31 December 2013

Relax, Cat

Hey virtual friends.

Want to know about something that is so important, but that I am so terrible at?

Taking care of yourself.

It's probably one of the most important and most overlooked things in my life, and in most of your lives I'm guessing.  Why is that?  Why is it so easy to neglect ourselves?

I am extremely talented at running myself into the ground and burning myself out.  Anyone else out there have this amazing gift?

In the past I have found myself regularly in tears by 8am because I am so exhausted and overwhelmed. 

This is not ideal.

So I have come up with a little list.  5 ways to take care of yourself in 10 minutes.  We all have 10 minutes we could spare for ourselves, right??  Carry on.

1.  Meditate
Seriously one of the quickest, best ways to ground yourself and alleviate stress.  Go somewhere quiet (I have even locked myself in the bathroom with the fan on.  Don't tell my kids).  Sit or lay comfortably.  Close your eyes.  Take deep, slow breaths.  Focus your thoughts completely on your breathing.  Don't think about the laundry piled up.  Don't think about what happened yesterday with your husband, or what will be happening tomorrow at work.  Force your mind to stay focused on your breathing.  In and out. That's it.  (Anyone interested in more meditation tips at some point?)

2. Stretch
When we are stressed and overwhelmed, our muscles tighten up and our bodies hold the tension we are feeling in our psyche.  Take a few minutes to stretch your sad muscles.  It will make a difference!  Below are some examples of basic stretches.  I know the picture isn't the best quality, but it has a good variety of upper and lower body stretches.

3. Dance
When you need to bust out of your funk, bust a move.  Turn on your iPod, or radio, or CD player, or 8track (is that what they were called?) to a fun, energetic song, and dance like nobody's watching.  Because hopefully there will be nobody watching.  It has been clinically proven that music can improve your mood (or make your mood worse, depending on the type of music you choose).  So put on a happy jam and get your John Travolta on.  One of my current favorites is Chewing Gum by Annie.  You're welcome.

4. Read
Book, magazine, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, your favorite blog (*wink*wink*), anything to take you away from the stress of the moment.  Sometimes FB and Instagram make me more stressed because I see all these perfect people with their perfect lives and their perfect hair.  But other times I like connecting with my friends and looking at fun pictures.  Just decide what you're in the mood for.  And remember, it's only 10 minutes!  It's easy to get sucked in to this one.

This is one of my favorites.  Whether it's writing on a blog, in a journal, or venting on Facebook, writing can be so cathartic.  Taking ten minutes and a pen and just letting whatever spills out spill out.  Don't worry about editing, don't worry about spelling (unless you're me, and then you always worry about spelling), just write.  You'd be surprised how much better you feel after getting all that stress and emotion out of you and onto paper (or a keyboard :).

There are countless other ways to relieve stress.  Not all of these will work for you.  But maybe one or two of them will.  Pick one to try sometime today.  All you need is some stress.  And ten minutes.


Anonymous said...

I like to take hot showers. Gives me a break and relaxes me!

Anonymous said...

Loved it!!! :) I would love some more meditating tips! I have the hardest time letting go of my thoughts, almost impossible.
Thanks for this awesome entry!

Nikki (Have Joy) said...

Anonymous1... I like to do that too!

Anonymous2, letting go of thoughts is a tough thing to do. Thanks for the comment! I will be sure to post some meditating tips in the future. Let me know if you try any of these tips!

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