Wednesday, October 3, 2012

5 ways to relax, damn it

1.  Breathe.  Yes, dummy.  Sometimes we need to remind ourselves to breathe.  I know, I know, the brain stem basically has the breathing thing figured out for us, but sometimes we need to breathe consciously. Like, when we are upset or tense or stressing because someone just dropped a glass of sticky apple juice on the kitchen floor pretty much 5 minutes after you mopped.  Or when you asked your kid no less than 11 times to pick his fucking sneakers up.  Those times.  You know that old thing, count to ten slowly?  Really, it works.  Count to ten slowly, while consciously breathing, and you'll feel better.  Maybe not all better, but better.

2. Do something you like.  Us moms, we are usually last on the list of people we aim to please.  Or maybe that's just me.  But you know, a pissy, stressed mom makes an unhappy family.  If reading a book is your thing, carve out a snitch of time to read.  Even if it's reading a few emails while you're on the crapper, at least it's better than trying to read those same emails with a maniacal 2 year old trying to climb up your body and get your attention.  Do something little, that you like, just for you.  Smell something delicious or eat something exciting, take a bubble bath or listen to music.  Just, whatever it is, enjoy it in the moment.

3.  Exercise.  Wait, what?  I always thought that exercise stressed me out, not calmed me down.  And then I realized that it's more the thought of exercise that stresses me out.  When I force myself to exercise, I inevitably feel kinda good when it's all over.  I mean, it feels like I have accomplished something good for myself, and it definitely is relaxing.  Pop on some tunes and dance around if you're not into formal, sneaker wearing exercise.  It's fun, and it's something you can do anywhere.  Well, maybe not the boardroom of your office, but if you're creative, I'm sure you can find some time and space to get your heart pumping.  Go on, get some fresh air and sunshine on your face! 

4.  Take a power nap or meditate.  This might sound like a no brainer, but even if you close your eyes for 15 minutes and just calm the voices in your head, it's worthwhile.  Taking a little nap gives you that recharge that you so desperately need once the afternoon fog sets in.  Your brain needs a breather at some point.  Give it a rest.  

5.  Dump your inbox.  Seriously.  You know those people who have no piles?  I just envy those people.  I envy the people that seem to grasp the whole "now/later/never" philosophy on mail and papers and emails.  We just have to declutter sometimes.  A cluttered life is stressy, it just is.  If you know that you have eleven hundred emails to respond to, or fourteen school papers to fill out, or a stack of bills to open and pay - you're just going to be stressed.  That stuff sits in your mind, looming and hanging there like a black cloud of doom.  Deal with things as they come in and the black cloud of doom will be over some other dingbat's head, I promise.  Get a system in place.  And use it.  

What to you guys do to chill out?


  1. you are right that thinking about working out feels stressful, but actually doing it is so good for us and makes us feel really good when it's finished. my daughter was gone for 4 days and i worked out twice a day while she was away. it was awesome!

  2. You had me at "read a few emails while you'r on the crapper." :)
    You're so right about all these things! Especially the "not breathing" thing- catch myself doing that all the time, always trying to hold my stomach in. And just yesterday, didn't want to work out at ALL, but I powered through, and felt like a million bucks afterwards.
    Great, helpful post. :)

  3. This is a great list! You're totally right about the exercise. Thinking about it is stressful, but completing it is awesome! And I like that now/later/never technique for all my piles of crap. I literally have over 1500 messages in my inbox, and those are just the unread ones! Time for a mass delete. You've inspired me. Thanks!

    PS - taking deep breaths on the crapper might also work. ;)

  4. Oh my gosh! You're absolutely right about #3. It really is the thought of it that stresses me out. The actual DOING the exercise always makes me feel better afterwards.