxation. It’s thought that consuming these carbohydrates helps boost serotonin levels, which results in feelings of contentedness and relaxation. So, enjoy these treats if they provide some instant satisfaction, but do watch your portion sizes! I recommend 100 calorie portions — 4 Hershey Kisses, or a small handful of pretzels. You may want to pre-portion out pretzels, for example, and take them with you as a snack when you leave the house. The 100 calorie packs work well too.

WELL – this have been doing for YEARS already :P! Probably my best way to relax – just need to work on the portion control is all!

 

4. CREATE A RELAXATION ROOM AT HOME
Many spas have relaxation rooms to sit in before and after treatments, and it’s a great thing to create at home too. A relaxation room doesn’t have to be a “room” per se — it can be a space in your bedroom, for example, but the key is having an area or room at home, solely devoted to relaxing. You can have a really comfortable chair or daybed, with dim lights, or candles nearby — whatever it is that you enjoy and find relaxing. This will give you an opportunity to decompress, with very little stimulus — this is key. Forget the blackberry, cell phone and laptop — this is a time to kick back and relax. You might want to read a book or magazine, but the idea is to clear your mind of distractions and stressors.

My relaxation place is my bed with my laptop or a book. I enjoy being in my bed in complete silence – usually when my oldest daughter is in school and my youngest is taking a nap – it’s my time to just be in silence. But, I do like the idea of dedicating a whole room to relax – maybe one day ;-).

 

5. LISTEN TO YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC
Listening to soothing music can be very relaxing — and slow tempos in particular can induce a calm state of mind. (It can also slow down breathing and heart rate, lower blood pressure, and relax tense muscles too). This can be particularly beneficial when you’re getting ready for a tough day at work, or if you’re in your car stuck in traffic, or, if you’re lying in bed trying to free your mind of stressful thoughts. Interestingly, music therapy has been shown to be helpful in decreasing anxiety associated with medical procedures: one recent study found that heart rate and blood pressure decreased significantly among individuals who listened to music during a colonoscopy (the control group did not experience any changes). The music intervention group also required less sedation during the procedure.

This is another one like #3 that I have already been practicing. I love all kinds of music. Music can calm me, soothe me, inspire me, motivate me – well you get the picture. And if you haven’t discovered it yet, PANDORA is the best place to listen to music. It’s my favorite music website!
 

6. ENJOY AN AROMATHERAPY MASSAGE
Getting a massage is a great way to free yourself of tension and relax, and adding aromatherapy oils such as chamomile or lavender can be particularly beneficial: one recent study found that emergency room nurses experienced reduced stress levels with aromatherapy massage: The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, found that 54 percent of the emergency room staff in summer and 65 percent in winter suffered moderate to extreme anxiety. However, this fell to 8 percent, regardless of the season, once staff received 15-minute aromatherapy massages while listening to music. If you don’t have a lot of spare time, you can get aromatherapy oils and massage tools to use at home.

Who doesn’t love a massage? But of course, when life gets busy (or costly) this can be difficult to obtain. Maybe when my birthday comes along next month I can treat myself guilt free – you know, for relaxation purposes.

 

7. INDULGE IN A HOT BATH
Heat relaxes muscles — and taking a long bath can be soothing for the mind as well. Stock up on your favorite bath salts and soaps, get a bath pillow, and decorate the room with candles. You can even create an in-home spa, by incorporating spa treatments like facials.

I can’t remember that last time I got to take a ‘bath’ but I myself find a nice long hot shower just as relaxing. It’s my place to be alone and clear my mind.

 

8. ENGAGE IN MODERATE EXERCISE DAILY
Exercise helps to boost endorphins and reduce stress — and research shows that 20 minutes each day is all that is needed to experience benefits.

I can agree to this 100%! Right before I started this blog I was actively taking boxing and spinning for months but with my daughter starting school, family being sick, and the loss of a loved one – exercise got pushed to the side. But I hope that along with kicking the caffeine habit I will get back into my exercise routine because I know that when I worked out  I had the confidence to handle any situation that came my way, just because I felt good mentally and physically.

 

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.  ~Etty Hillesum

 

Now off to relax on my favorite kind of Sunday…..until next time!

Advertisements

PS: My Happy List

I very much enjoy reading Teresa’s Blog  “My Embodiment: Misadventures and Adventures of a Psychotherapists in Yoga School.” Not only is she also a psychotherapists social worker but she works very closely with military families. Her blog is a great read and very thought provoking – all should definitely visit her blog sometime.

At the end of every week Teresa likes to end her blog with a “List”. The week prior she created her “Happy List” – things to be grateful for. With my week feeling like an emotional rollercoaster, I thought this exercise might change my mood a bit.

So here I go,

My Happy List:

1- I am happy my oldest daughter is such a social butterfly– this week she began a new school and she has adapted really well and loves it! (definitely puts my heart at ease)

2- My new Grey’s Anatomy Season 5 on DVD. My favorite show! However, I could never catch the episodes when they aired since season 1! So every fall season I excitedly await the DVD to come out and this past week I bought my copy of the most recent season – I’ve begun to watch them and I love it!!!! Can’t wait to watch what happens next.

dvdrelease

3-  Wonderpets!!Not only do I enjoy the theme song 😉 (hehe) but my toddler adores them. More importantly this show provides me at least 30min in the day to just sit and do whatever I want or nothing (smile).

Nickjr "Wonderpets"

Nickjr "Wonderpets"

4- Chocolate covered caramel…..yyyuuummmmyyy. I thank a million times to whoever came up with idea to put these two together. My all time favorite comfort snack and this week it has played an important role in my life.

5- Target!The best and most dangerous place I can be. I go here even when I have no reason to but always come home with a cart full. This week  was definitely no exception ;-).

target400

6- My public commitment. I am so glad that I started this blog. I love to write! Here I found a place where I can express myself as often as I want. Writing gives me a feeling beyond verbal expression.

7- HALLOWEEN!!One of favorite holidays and it’s almost here (YaY)! I already have my daughters’ costumes and I’m shopping for mine – enjoying every minute!

halloween1

8- FRIENDS!! Even though I am always thankful and grateful for my good friends – this week I’m extra appreciative for them. We have been trough so much together in this past year alone – but what never changes is that we are always here for one another.

9- Since my husband has been on deployment I have appreciated email like I never have before. This week, as you all may know now, has been a difficult one but thanks to email my husband was able to reach out to me and know exactly what to say to perk me up.

10- And finally, shoes!Being a typical shop-a-holic, my favorite is shoes! The main reason may be because the size never changes unlike shirts, skirts, and pants but also because for me it is the most important accessory. Not only can it make or break your outfit but I can tell you a story about every shoe I own – be it where I got them or where I have worn them too. My shoes can also predict my mood if you know me well and this week I wore my Puma Simplice Flats almost every day! I guess since I couldn’t feel comfy in my heart I’d figure at least my feet would.

703365312d453371536b2d74317a622d354377-250x250-0-0

 

And that my fellow bloggers and bloggettes is My Happy List….

I must say, it did make me smile a bit 😉

Have a great weekend everyone!