You know that feeling after you’ve had a massage? The masseuse has just finished, you’re in a complete daze of relaxation- you literally could not feel any better. I always wish there was an add on for a “post massage nap” so I could stay on the massage table for another hour and sleep. Does that exist? Anyway, after my massage Sunday evening I was on cloud nine. I felt so relaxed. I bounded out of the massage room excited to tell my masseuse how much I loved it. She was glad to hear that, but was more concerned about telling me how tight my back and neck were, and how I really needed to focus on decreasing stress and relaxing. Insert palm to forehead motion.

It’s not like she really needed to tell me. I knew my body was a bit out of whack, especially since I was still getting over my first ever migraine which arrived with a vengeance last Thursday. Every few months my body signals that it needs me to slow down, and this would be one of those times. So, in an effort to relax more, I’ve been… focusing on the following five techniques:

Going to Bed Earlier I have this horrible habit of waking myself up early when I’m stressed. I wake up and immediately start agonizing over all the things I need to do that day, and can never get back to sleep. Since I have no trouble falling asleep on the other end, I’ve been forcing myself to go to bed earlier. So far I’ve made it to lights out by 10:30 and am sleeping all the way until 6:30. Progress!

Reading Hand in hand with going to bed earlier is reading every night before bed. My problem is usually the computer and blog work. It’s so tempting to plop down on the couch and continue to browse and work, even though my eyeballs are literally exhausted. I was so tempted to wrap up this post last night, but instead made myself close the laptop, brush my teeth, and crawl into bed to read this book (it’s so good!).

Peppermint Tea I often order peppermint tea in restaurants and it wasn’t until last month I got the novel idea to actually purchase some for at home drinking. Since I’ve let go of my after dinner sweets, I’ve been hankering for an after dinner ritual to serve as a replacement. Though it’s not sweet- a cup of peppermint tea is incredibly soothing.

Bath Am I the only person who can’t remember the last time they took a bath? When my masseuse suggested I take hot baths I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of that already. I’m shooting for one per week. Any good bath time music recommendations?

Tennis Ball Massage I feel like I should devote a whole post to this topic- except I shouldn’t write it, Brandon should.  He’s become an expert on using a ball (we have a baseball and golf ball) to perform self massage. It basically consists of positioning the ball between your body and the floor (or another hard surface) to relieve knots in your muscles. This article goes way more in depth, and if you’re considering doing it, I’d read that first. After I got my massage I was still craving some deep pressure to relieve the tension, so I’ve been spending ten minutes or so each day doing ball massage. It really helps me to slow down, focus on breathing, and most importantly- makes my back feel a whole lot better. Has anyone else done it?

What are you go to techniques for increasing relaxation? I’d love to hear!

  1. Like a total dork, I’ve started listening to audiobooks in the bath. IT’S AMAZING. I always loved the idea of a hot bath, but I get antsy while doing it, and when I try to read my arms get sore from hanging the book above my head. I know, it’s rough. But audiobooks? Amazing

    • I am the same way with baths…and this sounds like such a great idea. I’m also trying to add back in yoga to my weekly schedule

      • Clara

        B- I just did yoga last night and felt about a million times better afterwards!

    • Clara

      I just got the Audible app so I really need to get on that! I’m thinking Lean In… just cause I haven’t read it yet. Any recs?

  2. What a great idea from Jaquelyn-I love audiobooks! I never thought of using them for the bath. I have to agree with you Clara, on going to bed earlier and resisting the temptation to work on the blog until your eyes are exhausted. Every since I started blogging again I’ve completely let reading fall to the wayside-spending every spare minute working on the blog, especially at night, on the couch, when I’m seriously exhausted. I need to take a page out of your book and force myself to go to bed earlier, with a book. Reading is one of my favorite hobbies and I have to get back to making the time for it. Oh, also need to get a massage!

    • Clara

      I hear ya, Jackie! Blogging really does create that pressure. I’ve tried to be a little easier on myself lately- either missing a day of posting or posting later in the morning. My sleep and health has to be the priority!

  3. Melanie

    In an over-worked, over-stimulated world there’s no doubt that slowing down and relaxing is ultra important (for our bodies, for our mind, for our spirit…). I try to make mindful choices every day to relax and decompress - many of them you’ve listed here: early to bed, reading, tea and baths. I am a big tea drinker and enjoy a cup upon first waking (and some light music), during the work day, and in the evenings. Also, simply cuddling up with my spouse or dog always does the trick :)

  4. I love the idea of warm tea after dinner instead of sweets….it really helps me to curb those cravings while relaxing and hydrating at the same time. I rotate between mint, Sleepy Time from Celestial Seasonings and Yellow & Blue from Harney & Sons.

  5. Thank you for this! We all need a reminder that relaxation is healthy and makes us more productive in the end. Really making me miss having a bathtub though….

  6. Music! For me one of the things that relaxes me is music. I also play the piano and that’s also one of the ways I relax.
    I also like long walks in my favorite park and just observe the nature, breath and sing if no one is around.

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  10. Yoga, meditation, talking with a friend, singing with my eyes closed, reading an inspiring book, music, herbal tea, crying, cooking, hot chocolate … I guess anything you truly enjoy doing. Just try to do it with more mindfulness and being in the moment. Savor every minute of what you like to do.

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