I'd like to read a story about how all the National XX Days get started. Are all of the days of the year now spoken for? How do you go about becoming a national day? Is there a form? Do you pay a yearly due? To who?
At any rate, Saturday is National Relaxation Day. Pretty handy that it falls on a Saturday this year, right?
What's your favorite way to relax? And I'm asking you to go a little deeper than telling me you crack open an IPA and zone out on the deck. Though yes, that can certainly be relaxing.
Admittedly, it's hard for me to relax. I feel like I always have to be doing something or I'll be lazy. But hey, there's nothing wrong with being lazy sometimes when you spend the rest of your existence being super productive. Not that I'm saying that's what I do. I wish I was always super productive.
Here are some of my top favorite ways to relax:
-- Read. Ever since I learned how to read you could find me on a couch with my nose in a book. It's soothing to hop into somebody else's world for awhile.
-- Shinrin-yoku aka forest bathe. I recently wrote an article about this practice. It's important that you don't make it about physical fitness when you head into the forest. There's a time to hike and there's a time to bathe. Looking into the crevices of a tree and smelling its bark wind me way down. I have a favorite secret spot in Cheyenne Canon that's right by the stream. There's a flatish rock and I just sit and let the sound and spray of the rushing water wash over me.
-- Cook. There's something soothing about chopping, mixing and pouring. You can check out of your busy mind and let it be a kitchen meditation.
-- Animal time. After a long day I often like to fling myself on the bed and invite my animals to join me. Just being next to their wiggly bodies and all that soft fur is a stress annihilator.
-- Meditate. There are lots of ways to do this. You can sit, close your eyes and count your breaths or simply say "in" on the inhale and "out" on the exhale. You can practice repeating a mantra like "om." You can listen to any number of guided relaxation podcasts. You'll exit meditation feeling like your brain has been washed clean.
-- Yin yoga. You'll spend the class holding postures on the floor for minutes at a time. Yin helps stretch the fascia - that fibrous material that holds your body together. You'll be so relaxed at the end of a class you won't want to move.
-- Go to a movie. This one can go both ways for me. Sometimes it's incredibly restful to head to a movie that's been out for awhile so there isn't a huge crowd. Sitting in the dark and transporting into another life can be nice. However, if there is a large crowd with crunchy food, loud conversation and annoying cell phones, it can take me straight into stressed out.
-- Have my face rubbed. I've realized that I don't especially love getting a massage, but I do love getting a facial. Having somebody wash and moisturize my face and scrub it with a nubby cloth is a little slice of heaven.
-- Hang in a hammock. I went to Ojo Caliente hot springs in New Mexico at the beginning of summer. After I got a massage (where I finally admitted to myself I didn't love them), I rolled myself and a book into one of the many hammocks hanging around the property. I couldn't make myself move for hours. Ahhh.