No surprise here: I am still in relax-mode. I’ve decided to compile a list of my favorite ways to relax. I would love for you to add to this list because it is certainly not exhaustive and since it is created by me it is catered to me specifically. But hopefully you will enjoy one or two of them as well. I’m calling this list “A Month of Sundays” because to me Sunday is the ultimate day of rest. But rest doesn’t mean sleep (well it CAN mean sleep) but in this case it means taking a break from what you usually do and doing something that you truly love to do and enjoy.
1. Pray - Meditate on something bigger than yourself. Ask a question. Offer praise. There is something very calming about prayer. Prayers help me to “let go.” Worry less–pray more.
2. Read - pick up a book and let it transport you. You don’t have to sit down and read something cover to cover to get the relaxing benefits of reading. Steal a few minutes and read just a few pages. I love to read right before I go to sleep. I don’t usually get too far because reading is so relaxing to me that I fall asleep.
3. Cook – when I was newly married I discovered that I loved cooking. I had a willing participant in my Husband, who, thankfully, is not a picky eater. Now that I have kids I don’t enjoy cooking as much–it’s no fun hearing at least one complaint per day about EVERY meal. But someday soon I hope my kids will learn to eat without complaint and I will go back to finding the fun in trying new recipes and creating a new favorite.
4. Eat - Eat a food you love. Really take the time to savor it and enjoy every bite. I often have to remind myself to slow down at meal time because — well if you’ve ever had a meal with kids than you know why.
5. Get in the Car and Go – In college I took quite a few road trips. I drove to the ocean on whim with my room mate one weekend. It was such a fun adventure. It is fun to just pick up and go. It is much harder to do with children. But I think it would be super fun to pack them in a car and not tell them what we are doing or where we are going. (I think I would keep the trip short though)
6. Exercise - Nothing more beneficial than getting the heart pumping. Better sleep. Better health. More stamina. Less stress.
7. Create - Paint. Draw. Write. Make music. Craft. Making something from nothing is an amazing feeling.
8. Get your hands dirty – Dig in the dirt. Tend a plant.
9. Light a fire – I absolutely love sitting around a fire. But lighting a candle inside has a calming effect too.
10. Listen to the rain - Thunderstorms transport me to my youth. We had a covered porch and no A/C so when storms rolled through we would open up the windows or sit outside and let the wind blow our hair. A storm provides a show for all of your senses.
11. Bathe. Sitting in a bathtub surrounded by warm water and soap bubbles… aah.
12. Pamper yourself. Get your hair done. Give yourself a facial. Get a massage or a mani/pedi. Shop.
13. Sing - like no one’s listening.
14. Dance - like no one’s watching.
15. Walk - don’t run. Slow down and actually see and enjoy all the beauty around you.
16. Spend time with a pet – feel some of the unconditional love that only a furry friend can give or just spend some time watching your animal be. When we had one, I would spend a few minutes each day in front of our fish tank just watching the fish do their thing. It was mesmerizing and very relaxing.
17. Talk to a friend. Catch up! Laugh. Cry.
18. Write a letter – even if you never send it–the act of writing something down can be very cathartic.
19. Sit - don’t. do. anything.
20. Explore the Internet – Find a new blog. How? Pinterest is a great place to start–but don’t get stuck there. Click on some of those inspiring pins and then go where they lead you. There are so many amazing people and places and things to experience.
21. Get inspired – inspiration is often elusive, so it’s hard to predict where it might come from. I always feel a slight tingle as I start to get inspired. The key is to act on the inspiration when it strikes!
22. Complete a project – Nothing better than the feeling of accomplishment that comes from seeing something through from start to finish.
23. Say Thank You – let someone know that you appreciate them and why.
24. Star Gaze - look at something beautiful. You need look no farther than your own back yard on a starlit night.
24. Play a game – laughing, playing, and friendly competition — a great combination
25. Plan a trip – the anticipation of going to a place that you love or seeing something new is just as much fan as actually going there!
26. Try something new – It’s never too late… I believe it a secret to youthfulness. Never stop learning.
27. Close your eyes and breath.
28. Snuggle with someone you love. Hugging always energizes me.
29. Swing or rock. This isn’t about your music preference. It’s about sitting on a swing or in a rocking chair and enjoying the rhythm of going back and forth. It is simple but highly effective. (I think it has something to do with taking us back to the womb)
30. Swim - surrounded by water everything is lighter and when the weight of the world is off my shoulders I feel better. Float.
31. Picnic - I love a picnic for it’s no muss no fuss way of being. I’ll just pretend we don’t have to contend with bugs.