People who know me well would probably laugh at the title of this post as I am RUBBISH at relaxation!! It’s not that I don’t want to do it, I LOVE to relax, I have enjoyed many a massage, reflexology treatment and I have had two blissful Spa Days but I’m such a busy person that I can always find 101 jobs that I should be doing instead. HOWEVER, I recently spent a very interesting day with a very spiritual lady which I shall tell you about in a blog post in the future. During our day together she asked me if I would like her to do my Angel Cards so I agreed. She picked out pack after pack and each time I had to select three cards and each time the message was the same – I need to start taking care of myself and rest up sometimes, so very slowly that’s what I am starting to do. This week I have switched off the laptop an hour early on one or two nights (baby steps), I have had perhaps one early night (again baby steps) and I have been to the hairdressers for a little pampering. Going forward I intend to carve out more time for myself and when I do these are the steps to relaxation that I intend to follow . . .
- Unless you have children who wake up ridiculously early then try to set your alarm for 15 minutes before they wake to give you time to wake up, do a little yoga or meditation. Yoga is my favourite form of exercise, I always feel amazing afterwards and you don’t need lots of specialist equipment to do it. Perhaps get up 30 minutes early and pop out for a run or walk to start the day with a clear mind rather than being jolted from Sleep to Mum Mode in 30 seconds flat!
- Will it really matter if the kitchen is cleaned and tidied that very minute that you get back from the school run whilst you try to drink a cup of tea or eat your breakfast? No is the answer! Make yourself a cup of Chamomile Tea (or another herbal tea of your choosing), perhaps grab yourself a biscuit as a special treat then pop your feet up for 10-15 minutes, put some music on then sit back and relax. Just 10-15 minutes of doing nothing can feel like an eternity but it can be just what your body needs to be ready to face the day ahead.
- Take 15 minutes in the morning to prepare the evening meal and pop it in the slow cooker. It will buy back valuable time later in the day when you need it the most. I have a meal plan to take the stress out of trying to decide what’s for dinner each day. It also means everyone else knows what they are having so it stops the arguments and whining about what they do/don’t want.
- Plan ahead for the post-school chaos by preparing drinks and snacks BEFORE you pick them up from school and have an activity ready for them to do so that you can pop your feet up and maybe read that magazine you have been promising yourself. Losing yourself in a magazine is the ideal way to get your head in the zone for mealtime and bath/bedtime before your real relaxation can begin.
- LAUGH! Laugh alone, laugh with your children, laugh with your partner. Laughing is great for the soul, body and mind. When was the last time you had a good laugh? Tell funny jokes, do a silly dance and pull funny faces, laughing will make you feel better instantly.
- Embrace the outdoors. Yes it’s winter but that doesn’t mean we have to stay indoors. Pop on your best walking boots, warm coat, hat, gloves and scarve and just walk. Breathe deeply to really cleanse your lungs with all that wonderful fresh air. Walk to a wide open space, close your eyes (providing it’s safe of course) and just listen to the world around you. Try to focus on the birds singing, the wind in the trees or the sound of water running if you’re lucky enough to be close to water. Breathe in the smells to awaken your senses, think about how the cool air feels on your warm skin, just take the time to listen to your body. I often go for walks after school with the Beans and get them to do this too, so they get a little relaxation without really noticing. I have my eyes open to keep an eye on them or we sit on a bench for a few moments so that I can feel them either side of me and in the buggy. Jelly Bean does think we have gone a little crazy but hey ho!
- Turn off the tech. We live in such a technical world that sometimes we forget how to ‘be’ without it. Teach yourself and your children that our world doesn’t stop spinning just because we have switched off our mobile phones, games consoles and TVs.
- Once the children are tucked up in bed at night the real relaxation can begin. Hop straight into a warm bath to soak your troubles away.
- Burned a Lavender scented candle to soothe and relax you whilst the bubbles carress your skin. Pop on a warming face mask, close your eyes and relax.
- Smother yourself in a moisture rich body lotion or make a trade-off with your partner; massage for massage or a massage for you in exchange for sole control of the remote, or perhaps the promise of an early night!!
- Of course, the best form of relaxation in my book is a Pamper Day at a Spa. I love my children dearly but sometimes there is nothing better to revive yourself than to spend a child-free day at a Spa. Take a book, an iPod and book yourself some lovely treats like a facial, manicure or massage or just enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings and curl up in a snuggly robe and sleep. By the time you leave you will be floating on air.
I know more than anyone that it’s too easy to say that I haven’t got time to relax but if I don’t take time out for myself then I will be too burnt out to be of any use to my family anyway. If I don’t take the time to look after myself, who else will?
This is my entry to Art Spas Says Relax competition.