GETTING AWAY WHEN THINGS GET IN THE WAY
Summer is upon us and I was lucky enough to be out at the coast when the first real heat wave hit. The pictures in this newsletter are from that trip.
It was a long overdue vacation and the first time away from our four-year-old since she was born. After a quick cuddle and some hugs, hubby and I left her for a "sleepover" with her grandparents in Salem while we made our get-away. She did great, her grandparents loved having the time with her, and we were in Heaven -- a triple win!
The fact is, we all need time to get away from the daily grind and make space to relax, but what do you do when you don't have the time to get away? Over the course of my life, I have had several strategies for this. Among them, the “tough it out” approach. Put your nose to the grindstone, girl! Just tough it out, and then you can relax. The problem is that life never really slows down. There is always some new obstacle – and we can’t go 100 mph forever. So what can any of us do to maintain sanity?
For me, the key was to stop. That’s right, I had to just stop and take stock of how I spent my time and where I lost it. I have to say, the recent no-media Sunday has been very revealing! (If you missed that article, there is a link on my Facebook page.) Scheduling was also key. (In my world nothing exists unless it is in my schedule). So I put it in: work, time to end work, me time (massage, a dance class, time with friends).
Sanity also lies in the small things of life. Here are some of my favorites:
Breathe deeply. It’s one of the few ways we can consciously move the body from a stressful state to a relaxed one – physiologically. One of my favorite applications is to take a few breaths and center myself in the car before stepping out to work or into a stressful situation. One minute doing this can change the whole tone of a day!
Take time to be in the moment. As you walk to get from one place to another notice the beauty of nature all around you. Feel how good it feels to stretch your legs and move your arms. No, running on a treadmill in front of a TV does not count.
Get some exercise, but make it fun! For me, the gym is boring – and if it is boring I won’t do it. During school my husband and I took up Ballroom Dancing. I often stressed about not having time, but the truth is I had better concentration, a more even mood, and got more done afterward than I would have otherwise. Plus, I got hubby time, social time, exercise and fun all in one neat 1 hour package! I could even do it when it was raining! Yoga and Qigong are also favorites because of their health and deeply relaxing benefits.
Get acupuncture or massage. When you can’t get away for a full vacation, get a mini-vacation. Give yourself permission for just 60-90 minutes to do nothing and be responsible for nothing except taking care of yourself. And if you don’t have air conditioning – it’s also a quick escape from the heat!
What are your favorite ways to relax when you can’t get away? Post your favorites by replying here.
Tabitha Marsh combines Massage & Acupuncture to provide natural pain relief and mental-emotional balance. She also teaches classes on Qigong & Cultivating Health & Wellbeing.