When you are plagued with chronic illness; be it the host of chronic pain illnesses that I live with, or something like Crohn's, Depression, IBS, PTSD, any other chronic disease or even if you are a major Type A (or High D on the DISC styles), the best thing you can give yourself is the time and a way to unwind.
Now I know (being both a Type A and a workaholic) that that is easier said than done. There are times that I have to actually schedule in my down time. The thing is- it's imperative that you give your body and your mind time to quiet and recharge. No matter who you are you can only go so long before your body rebels. I experienced that countless times pre-diagnosis when I was burning the candle at both ends. I would go and go and go until I just couldn't go any further. You know, and I know, that there comes the point when you can FEEL that you aren't at your best, so rather than wait for that to happen, taking time to destress can make a world of difference.
There are the "usual" ways to relax; take a few minutes to watch the sun rise or set, take a walk, (if you are like me) spend some time with your puppies, spend some time with your children just doing what they want to do, read a book, take an exercise class, go for a bike ride, take in a movie, etc. I am sure you have heard them all. So what else can you do if these aren't working for you or just aren't your cup of tea? Here are a few low to no cost things that I have on my list:
- Do a round of yoga at home. If you have cable, OnDemand often has a yoga video or two. Personally, I prefer this series from YouTube that I can fire up on my iPad, lay it on the floor and follow along.
- If she is not to your liking, there are hundreds of beginners videos on Youtube for you to choose from.
- Re-watch your favorite movie. Pull out that DVD, pop some popcorn and sit back and enjoy. I don't think you want to know how many times I have seen the 8 movies in the Harry Potter series, ;-)
- Turn off all of your devices. I know- BLASPHEMY! One thing that always stops me from truly relaxing is hearing the "ping" or "ding" or different assigned noises from my iPhone, my iPad, my PC. Even if you try to ignore it, in the back of your mind you are wondering "Who was that? What am I missing?" Even if you put them on silent, you can hear the vibrations so it doesn't really help. In order to eliminate feeling like you should be checking to see what's come in you really must turn them all off.
- While you are device free, give yourself a home "spa" treatment. A soaking bath with or without bubbles, a facial/body scrub made of brown sugar and honey to treat your skin, a manicure, a pedicure, soak your aching feet in hot water and epsom salts; pamper yourself!
- Dance your heart out. It doesn't matter that you are at home, if you are alone let loose. If the kids are at home make it a dance party, they will love it! Whatever you do, just fire up the music and go.
- My current favorite way to relax is to COLOR! I have less than zero artistic talent but I can color all day. Do you remember just laying on the floor and coloring when you were a kid? This is my current project: here. Crayola also has us in mind-they have sets of crayons that are twistable mechanical pencils. The books start at $6.99 in store (ALWAYS support your stores if you can get there) and the Crayons run $7.99 to $10.99 depending on where you get them. You can also find some really cool downloadable coloring pages online- just search Coloring Pages for Adults on Google. I can color for hours and block out everything but which shade I will use next.
- Take a warm beverage into a quiet room and just sip it. Don't do anything, I mean NOTHING until you finish your beverage. I am a coffee girl throughout the day but when I want to relax I choose something different. Lipton and Bigelow have wonderful herbal (caffeine free) teas. I like the Peach, Blueberry and Superfruit. I add a little raw, local honey and close the door to my bed room. My current favorite beverage is AOI Tea Company's Blueberry Matcha. It's subtley sweet- I don't add anything and you can make it with milk or water. It is truly divine. I keep a serving of the powder at work for those afternoons when you just need something. I shut my office door for 15 minutes and just enjoy the matcha.
That's a few ideas from me. How about you? Do you have inexpensive ways that you relax? Whatever you do today- give yourself some down time. Stop, breathe and do something just for you.