I’m pretty much a constant ball of stress. I have a job, am a full-time student, and have two small children. Something pretty much always has to give; often, it’s the laundry. Last night, it was the kids’ bath. So sue me. Sometimes we all just need a break. Breaks, if you ask me, are a gateway to sanity. They keep me grounded; frankly, they keep me going. While we can’t all afford lengthy vacations, we can all try to fit in a little relaxation here and there. In that spirit, below you’ll find a few of my favorite ways to unwind:
1) Get a Massage!
Massage is at the top of my list because it has seemingly unending emotional and physical benefits. It relieves tension, reduces aches and pains, improves your circulation, and releases a slew of feel-good hormones. What’s more, by default, it gets you out of the house for a bit, refocuses your energy on YOU! Oh, and did I mention that it feels fantastic?
2) Try Meditation on for Size
Increasingly, researchers are touting the benefits of meditation on both the mind and the body. If you haven’t meditated before, fear not: there are a slew of guided meditations available on the web. You can even download apps to access them on your phone. If you’re worried you don’t have the patience for meditation, know that it doesn’t necessarily need to involve hour-long sessions. There are plenty of guided 5, 10, and 15 minute meditations available to you.
3) Squeeze in a Yoga Class
Feeling the strain of long hours at a desk, or (like me) at the washing machine? Feel like you can’t fit a workout in as often as you’d like and your body is craving a kick start? There are yoga classes at most large gyms and many yoga studios offer free or discounted first sessions. The stretching alone is worth it without even considering the relaxation benefits.
4) Escape from the World
Leave the house for an hour—or two!—and tell no one where you’ve gone. This is especially pertinent to parents, but certainly applies to others as well. Most of us love the people we surround ourselves with (I can think of only a few undesirable exceptions to this), so much so that we forget to be alone with ourselves. Schedule YOU in your schedule and sneak off (responsibly, of course) for a couple of hours. Spend time with a book at the local coffee shop. Go see a movie by yourself. Walk through your favorite park. But whatever you do, go by yourself and turn your cell phone off.
If you just can’t make time away from the work-family-life vortex happen, hide! Okay, not really; I’ll explain. Sometimes, when the pressure is really high, I wake up twenty minutes earlier than my kids and sneak downstairs to enjoy a cup of tea and a little mindfulness. It might not seem like much, but it centers me for the day. So, find a cozy corner and snuggle in to enjoy some quiet.