We all know: Stress: Bad/Relaxation:Good. But, who has time to relax? Do weeks go by, and you find you have had no alone time? Do you feel your shoulders creeping up to your ears from all the stress of the busy day to day? If you listen to your body, it will tell you when it is time to take a break. You can feel it in the tightness in your chest, the tension in your back and the occasional crawling of your skin. A spa day is not happening anytime soon, so, for your own, health you have to get a little creative. When I can grab 15 minutes by myself, I take advantage of it. Studies show breathing slowly, taking yourself out of the game of life for even a few minutes, and doing a quick recharge, is beneficial to your health.
Here are 10 little escapes you can find in the everyday:
1. Leave early for a pick up and wait patiently in the parking lot. Turn off the radio, or tune into the Spa channel if you have Syrius. Spend a few minutes just doing nothing.
2. Turn on the TV for the kids — they’ll live. Do not pay the bills or clean the kitchen. Find a quiet spot in your house for one Disney or Nick show … they are all about 20 minutes, so they are like a little oven timer. They end. Your kids find you. Life resumes.
3. Put your earbuds in and listen to your favorite playlist — if you don’t have one, make one. Tell your family you simply cannot hear them for 15 minutes, so they might as well leave you alone. Sometimes, I listen to my music when I’m cleaning after dinner, the time of night when I am most tightly wound. It works better without dishpan hands, but again, I’ll take what I can get.
4. Tell your kids you are cleaning their room and they should come help you when they can. The disappearing act they will pull is one which would make Houdini envious. Then, close their door, lie in their bed and breathe.
5. Go to the bathroom. This is pathetic, I know, but when I really need a few minutes of silence, I invoke the privacy rule. I bring my book and sit on the closed seat for one chapter. If my book is really gripping, my kids think I have the stomach flu.
6. Get up earlier than the kids. Drink your coffee in the happy silence of a home with sleeping children.
7. Go to your place of worship, not during a service, but during the day. You are forced to sit quietly out of respect. No one will talk to you. If you believe in God as I do, He will listen to you without interrupting — a real novelty.
8. Turn off your phone.
9. Stretch. Breathe. Ignore. Find some space for yourself. I know 1 1/2 hours of yoga is often impossible, but even a few minutes of down dog will bring down your blood pressure, clear your head and better prepare you for the rest of your crazy day. Don’t forget to breathe calmly and deeply and remember to ignore all your kids’ requests for this brief time. They will not die of hunger or thirst in 15 minutes.
10. Write, with a real pen and paper, a stream of consciousness. Jot down what you are thinking about, what you are worried about and what is driving you crazy. You may be surprised at the way this can cleanse you. Then, promptly, burn the paper so you don’t end up divorced or with kids in therapy.
True story: As I was writing this post, Charlie went to the bathroom in his pants — really bad. While I was elbow deep cleaning that up, Shane started shouting, “I’m done … someone wipe me!”, from the other bathroom and then, the company that cleans out our septic tank showed up. I know shit happens, but some days are more like a cholera epidemic. Screw the 15 minutes. Go schedule a spa day.