12 Relaxing Rituals
From the desk of Jessica L. Molleur, Lic. Ac., DNBAO... Summer is officially here and I can't think of a better way to "celebrate" the season than to really perfect the art of relaxation and smelling the roses. No matter your levels of stress, here are 12 relaxing rituals to help you get into the spirit of summer:
12 RELAXING RITUALS
1. ADOPT A MANTRA
Positive thinking has a way of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. The words you say can bring out your best. Make up your own personal slogan for the day or try one of the following.
“OM” OR “I am doing my best and that’s good enough.”
“I will breathe and stay focused in the moment.” OR “I will travel through my day peacefully”
“I will treat myself and others with kindness and patience”
2. YOU HAVE MAIL!
It is virtually impossible these days to not stay in touch but maybe you need a break. On a daily or weekly basis, turn off your phone, resist checking emails, text messages etc…and take a time out. If it’s important, they will leave a message. Give yourself a media break as well-turn off the TV and stop reading the news.
3. BECOME A MASSAGE THERAPIST!
Before bedtime, take a moment to acknowledge what hurts. It is easy to get caught up in the day and ignore our bodies so tune in and listen. You can ease some of your discomfort or just relax by massaging some of these tender spots. Try your eyes, scalp, face, feet or hands. This is also a great pick-me-up at the office or in the car.
Spend 5-10 minutes each week or month adding to a journal. You can make this task as formal or informal as you want. Try writing for 5 minutes continuously without editing and you may be surprised at what your subconscious reveals. This can also be a great way to take time out to reflect on where you’ve been in the last few months and where you are going. If you are too caught up in day-to-day events, use this journal to make and set goals for yourself.
5. BE AN EXPERT DRIVER
You are racing around to finish errands when someone cuts you off and slams on their horn! Don’t let rude drivers get to you this year! Lay off your horn unless there is a real emergency or danger on the road. Try to make eye contact, smile and wave hello at the offending driver. You will be surprised at how much better you feel and you may get a few smiles in return! If you’re in Boston, their surprised reaction might be worth a laugh.
Find a quiet place where you can’t be disturbed. Meditating is simply the act of focusing your mind on one thing. Close your eyes and practice your breathing. Visualize bringing positive energy through the top of your head as you inhale and releasing negative energy through your feet as you exhale. Count to four for each inhale and exhale. When your mind wanders, tell the interrupting thoughts, “Later!”. Focus on a mantra or phrase, a color or image. If you have always wanted to meditate, but can’t seem to find the time, try practicing the first 5 minutes after climbing into bed.
7.GET OUTSIDE & PLAY
Have you ever heard kids complain about the hot weather? Take a lesson from children and get outside to play this summer. Equip yourself with the right clothing and pick up a summer sport-tennis, swimming, skiing, bocce, or photography are just a few. You’ll be surprised at how energized you may feel after braving the heat!
8.FORGIVE & LET GO
Forgiving and letting go may be difficult but it is even more draining and stressful to carry grudges. You can symbolically let go by writing a letter expressing how you feel and explaining why you need to move on. You don’t need to mail the letter but it may help in just expressing yourself. You can burn the paper or cast it away somewhere when you are really ready to say goodbye.
9.TEA FOR ONE
Take a vacation in your kitchen. Cultivate your tea sense and keep a personal kettle, tea cup and your favorite teas on hand. Sit quietly alone or share this old ritual with friends. Hot or ice tea may just cool your body this summer and warm your spirit!
10. GET IN TOUCH
No matter how stressful your day is, try to put things into perspective by reaching out to a friend or family member. Give them a call or even better-invite them to dinner on the porch.
How many times have you made and broken resolutions for yourself? This year, look at goal-making in a different light. Write down a list of areas in your life-family, health, personal, work, financial, educational or spiritual. Set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound.
Need motivation? Ask for help or try something new. Stepping outside your comfort zone can be liberating and inspiring. It may be that single class, training session or spa treatment that helps you turn a page in achieving your best health.
Jessica L. Molleur is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and massage therapist in Massachusetts and California. She holds a Masters of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, CA. Her training also includes a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of California at Davis, CA. Jessica first became interested in acupuncture as a soccer player searching for an alternative to knee surgery.
She is a National Diplomate of Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine and Chinese Herbology through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Following her acupuncture licensure, she became a Diplomate of Acupuncture Orthopedics. This orthopedic specialty certification is held by fewer than 300 acupuncturists in the United States. Areas of specialty include women's health, infertility, pediatrics, and sports medicine.