Saturday, December 31, 2011

Unwind and Pamper

Maybe you've had a hectic schedule this holiday season or you just want to unwind, well I am going to give you some tips on what I do. Most of this might seem oh so simple but sometimes we forget that we have to take some time and take care of someone very important, ourselves. It can become so easy to get caught up in the everyday workings of others lives and all of life's stressors, which is why unwinding is perfect. I fall victim to this often and find myself increasingly stressed and tense, to help combat some of that I set aside some time for myself when I can. Sometime's that means a couple of minutes and other times that means hours just to myself. Whatever it may be here are some tips:

1. Set some time apart
This is perhaps the most important step because carving out a bit of time within the day that is reserved only for you is essential. Even if you can't do it regularly or if you only have a little bit of time, a little goes a long way. Just taking a small respite is beneficial to your mental, physical and emotional well being. Stress can take such a toll on you that it might take some time to notice it's ill effects. So taking a little time to be in your own space alone and quiet is key. A little goes a long way.

2. Soak in the Sun
Does that mean go tanning on the beach? Not necessarily. Just going outside for a couple of minutes and soaking in some sunshine is enough to help reduce stress. Not to mention you get a natural dose of Vitamin D which helps support your immune system. Just find somewhere to stand or sit or even go on a stroll and completely focus your attention on the suns rays and how you feel. Don't dwell on what's bad or wrong in the world just let the warmth of the sun rays envelop you. If you do this, you will find your mood much improved and some of the stress would have ebbed off. 

3. Slow down, live in the Now
This ties in with the previous to as well as the rest. If you have managed to carve out some time for yourself remember to slow down. Sometimes we get so caught up in being fast paced that when we have spare time we want to continue to be on the go. I always noticed how my mental state changes when I'm on holiday elsewhere and when I'm home. Taking your time to do something will help reduce any stress and improve your quality of life. Only think of the task at hand and even then don't study it, just take note of everything within stride. If you are taking a couple of minutes to yourself and happen to be outside sit down somewhere, slow down. Think of nothing but what is present at that moment, shut off all inner dialogue. Savor the feeling of sunlight on your face or take note of your surroundings. Once you learn to slow yourself down and focus on only the immediately present you will feel happier. Noticing the beauty in the small things will bring joy into your life. 

4. Laugh
The saying " Laughter is the best medicine", never rang truer. Something so simple as laughing can help you unwind immensely. Read some jokes, watch a funny movie or scene, anything that will get a smile on your face. Laughing increases your intake of oxygen which stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles and helps release endorphin's. You can relieve tension, increase heart rate and lower blood pressure. If I don't have anything on hand that makes me laugh then I look for something that will make me smile. It tends to be animals for me or simply watching the wonderment of babies. On average adults don't laugh as much as children do and if we did more I think we would feel marginally better. 

4. Listen to Music
Again something that sounds obvious but maybe might be something you overlook. Music is very therapeutic and can arose different emotions in you. Of course the idea is to become relaxed but the type of music is subjective. I prefer classical music as a way to unwind but I understand some people would not agree. Basically classical music or music that elicits a mellow, calm, complacent mood in you is what you want to hear. I chose classical because it is music without any words, so I can think and then after awhile just get swept away by the melodious sounds. Put on some soft music during your "me" time and using the other steps let your thoughts adrift. Also putting on some earphones and cutting out all the sounds from around you helps greatly. 

5. Avoid Confrontations
There's nothing worse than having your mood dampened by a confrontation, so during this time avoid it. Make sure that when you carve out that time for yourself you let others know to not be disturbed. If you can't and there's a possibility to be disturbed just remember not to take it to heart. Disengage as best as you can from the confrontation and make a note to deal with it later or not at all. Find a place where you can avoid the most amount of distractions or confrontations. Even if you only have a short amount of time and are around a lot of people trying to rope you into something or other, disengage and walk it off. Go for a walk, find a bench, a bathroom, an empty room, whatever and disengage. If you only have precious moments to yourself treat them with care and ensure that you get the most out of it as you can. 

6. Breathe and Hydrate
Breathe. Regulating your breathing is something to keep in mind. Taking in full deep even breaths will do wonders for any tenseness you may feel. In conjunction with the other steps you will be on your way to relaxation. Breathing right like laughing is beneficial to your health. Also another thing to keep in mind is to stay Hydrated. Very often one might go prolonged periods without drinking anything and if you are pampering yourself I always like to drink water during. If a glass of wine is what helps you relax then so be it.

7. Massage
It could be that you are getting a massage or giving yourself one but either way its very therapeutic. Whenever I'm stressed and I'm pampering myself I like to get a massage. More often than not I am giving myself my own massage but knowing pressure points help. Following the other steps I take my time when I have a me day, so if I'm putting some lotion on I take advantage and give myself a massage simultaneously. The process of a massage forces you to slow down and enjoy the moment which is ideal for unwinding. Nothing feels better than massaging all those kinks and worries away. 

8. Watch or read your favorite movie or book
While you are taking this time to slow down and be present, what better way than to indulge in watching that favorite movie of yours or reading that new book you own. I love to unwind by popping in my favorite feel good movies and reading books that make me content. You focus on what's happening in the movie or book and eventually get so engrossed that all that anger or stress you had earlier fades into the background. If I'm watching a movie I like putting in movies that aren't too serious, I don't want to elicit a big range of emotions only simple ones. If you keep the movie light-hearted without any complicated themes that may mimic real life it's easy to get lost and disassociate a bit. It keeps you smiling and feeling good which is what you want during this time. Same goes for reading, I tend to pick up a random romance novel and just read it for enjoyment. So pick something up that will elicit only positive emotions from you.

