1. TAKE A TIME-OUT
I hear more Mothers debate this topic more than anyone. That there is just not enough time. I am here to say, it can happen. I promise you. For an effective time out session, an hour or two is all you need to feel the benefits of a well rested mind. Now of course, you will have to plan for this much needed time before hand (maybe when you are planning your week in advance) in order to execute. Yes, I did use the word EXECUTE because it is something to take seriously. Now this time can be during the day or as you are winding down at night. The idea: Think ahead and keep them busy for as long as you can for your quick “getaway”. The best way to do this (for the Mothers, that is) would be to relax when your little one is relaxed. Mothers usually use this time to cook, clean, run errands, exercise… No, no and NO! This time can be spent relaxing and pampering yourself.
2. HAVE YOUR OWN “ME/MI DAY”
Aaah, my favorite time of the week. Listen, taking time out for yourself is a must… and what better way to do it than setting an entire day for yourself to do… any and everything your little heart desires. I am the ultimate queen of Me/Mi Day because I have perfected the meaning of ME TIME. It took me sometime to understand that all work and no play, makes Nadiyah a really grumpy cat. My mind was always busy, I was always working, I was continuously going here, taking people there and always in someone company. After sitting back and reflecting, I noticed I was doing too much… of nothing. I decided, for one day, I was going to stop the world and do me… ALL DAY!
My day is usually on Mondays. It’s at the beginning of the week when people are out my way and busy with work. It was the perfect time to do it. Now even though it was my day off, I didn’t sleep in unless I wanted to. The day starts with me waking up at/around 8a. I’d make myself a beautiful breakfast with Erykah Badu or Stacy Barthe playing in the background. Then, I’d get dressed and ready for the day. By noon, I’d catch a matinee at the movie theater. I believe this is the best time to go… no one is there and I had the place to myself. By 1 or 130p, I’d go [window] shopping at some of my favorite home decor stores, like Ikea, West Elm, CB2, Pottery Barn and other smaller shops in the city. I’m not necessarily out to spend money… Just being in an environment that usually allows my mind to escape is usually what make this time eutrophic. Since I love fashion and home decor, I find relief in being surrounded by art and design. The mission: FIND OUT WHAT (HEALTHY) ACTIVITY CONSUMES YOUR IMAGINATION, THEN DELVE IN DEEP! It’s about the escape which then turns into relaxation. Next, I’d go to a restaurant in the city where I could people watch or where they’d have patio space to dine (only in the Spring and Fall seasons though). By this time, it would probably be in the mid-afternoon and when friends/family are just headed home and ready to unwind themselves. Knowing me, I always have a bottle of my favorite Merlot set and ready to go just incase someone comes over and needs a glass of vino. This is how I usually spend my Me/Mi Days. It’s all about doing whatever comforts YOU, relaxes YOU and benefits YOU.
3. HEADPHONES IN, LISTENING TO SOFTER MUSIC
We all have our songs that motivates us, pumps us up, makes us happy… you know, music that sets our moods. If you have some headphones or earbuds that you can slip on, tuning out the outside world and connecting through softer music will indeed relax you. Don’t have your music blasting or too loud that you blow your brains out, but loud enough to hear nothing but the music. Some of the best music to listen to are instrumentals, meditative, jazz and lyric-less music. What makes lyric-less music better than the others? Your thoughts and the lyrics aren’t competing for your attention and you have the opportunity to think clearer. The issue with most of us is that in our minds, we can’t focus on one thought and our minds are always racing. Relaxing your mind is step one in relaxing your nerves. It all starts in your mind.
4. GET INTO YOGA
Practicing yoga is a great way to relax your mind, body and soul. I began yoga just over 5 years ago and it was one of the best things I could’ve ever done for my body. As I learned correct ways of stretching, yoga improved my posture, my breathing and how I sleep. I begin my day with stretches to get my blood flowing and to loosen my muscles. One of the benefits of yoga is that it teaches you how to be in the moment. What I love most is that anyone can do it no matter the shape or size. While some people are quick learners, don’t worry about later than others and not being advanced. Your body will adjust as you do. If you are curious or would love to practice on your own, do what I did… research. Head over to yoga.com and check out different stretching positions starting from beginners to advanced and see what it’s all about. Get on the floor, try the Downward Facing Dog, try the Planking position. You will learn these moves aren’t hard to do if you just give it a try. Who knows, it may just grow on you and become the gateway of relaxation you were looking for.
5. TAKE A NAP
Plain and simple, your body needs rest. Some would argue that 7 to 8 hours is just enough time for a good night’s rest. Then there are some that argue double sleep sessions are the best route to go. I read an article where researchers say that breaking up your day into two or fours (look up Bimodal Sleep and Segmented Sleep) is best because it was the natural way to sleep. When I have time off, I take my naps at/around 1 or 130p to 230p. Sound strange? During the day, I am well rested and less stressed than the majority. Just like food and water, your body needs rest and giving into it, isn’t such a bad or weird thing.
