Interesting relaxation techniques for interesting moms
“Calgon, Take Me Away.”
This famous ad campaign from the ‘80s usually showed a harried housewife trying to get away from it all. By the end of the commercial, she was relaxed and happy in a bubble bath.
These days, a mere bubble bath may not cut it; busy MOMeos need some serious relaxation. Not everyone enjoys their downtime the same way. There are many interesting and unique methods for relaxation which appeal to the broadest of tastes and cater to the most frazzled MOMeo.
While some women use sex as a very effective and fun relaxation technique, we are talking here about breathing heavy in a meditation kind of way.
“Stress relief is a natural thing that happens anytime someone goes into hypnosis,” says clinical hypnotherapist Jennifer Alexander. Hypnotherapy works with the subconscious mind to achieve a specific goal. That might be quitting smoking, losing weight, or just relaxing.
When we daydream, drive, watch TV, or read a book, brainwaves fluctuate between three states: beta (high consciousness) alpha (daydreaming state) and theta (deep meditation). The fourth state, delta, is sleep. Hypnosis reaches the brain between alpha and theta. “Many people think hypnosis is scary,” says Alexander, “and when they come in, they discover they’re often in that same state of mind at all times anyway.”
While some come in solely to reap the relaxation benefits, Alexander says that no matter what you go there for, the bonus effect is always stress relief.
“In a stressful environment, there is an overwhelm of messages coming to the conscious mind, (which) cannot process them all.”
“You naturally go into a hypnotic state in order to process information and release stress.”
The first and most effective way is to learn from a qualified hypnotherapist in one session or to attend a one-day self-hypnosis workshop. If that’s too much, it’s easy to purchase guided self-hypnotherapy CDs or MP3s.
15 minutes of hypnosis is equal to four hours’ sleep, says Alexander, adding even five-minute sessions will have a regenerative effect.
While hypnosis doesn’t replace deep generative body sleep, it helps to calm all that mind chatter. Don’t worry; falling asleep is okay, too.
“Your body will tell you what it needs,” says Alexander, “listen and honor it instead of fighting it.”
Punch It Out
Eric De Guzman has a different form of relaxation. The owner of Teofista Boxing, he’s been boxing since he was a teenager and thinks it’s a great stress reliever.
“Nothing compares to how you feel after you’ve done a class.”
Think this doesn’t sound like a family affair? De Guzman says it’s a great way to spend quality time with your kids:
“Most of the moms that are members come with their kids. There are a lot of partner activities and it gives them something to talk about at home.”
For leery moms, it’s easy to call ahead and ask for a free one-on-one orientation. Most boxing gyms will have classes for beginners, cardio classes, female trainers, and non-contact boxing options.
“It eliminates the intimidation factor,” says De Guzman, “a trainer will show you what to expect without anyone else around.”
The myths surrounding boxing – that it’s violent and dangerous – are completely unfounded, insists De Guzman.
“You say the word ‘boxing’ to some moms and they think of Mike Tyson biting (Evander Holyfield’s) ear off,” he chuckles.
“But it’s not dangerous. Boxing is a very methodical and planned-out sport. There are no unexpected accidents. With the right equipment and instruction, it’s a great tool for teaching self-defense and hand-eye coordination.”
And best of all, he says, it’s fun.
Sweat It Out
Feeling polluted? If you literally need to blow off some steam, this is the place to go. Based on Native American tradition, sweat lodges are a way for individuals to reconnect with themselves.
Though there’s not any real way to prove it, sweat is good for us, says Dr Steven KH Aung, a physician, teacher and traditional Chinese medicine practitioner who studies alternative therapies.
Aung explains that sweat exuding from our body naturally helps purify the toxins constantly attacking and accumulating in our systems.
In other words, they feel good.
Sweat lodges are facilitated by a shaman for as little as two to as many as 16 people. It can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
“It’s a process of spiritual connectedness,” says Tanya Stogre, who participated in her first sweat lodge in June.
“You sweat your guts out, have an experience, and then feel fantastic.”
Although sweat lodges vary, there are generally four different rounds, representing the Earth’s directional points. Each direction represents a different life area; the energy and spirits brought in depend on which direction is focused on.
Most people feel grounded once they have completed their sweat and they are afterwards encouraged to find a way to connect with the Earth. Some people don’t feel a huge release until after the sweat; it might not actually happen in the lodge.
Aung believes sweats should be a regular part of your routine, just like going to the gym.
“Sweats should not be seen as an irregular, anomalous or esoteric experience,” says Aung.
“They serve to help generate total physical, mental and spiritual purification and healing for all concerned.”
No matter what you do to seek stress relief, find something that works for you and don’t be afraid to mix it up every once in a while. Be it a yoga or fire walking, there’s certainly no shortage of ways to get away from it all.
Self-Hypnosis: does it work? Try Jennifer Alexander’s technique and judge for yourself.
- Seek peace and quiet – Start by finding a quiet, comfortable place where you won’t be disturbed.
- Set a time – Decide before you start on the length and amount of time you want to relax. Even when really pressed for time, you can do hypnosis for 5 minutes. Set an alarm clock if you need to.
- Take a few deep breaths – Breathe in through your nose, hold for a few seconds, breathe out through the mouth for a few seconds. Repeat 9 or 10 times.
- Start counting – Count backwards from 5 down to 1. This is called an induction. On the last number, say to yourself: “deeply relax.” This creates an anchor; if you have a formal process to follow, you get into it quicker.
- Talk positive – Once there, give yourself some positive, uplifting suggestions. Keep them simple and to the point, worded in the positive, and all created around the same topic. Examples would be: “I am calm and relaxed, I enjoy being around my children.”
- Do nothing – If talking to yourself seems silly or doesn’t appeal to you, don’t do that. You are free to sit in silence. You don’t have to think of anything at all.
- Come out – When you’re ready to come out, count from 1 to 5 and say “I feel refreshed. I feel great” and get on with your day.