Saturday, February 7, 2015

My 30 attempts at relaxation

I recently saw a call for "30 simple pleasures to focus on when you're stressed out".

I actually managed to come up with 30.

Photo courtesy
1. Coffee. Because every scene of someone enjoying a simple pleasure is done with a cup of coffee. If you don’t like coffee, put a beverage in a coffee mug and it will have the same effect. Just ask Abby.

2. Reading a good book - written or audio.
I love audiobooks because I can “read” in my car. Huge bonus: pick a book where the narrator has a British accent. You automatically feel like a cultured intellectual instead of a frazzled mom fetching snacks and cleaning bathroom accidents.

3. Watching a good movie. This isn't as much for me, but I know many a movie peeps.

4. Asking your child to tell a story from his/her day at school. You never know what you’ll get, and it’s fun to hear their recollection and then follow up with the teachers. I once asked Jack how his school pictures went. He said, “There was an alligator!” The next day I found out they used a stuffed alligator to get him to smile.

5. Coffee. Because coffee is amazing.

6. Puzzles. Mindless pleasure. I used to think I was a nerd for loving puzzles. Then when I went to share my nerd-dom, I was met with, “Yes! I love puzzles!”

7. Celebrity magazines. I love them because they take zero thought and I always finish feeling as though my life has to be less stressful than a person being followed around by cameras and scrutinized for looking the way I probably look on a good day.

8. Saying yes when your child asks, “Can we snuggle”?
I've never been much of a snuggler and being reminded to do this by my kids is wonderful.

9. Looking at the way your child’s eyes light up when you suggest, “Can we snuggle”? There is nothing quite like being their world.

10. Coloring a picture with your kids (research shows coloring is therapeutic). Depending on your personality, though, this could cause stress. I am Type A and will color a picture and intricately stay within the lines only to have one of my kids “help” with the picture. From there, it all goes to hell.

11. Singing in the car. Bonus if your kids like to sing, because the way they repeat lyrics is hilarious. My son sings “Afro Circus” from Madagascar 3 regularly. The part that goes, “I like to move it, move it” sounds more like, “I’d like a Ford Focus” when he sings it.

12. Dancing with your kids (bonus - use your computer camera to record these sessions. We have a Mac and this allows them to see themselves AND record simultaneously. Gets great results). Also, let them dance to music from your past. We recently had fun dancing to Backstreet Boys.

Dallas Page
13. Yoga. Whether you're all about namaste or diamond cutters, it's a good release.

14. Coffee. Because it cures all.

15. Going for a run/swim. If you’re a runner, it’s a huge pick-me-up if you can run with your kids in a jogging stroller. Passers-by will look at you like you’re a god. I was once running with my 3- and 2-year olds in tow and was saluted by a man wearing military gear.

16. Journaling. As long as you don't have snoops in your house who can also read.

17. Playing a board game with your kids. Unless they're overtired. Then it has the opposite effect.

18. A glass of wine with your husband at the dining room table. It’s like a date night.

19. Coffee. Because I’m really drilling this point home.

20. Reconnecting with an old friend. You can do this by phone, email or in person.

21. Discovering a new TV series to watch.

I really need to get this book. Feel free to buy it for me.
22. Buying the Q&A book for kids and asking them a new question each day. e.g. “I wish I had more _____” and they fill in the blank.

23. Looking through old photos with your kids — they’ll have fun seeing younger versions of themselves or what you looked like when you were younger. Though, if they’re like my kids, they’ll just ask, “Where am I?” and then you have to go back to the younger versions of themselves.

24. Baking. Unless you're on a diet.

25. Eating what you baked. See No. 24.

26. Playing board games with adults. Just make sure you pick people who are not sore losers. I have to pick people who are going to take the game seriously. Because ... it's a board game. Serious business. This may or may not defeat the purpose of de-stressing.

27. Looking out the window with your children, especially if they’re younger. It’s amazing what fun an be derived from observing squirrels.

28. Listening to your younger children talking to each other. I love listening to them in the morning over the monitor.

29. Buy stuff. Only relevant if you have money.

30. Taking a bath like the ones you see in the movies with bubbles and wine. Do not attempt if you have too small a bath tub. Trust me. It’s not the same.