For many years I have been told I need to relax, but more so since having children and again since my husbands diagnosis.
“You need to learn to slow down”
“You need to find ways to relax”
Riiight. Anyone who knows me, know this doest not come easy to me. I’m constant. I am always trying to do ten things at once and would struggle to just sit and watch a TV programme, without doing something else at the same time.
I’ve always thought this was fine and I’m just high energy and maybe it was fine, however over the last 6 months I have realised I need to learn.
I’m sure some people will read this and have no problem at all relaxing and think it’s a ridiculous thing to struggle with, but I needed to actually sit down and write ideas.
As I’ve started this blog I thought I’d share my personal journey and you can laugh at my lack of ability to switch off my crazy, constant, creative brain, and perhaps learn some new ways to relax yourself.
I sit here now with a twitching eye, laptop on my knee, the telly on (Sky sports 1, which I’m partially glancing at, periodically) and my shoes on. Not the most relaxing state to start a blog about relaxation, but hey, this is about progression, right? This is about a journey, so I may as well start as unrelaxed as normal and move from there.
So I’ve read tons of sites now on ‘how to relax’ and I have picked out some ideas I’m going to try;
Controlling your breathing is a great way of slowing down, acknowledging where you’re at and calming. Breath in slowly, filling up your back (not scrunching your shoulders upwards), enjoying the long breath and then slowly breathing it all out. Do this for as long as you need and you will feel just taking the time to breathe has a fabulous effect on overall mood. PLUS we can all do this, nothing complicated and it can be done wherever you are.
2: DRAWING OR COLOURING IN
Those that follow me on Instagram @hollymatthews84 will have been subjected to me sketching faces a lot, recently. I find it very relaxing. My focus is solely on getting it right and it helps me zone out. I’m actually pretty good at it, which was news to me, but even if you can’t draw at all, get a colouring book and colour in. Some friends sent me a lovely adult colouring book recently (I told you, the people want me to relax) and I think its a fabulous idea and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.
3: HAND MASSAGE
Give yourself a hand massage. We often hold a surprising amount of tension in our hand and wrists and its not an area we think of, when we think of massage. Always nicer if you can get someone else to do this for you, but its also just as nice to do it yourself. Applying some pressure to the fleshy bit between your index and thumb (often referred to as the HOKU in traditional Chinese acupuncture) is supposed to reduce stress and help with pain relief A blog on acupressure *this may be especially useful if you have just done a big fat blog about how to use hand massage to relax yourself.
Theres something about watching an open flame that is naturally relaxing. I would try and get a scented candle, to help you get extra pleasure from this exercise and according to the Japanese (and who am I to doubt the Japanese) lavender is said to as anxiety and help us to relax. Lavender candle
As most of you know, I have no issue with this particular task and it is one of my instant relaxers. Me singing a Demi Lovato I could get caught for hours going through YouTube, watching and singing songs. It doesn’t matter whether you can sing, just sing loud and let yourself go. Listening to music can always elevate mood. Create yourself a ‘help me relax’ playlist.
6: BE WITH NATURE
Being outside, around nature, is a fantastic way to relax. Turn off your phone, and take yourself out on a walk. Touch, leaves, tree bark, the sand on a beach, really taking it in. Study the thing you are touching, look at it properly. What shape of leaf is it? What colour?, What can you smell? Hear? I pay towards the Wildlife Trust which always me access to some awesome free nature parks. Have a look on their site to find one close to you. Being present in nature is very rewarding. The Wildlife Trusts
7: TENSE AND RELEASE
Create a tension in a certain part of your body and then release it, this will allow you to feel where you hold tension and then let you correct it. I find I hold tension in my shoulders (and upper back), my forehead and my jaw. Work out your own hot spots by trying everywhere from your toes to your forehead.
8: TIME FOR TEA
I’m a massive green tea drinker and apparently it helps to calm and reduces anger. It has tons of other amazing properties for your health, so even if you don’t love the taste (you get used to it and then you love it-stick with that!) just get it down your neck. My cup of tea in the morning massively helps me to relax.What else is green tea good for?
9: HAVE A BATH
Lying down in a hot bath has a brilliant way of calming. Water is of course something natural and the motion of it and feeling of it on the skin soothes. Add in some bath salts, some bubble bath and some lavender candles and you are flying.
10: YOUR WAY
Everyone will have their own way to relax and I would love to hear yours. You might like to go for a run, pound the gym, dance, read, watch a comedy and have a good laugh, knit, take the dog for a walk, stroke a cat, do a crossword puzzle or any number of personal ways. I haven’t even touched on meditation or mindfulness as I feel mindfulness and meditation are a whole separate post and something I have intertwined into my life massively and need their own post.
My research for this has really helped with getting some cool ideas and I cannot wait to start implementing them. It will be a very conscious thing for me to do right now and feel free to screech “RELAX” at me every now and then to remind me that I wrote this.
Lets stop glorifying being busy and making it impossible for us to relax without guilt. Its super important we wind down and enjoy life too, my logical brain knows this, the rest just needs to catch up.