Americans have a particular knack for running ourselves ragged in the pursuit of “making it”. What “it” is can vary from person to person but we still hop on those hamster wheels and run like the dickens. We sacrifice sleep, time with loved ones, even our own peace of mind as though this is somehow acceptable. Well, here’s a newsflash…
REST AND RELAXATION ARE NOT OPTIONAL!
Studies now say it’s critical to get eight or nine hours of sleep. Anything less than that and you’ll suffer work-performance failures or other mishaps.
So, I thought I’d share a few of my go tos for calming my mind to a relaxation state and you can do with them what you will.
1. Music Magic
There is something super comforting in listening to music and jingles from when I was little. Firefly, Star Trek, basically anything with a folksy, bluesy or sweeping orchestral arrangement and I am transported to a happy place.
2. Family Time
It’s amazing how easily my nephew and niece charm my money out of my pockets to fly out to California to see them. And it’s not out of character for me to hop in the car and ride out to Georgia or Indiana to see my family. Being with my family is balm for my spirit. Too much time away leads to a mountain of agitation. Good thing we really love and enjoy being around each other.
3. Culinary Creations
I love to cook. My kitchen is a limited recipes allowed zone. I prefer to smell, touch and taste my way to a satisfying outcome.
4. Creative Collaborations
A big part of my psyche is dependent on being productive even when I am in the relaxation zone. A few months back Esperanza Spalding entered into an incredible collaborative project called Exposure. My own modest version of this is my five year old baby http://www.TheWRITEaddiction.com.
In this space I gather weekly with my crew of creatives to practice the discipline of writing with purpose.
5. Playful Painting
Painting is a huge part of my personal wellness plan. When my nerves get bad I run for my brushes, paint and canvas. The painting forces me to let go of my muddled mind and release whatever is bottled up inside of me.
6. The Open Road
Sometimes I just have to get out of Dodge. I have wanderlust in my blood and the only remedy at times has been a change of scenery. Plane ✈️, train 🚂, automobile 🚗, speedboat 🚤, it matters not. I’ve done it all (and will definitely do it again).
7. Spending Time With Friends
I suppose it’s good that I have a healthy dose of wanderlust because my friends are spread all over the place and when they can’t come to me, I usually find a way to roll up on them. 😂
8. Time With My Love
No one can calm me like this man. I thank God for him each and every day.
9. Yoga and Meditation
It can be extremely difficult to still my mind but the benefits are manifold. When I am faithful to my practice I feel the difference all day.
Marta C. Youngblood is a writer, education and social entrepreneur based in Hot Springs, Arkansas. For more information on her current projects visit https://about.me/MCyoungblood.