My friend Jennie treated me yesterday afternoon to a one-hour Thai massage at a quaint spa in Alabang (thanks again, Jen!). I didn't realize just how long I've gone without a spa treatment till I hit the massage bed and felt the familiar feeling of relief and relaxation as the kneading hands of the masseuse began working on my legs. I used to go to the spa almost every month, and even going as frequent as twice a month when the pressure at work became too much to bear. An average stay at the spa for me would be a little over two hours -- that including a shower, 15 minutes in the sauna, another 15 minutes in the jacuzzi, an hour and a half having my Swedish massage and aromatherapy facial and probably another 30 minutes for lounging around the poolside or the lounge, sipping iced tea and reading a magazine or watching a video. That was pure heaven. The ultimate escape from reality which didn't require me to drive far or spend a lot.
I am not the best person to talk to regarding de-stressing and relaxing. For somebody as high-strung as I am, the thought of just letting go and giving the mind and body a rest has been an eternal struggle for me. Being caught up with the busyness of daily living -- trying to be a mom, a wife, a business owner/slave to clients (well, not always...hehe) and a servant to the Lord's work -- more often than not, leaves me tired by the end of the day! A "worry-wart" for most of my life, it is only now that I am beginning to understand the importance of relaxation and all its benefits.
Recently, I chanced upon this site called Ilona's Reflecting Pool and found interesting and practical de-stressing tips that we could surely learn from man's best friend, the dog. If a dog had a human voice, here are probably some of the advises it would offer:
* Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
* Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
* When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
* When it's in your best interest, practice obedience. (oh dear, tough one....)
* Let others know when they've invaded your territory. (actually, learning to say no is the difficult first step...)
* Take naps and stretch before rising.
* Run, romp and play daily.
* Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
* Be loyal.
* Never pretend to be something you're not.
* If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
* When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
* Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
* Avoid biting when a simple growl will do. (Bite your tongue instead, it's something I do A LOT lately)
* On hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree.
* When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
* No matter how often you're scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout...Run right back and make friends.
* Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Of course, there's good ole' reading a book, taking a hot bath and catching up on sleep to recharge and wash away remnants of worries, stress and tiredness during the day. But I'm always open to new and creative ways to make each day more pleasant and bearable.
What about you? Are you anxious, way over your head with work, stressed-out or just plain dog tired? How do you, in your own personal way, cope with stress and invite relaxation into your life? Care to share them with me? :-)