9. Enjoy a Hobby
If you aren't interested in watching a movie or reading then maybe a hobby is the thing for you. Engaging in an activity that gives you pleasure will enhance your life. It can even be something as mundane as counting buildings, so long as it's monotonous and fun. You feel good when you are doing something you enjoy, so why not do that when you have a respite. If it brings a smile to your face or a laugh and thoroughly relaxes you, do it. Focus entirely on the task at hand and in the enjoyment that it brings.

10. Nap
Sometimes within our hectic stressful lives, our sleep is short changed often. If you can get a bit of time to recoup why not take that time to nap. You will feel more refreshed and less tense afterwards and will have gotten some much needed sleep. Even taking little five minute naps can do a lot for your energy level and mood, it can be almost as good as ice cold water to the face. Don't feel guilty about using your time to sleep, this is the time you can be selfish and do what you want.

11. To Cook or Not
This is something that I've recently found to relax me, it ties in with what I've already said previously. Although I don't eat out much sometimes cooking can become repetitive and unenjoyable. If you always eat out maybe cooking some comfort food might be relaxing. Taking your time to cook and enjoy what you are doing will not only enhance the pleasure of the food but also the experience. It can be a great time to listen to some music and just let your thoughts wander. If I do cook to unwind I chose to make meals that although I do not make often I do know how to make, that way making a mistake is less likely. I chose to make food that will leave me feeling content. 
If cooking isn't your idea of winding down then maybe eating out is. Ordering some takeout or maybe going to a restaurant is your idea of relaxing. I've done this also and it's a nice change. Allowing yourself the right to chose whatever meal without any guilt involved is the key. If you don't want to go crazy with the allowances then maybe a mixture of cooking your meal and buying dessert is something you'd like. Basically during this time I allow myself to indulge in what I actually want. That doesn't mean go crazy and become gluttonous but just letting yourself have a little of life's pleasures. It's a way to treat myself and feel good.

12. Pamper Yourself
Remember that you are worth it. The whole idea of taking some time out for yourself is to take care of the most important person, you. This is the time that you can feel selfish and not feel badly for it. You can pamper yourself in different ways. Maybe there's this movie that you have been wanting to see but haven't or couldn't, go see it. Or maybe you have been wanting to go shopping but haven't been able to, go shop. You don't have to spend an insane amount of money, it's all in moderation and within reason. That movie you wanted to go see maybe they have early viewings for cheap if money is an issue. Or how about all those things you wanted but can't afford to buy, well get one thing. Just look for coupons or check the things on clearance and treat yourself to one thing. It could be a new book, to a new nail polish, whatever it is let yourself have something. 
If you allow yourself to get a reward or treat you will feel better, it may sound materialistic a bit but it's true. There's nothing wrong with buying yourself something that will make you happy. Let yourself say yes to something you want after saying no every other day. Remember that you deserve to be happy and feel good, you do not need to rely on others to do it when you can take steps towards it. 

13. Beautify Yourself
Take time to make yourself feel beautiful. When you feel good inside it radiates outwards and that is what we want for ourselves. While you take this time out for yourself, do something that makes you feel beautiful, whatever it might be. What makes one feel beautiful is different for so many people so that is up to you to figure out. There are times that I feel most beautiful without makeup and wearing sweat pants, a big shirt and a pullover. Other times I feel most beautiful when I have my hair, nails and makeup nicely done and wearing a nice outfit. Just make sure you feel comfortable. 
Take this time out to do maintenance grooming if it's fallen to the way side or just pampering yourself. You can give yourself a mani/pedi or maybe go to a salon and get your hair done. It doesn't matter so long as you are doing something that makes you feel beautiful. There's nothing better than treating yourself to a beauty filled day after not feeling so great about yourself. It's a pick me up and while it can sound superficial there's nothing wrong with wanting to feel and look good. Remember that you are doing these things for yourself to make yourself feel good. It is for no ones benefit but your own although it can be.
If you never dress up then maybe take this time to get all decked out and go somewhere even if its just to run errands. Feeling beautiful will affect your mood greatly and even how other interact with you.

14. Positivity
Lastly, think Positive. Throughout all these steps the biggest is your state of mind. Although negative thoughts might intrude into your special time try to push them away. Focus on the Now and think of the positives that are in the moment rather than all the negative that wants to consume you. It might be hard sometimes but refusing to allow any negative thoughts to seep into your present consciousness will allow you to destress. Remember, everything that was bothering and pressing on you before will still be there after you've had your time to yourself. Constantly remind yourself that it will be there after you are done taking a time out, so deal with it later.  

So these are some of my tips to Unwind and Pamper yourself no matter where you may be. The point of this post is to stress that everyone needs a time out and maximizing the allotted time is important. You have to realize that taking care of yourself is essential and just as important as anything else that might be pressing on your mind. At least when you do take time to take care of number one, you, everything else happening in your life will seem so much smaller even if only for a short time. Taking the time to recharge your batteries will do so much for your mental, emotional and physical well being. You can do a lot without having to go on holiday, unwinding is something you should be capable of doing anywhere. 

Hope this helped even if some was a little commonsense. Try it out and enjoy a happier, calmer you!