"What do we do to relax?" Tips for trying to stay sane.
So, our last post got a lot of attention, and I guess I realized that we’ve made this blog into more of a “trip report” rather than an exploration of our true feelings and opinions about some hard hitting topics like life. So here we go, combatting another serious topic that we all face - STRESS.
Life in general is stressful for everyone, and we all have to cope, one way or another. What’s important is finding the little things that chill you out and make you feel YOU again. A gentle way to step back, take a deep breath of fresh air and find a way to laugh yourself back into sanity again. I hope some of these little suggestions will make you laugh and you might find a stress reliever that makes sense and truly resonates with you!
So here are a few of my favorite little stress relievers:
Petting our cat, talking walks outside, moisturizing my face, meditating and taking some good, deep breaths before bed, enjoying aromatherapy with a humidifier (eucalyptus is my favorite), taking a long, luxurious shower, watching upbeat game shows like Match Game, Ellen’s Game of Games or Family Feud, having a delicious cup of coffee in the morning, chatting with a friend face to face, singing loudly to music in the car, taking an afternoon nap, laughing with co-workers, journaling or blogging, visiting gardens and being in nature, laying down on the couch after dinner for a foot massage, watching old episodes of Seinfeld, planning our next weekend activity or trip, taking photos and critiquing at Camera Club, or getting a relaxing manicure/pedicure.
Now here are maybe a few oddball activities that I enjoy to help relieve my stress (don’t judge - we all have our own random things)… :
Bleaching the sink and kitchen counter (disinfecting makes me giddy), chopping things to prepare dinner (don’t be scared, but the sensation and sound somehow soothes me), playing dumb old Candy Crush before bed (something about grouping colors and passing levels is sickenly satisfying and often incorporates its way into my first few dreams), shopping at Daiso or the Dollar Tree (everything is so cheap and so fun even if it’s buying seasonal window decals, disposable face masks, ceramic condiment bowls or packs of gum) and finally plucking my eyebrows with natural light and an extreme 10x magnifying mirror for exact precision and nit-picky detail. These may be weird, but they help me calm down and relieve oodles of stress.
Since we are on the topic of stress and mental health, I also want to get more personal and mention that I also go to a weekly group therapy session. Since I lost my dad and experienced pain and sadness for the first time, I decided I would give one on one therapy a try. Unfortunately, appointments were hard to come by and once every 3 months, just wasn’t doing it for me. I also tried an antidepressant for about a month. It made me feel dizzy, nauseous, zombified and in a complete haze so I stopped taking it and asked my doctor about a more natural remedy. She suggested St. John’s Wort and multivitamins with more exercise.
Then, I found therapy in a group setting for family members who were affected by addiction. I feel in love with sharing, being able to emotionally let go and to be completely honest in a group that understood my pain and could in turn share their own stories and help suggest things for me in my life. I felt whole again and I look forward each week to our meetings and I know that I am progressing so much emotionally, spiritually and personally. I couldn’t have dealt with the sorrow, loss and stress that I felt without this important outlet, and I will never take it for granted. Sharing our feelings (to someone other than a family member) like a professional is now a part of who I am. It’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about, but again, not enough people talk about it - so here I am putting it all out there again.
You are important. You are worth it. And your emotional well-being dictates the positivity in your life, so if you need more resources, the information and support is out there! Take advantage and reach out and please contact me if you have questions. Much love and hugs!
Thanks for reading,
August 26, 2019
Well, it’s Mike’s turn now!
Wow, you guys like the personal stories, huh?! While I don't know if it is as juicy as the last post, stress is a part of everyone's lives. Everyone's stress and annoyances are different and I understand it's hard to find the time to do these things, but with a little patience, you'll find these suggestions can help.
ASMR, this stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. This is a tingly sensation similar to the chills that people get from people whispering or speaking in a soft voice. Youtube has a ton of “ASMRists” as they are known, that make videos of them speaking softly, whispering, turning pages, tapping, giving massage instruction or a simulated spa experience just to name a few. My favorite is one of the original ASMRist’s Maria ”Gentlewhispering.”
Some ASMRists have special 3-D Microphones to make it feel like they're whispering near you or like they're really giving you a scalp massage.
Some have taken ASMR in a sensual direction, and that's cool, but I personally find it distracts from the relaxation.
If you want something even mellower a sub-genre is “unintentional ASMR.” This is like Bob Ross type educational shows, public speakers or instructional videos not intended to be relaxing, but somehow are. People curate them into playlists that are sometimes interesting as well as relaxing.
Binaural Beats are also a genre of videos on YouTube. These are audio tones set to specific frequencies that put you into a meditative state. These tones were a result of government research in the 1970’s and that's an interesting story I may do an article about soon. Different frequencies have different effects although some of the videos make outrageous claims about what they can do. Some are pure tone and others hide the tone behind new age music. I find these videos range from feeling relaxing to meditative.
Taking walks and podcasts. There are zillions of great podcasts out there! There's something for everyone. I find that listening to an engaging podcast while on a walk is really refreshing. Being outside and actively listening is a great way to quiet the mind and reboot. I usually come back feeling refreshed and even inspired.
So there are a few things that have helped me. Just a little effort to refocus the mind goes a long way in feeling balanced. Hope this helps and thanks for reading!
August 26, 2019