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The Path Every Mama Needs to Find Her Authentic Key to Relaxation.
A few months back, I was getting really tired of always being tired. I tend to be the type of person that will stay up super late (unknowingly) trying to stay focused and get work done in the uninterrupted quiet. But what that always—always—leads to is me being super exhausted, super cranky, and unable to actually focus on the things that really matter. Basically the opposite of relaxation on any given level.
Finding Yoga For Relaxation
In finally accepting that I needed something to help me relax and be able to focus on those things that are most important, I decided to find a yoga class. Several of my friends had been swearing by the hot yoga thing, but since there’s no childcare at the yoga studio I had to settle for yoga at the YMCA.
My first classes proved a challenge, but only because of being worried about my little one being in a new childcare setting that was unfamiliar, and mostly because of something I hadn’t acknowledged before: I didn’t really know HOW to relax.
Yes that sounds ridiculous. I know this. But seriously—after having kids, I think so, so many moms get into the caretaker/do everything all the time role that we fall away from even knowing HOW to relax and recharge and, ultimately, take care of ourselves.
I never understood how to consciously breathe to settle my thoughts. I stretched before, but not to the extent that I was truly listening to and feeling my body as I did it. Needless to say, my first 2 weeks of yoga was really a wake-up call for me. I only do it 2x a week, but honestly, if I didn’t have obligations that 3rd day/week, I’d do it that day, too!
Finding Meditation for Relaxation
Another beautiful thing this led to was meditation. So for anybody ready to tune me out with my granola-talk—give me a minute! Seriously—I grew up in the polar opposite of granola-mindset. With people that constantly scoffed at anything that turned your attention inward to grow your spirituality, unless that included good ole Southern Baptist prayer.
Anyway—after wearing myself down over and over again, I decided to try meditation. Guided meditation by way of an app that talks you through it. I’ll be frank here, though—I tend to spiral downward around 2pm in the arena of consciousness, so I usually end up falling asleep before the 30 minutes is over. But the minutes that I’m awake for are glorious!
And the meditation doesn’t have to happen at home. It can happen in your car, a safe quiet place at work, or even in a forest! Forest bathing is an awesome way to meditate and soak in the health benefits of the plants at the same time!
Clearing your mind, and focusing on your body and mind and how you’re operating are such an integral part of your own ‘maintenance’. Many of us Mamas tend to put that part very last on our list of to-dos. And it should really be closer to first. Think about it—how far would your car get, and how reliable would it be, if you didn’t do maintenance? It would break down frequently, possibly causing permanent damage to the car. The difference between the car and your body is that the car can have replacement parts purchased. We don’t have that luxury. If that beautifully crafted ship of yours is to stay afloat and keep your precious cargo well -tended and safe, you must keep it well maintained.
Finding YOUR Personal Brand of Relaxation
I’ve heard tons of suggestions for relaxation techniques through the years, all pertaining to what I’ve just spouted—yoga and meditation mostly. But there’s another kind of relaxation that many don’t even think about—the relaxation you get from doing things you ENJOY.
My husband likes to tell about how when I’ve had a particularly taxing day/week that I like to meet him at the door on his way in from work, flying past with a, “Be back later, going to see a movie.” He likes getting a good laugh, but this has transpired in this manner only twice, probably, in real life. Most of the time I ask if he minds if I go see a movie alone. Then I go to the Cinema Grill (for anybody who doesn’t know what this is, it’s the best friggin idea in a long time when it comes to watching movies—you eat an actual meal AND can get grown-up drinks while you watch your flick!) and melt into the reclining seats and enjoy my grownup drink and cheat day appetizer (or 3) without having to share with anybody. Or let somebody recline on top of me. Or explain 37 times during the movie what’s going on. Or, well—anything else for that matter!
See, I’ve always LOVED going to the movies. It’s an escape for me, and I really just get to totally unwind when I can enter someone else’s fictitious world and just watch things unfold with no danger to myself. I love a good laugh, I adore a good love story, and I thrive on adventure and wit. Movies recharge me.
Not what you were expecting for ‘relaxation’ methods, huh? Well, I admit it would take a lot for me to give up my yoga and meditation, but when I need a serious detachment to fuel my creativity and motivation, I see a movie. Alone.
See, everybody is wired differently, and even though our bond through being Mamas exists, it doesn’t change how we’re wired. Every single person will find a different thing they enjoy to be their relaxation, or un-winding ‘key’. Think of it as your ‘skeleton key’. It can lock away your fears and anxieties that have been creeping in. Or it can open the door to more creativity, energy, or a different outlook you haven’t considered yet.
If you haven’t found your skeleton key yet, think really hard about the things you enjoy doing. If you have several, how about trying each one methodically, and journal how you feel about each one. List pros and cons of each. Take your time and see which one or ones really let you unwind and recharge. It’s ok to find more than one and rotate them!
Your one rule is to focus on yourself. Do this alone. Get a sitter or leave the kids with your partner.
Whether or not your kids—or your partner—enjoys these activities is of ZERO concern.
It’s not about them. It’s about YOU.
Need help brainstorming your skeleton key to relaxation?
Download the mini-journal by clicking the image below!
Have you found your ‘skeleton key’ to relaxation and unwinding already? Let me hear about it in the comments!
And if you know someone who could use some help finding theirs, SHARE this post!