Walking – For me, walking in the woods near I live is an extremely relaxing activity. Often, I take my dog and we walk to a nearby pond. It is quiet where I live and in a naturally wooded area. Most days, I walk with no music; I listen to nature. A walk can be a soothing activity after a busy day. I try to walk for 30-45 minutes and I walk at my pace which is probably slower than some. My dog and I explore the woods and when we get to the pond, I sit on a rock and the dog explores the area. The pond near my home is small and not densely populated. Sometimes, I am able to watch loons and other birds on the pond and the fish jump. The quiet relaxes both my mind and body.
Hot Bath – There is nothing more relaxing, in my book, than a hot bath. There are essential things that must happen for my bath to be relaxing. First, the water temperature needs to be just right. Then, I add bubbles of whatever aromatherapy scent that I feel is necessary for my mood. I dim the lights and often use a single tea light candle to provide just a bit of light. Again, it has to be quiet for me. Sometimes, I like to read while I soak; other times I don’t. Go with your mood. The hot water will relax your muscles and your mind.
Meditation – This can be done at home. All you need is a quiet space where you can lie down and not be bothered for at least 30 minutes. (Shorter sessions can be done but may not achieve desired results.) There are books to read or listen to about meditation or you can just experiment on your own. The bottom line is that you need to feel more relaxed and also feel good about yourself after you meditate. Start there. What things need to be cleared from your mind to allow you to meditate? Take some time to practice in shorter spurts. Practice clearing your mind and relaxing. Try to feel all parts of your body, from your head to your toes as you relax. If a nagging thought comes to mind, try to let it go. I use soothing spa music while I relax. You might want to listen to affirmations (which can be downloaded online) or you may want quiet. Whatever works for you, use it! Try to meditate every day, even if your day is busy. If you fall asleep while you are practicing meditation, this is telling you that you are tired. Allow this to happen. As you relax more, you will be able to let things go and focus on yourself and stay awake. Meditation doesn’t have to cost anything. It’s a healing therapy and is always worth a try. (Check out my companion blog titled “Meditation for Beginners.”)
Massage – I love a good massage. For the past ten years or more, I’ve had a full-body massage every other week. There is certainly a cost to massage but for me, it is worth it. I love having my muscles rubbed! Massage is not for everyone. My suggestion would be to try a massage. If you have never had one before, you might love it! Fit in massage as it fits your budget. Most massages in my area are $50 per hour. (I live in Maine.) When we were in Florida last winter, massages were $100 per hour. Scour your area and price massages. Compare therapists and go with one that you like. There are different styles of massage. Swedish massage is probably the most popular type and a good beginning type of massage to try. Massage lowers a person’s heart rate and blood pressure. It is the ultimate for relaxation!
Chiropractic Adjustment – If your back hurts and you can’t seem to find anything that helps, try chiropractic. Not all chiropractors are equal! The trick is to find one who can adjust your back so that it feels better quickly. I went to several chiropractors who could not get my back to move. Finally, I found one who was not afraid to use the necessary force to get my back to align. Now, I only go for an adjustment a few times a year. When I started, it was necessary to have adjustments more than once a week for a period of about 8 weeks. Chiropractors offer other therapies including rolling tables, electrical stimulation, and more. They should all start with a thorough assessment of your health and pain location. The first appointment can be a bit longer but it is well worth it. Most insurance covers some or all of chiropractic adjustment. Often, chiropractors offer other types of healing that is more natural like herbal remedies, detoxification treatments, and more. Adjustments do not hurt. There may be some minimal discomfort during the actual adjustment (and you may not believe the noise your bones will make!) but that discomfort is soon gone as your spine is put back in line. I’ve gone in the office when every breath I took hurt and walked out smiling. It is definitely worth your time!
Acupuncture – This is the one therapy that I was very hesitant to try and I must truthfully say that it has been the therapy that has been the most helpful to my overall health. Acupuncture is amazing! See my blog that details the acupuncture experience at www.healingcenterofmaine.com
Essential Oils – Did you know that your sense of smell can actually be used for relaxation? There are a few essential oils that can affect your overall mood and help you relax. This list is from the following website:
Reduces stress, tension; anti-depressant; calming; helps with insomnia; relaxing Strongly anti-inflammatory & antiseptic; cell regenerator, skin balancer; immune stimulant; good for all skin types; helps with headaches
Calms nervous system; uplifting; balancing; good for stress; relaxing Hormone balancer, skin softener; good for skin, esp. mature skin; helpful with menopause issues; immune stimulant
Balances stress; helps with insomnia; relaxing; restorative when you’re feeling “wiped out” Helps treat dull, tired skin and acne; balances nervous system. Note: Stay out of the sun after using.
Calming; mood booster; helps with insomnia; helps with “wiped out” feeling; good for stress; relaxing Balances nervous system; good for skin care. Note: Stay out of the sun after using.
Anti-depressant; soothing; euphoric; helps when you’re feeling over-loaded; good for stress; relaxing Good for skin care, esp. normal to dry skin; helps balance hormones
Antidepressant; good for stress; relaxing Promotes cell regeneration, so good for all skin issues including acne, scars, and wrinkles; anti-inflammatory
Helps with depression, migraine, nervous tension, fatigue, stress; mildly intoxicating, euphoric (therefore do not use while driving); aids creativity, relieves anxiety Note: Do not use during pregnancy. Calming to the nervous system, lifts depression and stress, good for all female hormonal issues and imbalances, e.g. menopausal discomforts, painful periods, and post-partum depression. Helps with muscle pains, digestive disorders, and inflamed skin.
Whatever your comfort level is, there is a relaxation activity for you!
Sometimes, it takes more than one relaxing activity to actually calm the body. Deep breathing is also a calming activity. Breathe in and count to ten and then breathe out and count to ten. Do this five times and repeat. You will feel calmer! In our hectic lives, we often forget to breathe! It can make all the difference.