6. TAKE NOTE OF WHAT RELAXES YOU THE MOST
What calms you? What activity sends your mind away? What things give you an euphoric feeling? No, I am not referring to drugs or alcohol… just throwing this out there lol. What carries your thoughts to higher heights? Could it be shopping, running, playing chess or pool? Or maybe reading a great novel, traveling, hiking or painting is the best way to go? Pay attention to the things that take less effort to relax you. I remember a friend telling me running was her escape. That when she ran, her mind would drift away and she felt as though she was gliding. I, personally have never experienced that, lol. But as I looked at how she described this feeling, she looked as if she experienced the best feeling ever. What’s your thing? What sends you away? Get so caught up in an activity that sends you away.
6. PRACTICE MEDITATION
Aside from yoga, meditating is a daily activity I do to open my mind and to give thanks. If you are an iPhone user, you can download this app, Chakra Meditation Balancing – Healing Meditation Music… by Equilibrium Srl. Without getting into the different chakras and their symbolisms, I use this app for the music during my meditation practices. Usually my sessions last between 30-minutes to an hour, while others can go on for hours on end. You can grab yourself a yoga mat, a towel or blanket… or on a bare floor and begin to clear your mind too. I like to focus on ideas that makes me happy or thing I want out of life. You’ll be surprised how deep you can go when it comes to meditation. My first time, I actually fell asleep, my body was so relaxed. While I’m meditating, I have two favorite positions: sitting upright in an Indian Style with my wrist resting on my knee faced upward to the sky. The other is laying on my back with my arms and legs spread slightly apart while sinking into the ground. It’s the best feeling ever once you relax your muscles and focus on your thoughts on positivity.
7. ESCAPE WITH A GOOD BOOK
I’m usually reading self-empowerment, financial or motivational books. It’s been awhile since I picked up a good fiction book. I like books that take you away (that seems to be the running theme of this section) to other land or time because you loose all worries and what’s happening in the now. But if you are one of those people who can’t find the time to start, opt into downloading audio books. I’ve done this a few times when I’m traveling/driving for long periods of time or even just working. It’s an easy way to escape and you can do it just about anywhere.
8. HEAD TO A LOCAL SPA
I received a $50 gift certificate to a spa in Midtown Atlanta that I still haven’t used yet. One of my clients gave it to me fro Christmas 2015 and it is staring me in the face right now. What am I waiting for? My birthday let someone else pamper and relax me. Some people find it hard to relax and feel like they just can’t unless they take a sedative or a drink. Let someone else take your comfort level to another high while you just “let it go, let it GOOO” If you use Yelp or Living Social/Groupon, type in massage or spa. Find something that’s close enough to your home or in your favorite part of town that you can go to. Before you go, take a look at their website or give them a call so you can know what services they offer and the cost. Get yourself a nice 60-minute massage or a manicure-pedicure treatment. Your body… and your man will thank you later. Heeeey!
9. SET YOUR STAGE
It is proven, that surrounding your living space with certain colors and decor can in fact relax your nerves and set the mood. I’m not saying to go out and revamp your entire space, but introducing and reducing items and colors can be the start into encourage positive vibrations. To make your space more comfortable and relaxing, using cooler colors like beiges, blues and purples tend help reduce stress and promote relaxation. As a Visual Merchandiser, you must have knowledge of color symbolisms and how they appeal to the customer because little do people realize, certain colors catch your eye and certain colors steer you away. Let’s take red, for example. The color red heightens the appetite. Notice the majority of restaurant signs, interior and wordings are written in red? Coca-Cola, Pizza Hut, Panda Express… to name a few. Subconsciously, these colors determine your mood and some people never notice it at all, lol.
10. USE OILS FOR AROMATHERAPY
I love so for essential oils! Using the right essential oils can also set your mood. Did you know that there are healing benefits in these oils and have to ability to cure the body? For relaxation, try lavender oil. For a stress reliever, try bergamot lemon or ylang ylang oils. For a boost of energy, try angelica, jasmine, sage or cinnamon. And lastly, for headaches try peppermint and eucalyptus oils. When I am burning my oils, I use the oil warmer that you insert into an outlet. I have one beside my bed (lavender), my desk (sage) and near the entry way (jasmine and rosemary mix). Now, I do not have all three on all day, but only when I am in the area. If you are interested in trying this, you can purchase warmers like this and insert your own oils.
I hope this helped out just a little for anyone looking for alternative ways to relax. If you have any questions or suggestion for anyone reading, please write them below. Mothers, if you have any recommendations on how you’ve practice time alone to relax, please write them below as well. Thanks for reading!