Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Take a Time Out

When I was little, I hated time outs.

Well, let's be real: I loved time outs when my parents sent me to my room. I got to play Barbies, read books, blare my Paula Abdul and Amy Grant tapes (to try to annoy everyone for banishing me to my room), etc.

I hated time outs when my parents figured out how to really punish us: send us to the landing where there weren't any toys.

My brother figured out fairly quickly how to make the time pass on his landing timeouts: he'd just fall asleep. Time for me, on the other hand, ticked so slowly because I stayed wide awake and just wanted to be doing something!

(I'm pretty sure my sister never got timeouts because she was the youngest child and therefore got away with everything -- either that or my parents felt bad for her, considering my brother and I put her in timeouts every time they left us home to babysit. Erin, #sorrynotsorry, haha.)

As an adult, I really appreciate, relish a good timeout. Relaxation is so important and something I've come to greatly realize as I've gotten older and have tried to minimize my life.

For the longest time, however, I found relaxing difficult. Still, to some extent, I feel like I must be doing something at all times: even when I'm watching TV, I can't just sit and watch. Rather, I am also grading papers, browsing on Pinterest, playing Words With Friends, etc. I have a hard time just sitting.

But, I have found small ways to relax, to take time for me, and I thought I would share those with you in case you, too, have trouble taking time out of a busy schedule to focus on the person most important in your world: you.

The first thing that I do when I truly want to relax is turn off the TV. I love a good TV show, and I love nothing more than chilling on the couch to a good CSI: New York or Law and Order: SVU marathon. However, while I can definitely fall asleep to those shows, they don't necessarily relax me.

Instead, I have discovered that music relaxes and calms me. Every night while I am cooking dinner, writing my blog post, getting ready for bed, etc., I listen to music. I usually have a relatively chill Pandora station playing, something like David Gray, Brendan James, Of Monsters and Men, or The Script.

The second thing I have found to help me really relax is take a bubble bath. I have never been one to love baths, as my skin always has adverse reactions to sitting in soapy water. (Skin allergies are so fun, y'all.) However, recently I've just said "eff it" and have not had many issues.

(I know you're probably thinking I'm crazy since I have talked a few times about the crazy hives I've gotten recently, but those weren't preceded by a bubble bath -- I swear.)

I have found that bath to be super relaxing because the water is super hot, the bubbles are crazy-moisturizing, and I can't really do much except for read or think. It's wonderful.

The third thing I have found to help me relax-to-the-max is light some candles and turn off the lights. Aside from natural sunlight, I don't have too much light in my apartment. I tend to maybe have the hanging lantern turned on if I'm writing, but otherwise my light sources are the white Christmas lights I have strung around my windows -- or candles. It creates a very peaceful ambiance, which relaxes me almost right away.

The fourth thing I have found to totally relax me is to write. Writing puts me in the zone: it is therapeutic, and hours can pass without me even realizing. It is not at all stressful but rather puts my mind at ease.

If writing is not your thing, I suggest finding something meditative, whether that be yoga, prayer, silent reflection, etc., something that turns your brain off but that allows you to think in a relaxing, calming manner. (I know that sounds oxymoronic, but I swear it's what writing does to me.)

Found on Pinterest

The final thing I have found to help me relax is to just think about how restful I am.

I know this one sounds crazy, but please bear with me.

Prior to my Whole30 adventure, I had huge issues with falling asleep at night. Like, I would lie in bed at night for extended periods of time, just waiting to fall asleep: my mind would not shut off.

That was anything but relaxing.

If I have an issue falling asleep now (which rarely happens), I simply think this: "I am getting so much rest right now. Lying here is so restful. I appreciate how at rest I am." More than anything, it serves as a mantra that, when repeated over and over and over, truly does relax me.

Relaxation is such an imperative component of a healthy life: we need to just turn off and be alone and meditate. We need to de-stress. We need to minimize our lives. We need to calm down. We need to just be.

What are your favorite relaxation techniques? How have you minimized your life recently?

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  1. I didn't get any time-outs because I'm the favorite. :)

  2. Oddly enough I relax by rocking out in my bathroom after a shower and dancing like a mad woman. Or accidentally zoning out to sports center.