By Riva Preil
Believe it or not, relaxation is within reach. Before spending large sums of money on expensive massages or spa treatments, I encourage you to try the following user-friendly, at home strategies…
1. Designate personal “you” time at least three times per week for half an hour each. Take advantage of this time to engage in activities that are geared solely and exclusively to…YOU! For example, read a book, play a musical instrument, write a letter, or watch an entertaining (preferably humorous) television show or movie. Laughter works wonders for our central nervous system and muscles!
2. Take a nice walk in the park. Both a nice languid stroll as well as a brisk power walk will improve blood flow and help reduce stress.
3. Hot baths work wonders. Fill your tub or Jacuzzi, light the candles, power up the music (highly recommended is Pandora’s relaxation station!), power down your iPhone, and sink down into the water. Allow the heat to suffuse your body until you can physically feel yourself relaxing. Empty your mind. Listen only to the music, not that to-do list in your head. (If you are having trouble turning down the volume of that voice shouting out your to-do list, I recommend keeping a pen and paper nearby. Jot down anything you are afraid of forgetting. Putting it on paper will “permit you to let go.” It is recorded in a safe place and you can return to it LATER. This will allow you to live the here and now, the PRESENT, in a more relaxed state.)
4. After your bath, stretch the warmth with a cup of tea- try chamomile or mint, which calm the stomach, or green tea, which tames the body’s free radicals.
5. Dress in loose fitting clothing- tight clothing can increase skin irritations and can decrease blood flow.
6. Adjust your sitting surface- find a chair or cushion to help alleviate tailbone and or perineal pain. Search on the internet for “sitting cushions”- many are designed with cut outs to decrease pressure to areas prone to irritation.
7. If Pilates or spinning is your preferred exercise of choice, try substituting a relaxing Yoga class or home DVD instead. The stretches combined with deep breathing have an extremely calming effect on the body.
8. Last but not least, many people find meditation to be a wonderful stress reduction technique. There are many books, tapes, and online courses that teach the right way to perform meditation. Once you learn how to properly meditate, it’s a great way to gain a sense of calm and stability that lasts. And, like deep breathing, it’s something you can do anywhere, anytime for a few minutes to get a quick hit of relaxation.
Don’t you feel more relaxed already? Please enjoy any and all of these techniques, and may your body reap the relaxation benefits!
(Adapted from Amy Stein’s Heal Pelvic Pain)