I Ask: What Do I (You) Do To Relax?

Okay people, I don’t want to this “I Ask” to be like my How do I keep from getting sick? where you just suggested that I drink vodka all day. I’m going for how to relax in that rejuvenate way that shower gels and spas promise.

I don’t want to space out mindlessly on The Ghost Whisperer and Law and Order reruns because I don’t feel better afterwards. I’m still tired and vaguely shocked that I stayed up until 11 p.m. to see IF THAT GUILTY GUY IS GUILTY AND/OR A GHOST.

I’ve thought about picking up yoga again but between my work schedule and summertime with the kids, I don’t think that it’ll happen outside of the house. And when I tried to do yoga the other day, it was to the theme of Mario Kart while trying to convince my daughter not to roll up my yoga mat everytime I wasn’t in warrior pose.

I am trying to read BOOKS again.  And that helps.  After my love affair with a line from a Jonathan Franzen essay and a strong recommendation from two friends, I plan to read Freedom in the next few weeks.  I tend to get a bit obsessive with books so I’m not sure if it’s a viable option for daily rejuvenation since hiding in the bathroom for three hours to finish JUST ONE MORE CHAPTER isn’t the best parenting technique. Probably.

Of course, writing helps, but I’ve realized that I need something outside of my computer and journals. But not like REALLY OUTSIDE because it’s already 90 degrees here in Virginia.

I’m envisioning something that isn’t more than 30 minutes per day, and I can do on most days of the week. Or something that’s an hour but I can pull off at least 1-2 times per week. Or pretty much anything. Because Law and Order: L.A. is the worst show on television.

So I ask: What do I (you) do to relax?

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

31 thoughts to “I Ask: What Do I (You) Do To Relax?”

  1. Besides the obvious (i.e., sleeping), I use writing as a way to relax. If I want to get out of the house, I do volunteer work which also helps me to meet new people.

    (Yes, Law & Order can be addictive. I’ve never watched L.A., though. I’m a Criminal Intent gal.)

  2. I know you mentioned it above, but I read to relax. I love biting into a good novel, and getting lost in the plot with all the characters. I am trying to read more classics lately, and just finished the Count of Monte Christo. Treasure! False imprisonment! Poison! Revenge! Love! Pirates! It was fantastic – and very relaxing!

  3. I watch Psych because it’s really lighthearted/silly, and I scrapbook and do arts and crafts projects. (This really can be relaxing- just don’t do anything too complicated.) You can even do art outside (in the shade when it’s not super hot). I’ve been meaning to go on some more walks (with or without iPod music) since I live near a nice walking trail. Also- I guess this one isn’t really a suggestion- sometimes I just sit around petting Jazz (my cat) and thinking. (My friends make fun of me for this!)

  4. Freedom is a great book. But I hear you – when a book is worth reading (as in, it’s totally engaging) – I tend to obsess about finishing the thing. I don’t really have any other relaxation tips although I do find working through laundry to be slightly therapeutic. I’m weird though.

  5. I get obsessive about books. Obsessive is not relaxing. But good in it’s own way.

    I like a walk (it has to be early to be nice here).

    Or talking to a good friend.

    Or dancing to good music. This is the only one that the kids really enjoy and make more fun for me. Dance party!

  6. I get my nails done. It allows me to sit, drink a coffee, watch a bit of television, walk away looking spiffier and not spend very much money.

    I also go to bed reeeallly early (8:30ish) because time in the sheets makes me a nicer, more relaxed, kinder in tone person.

  7. The most relaxing part of my day is when I take a shower. Especially on the weekend because my husband has to watch our daughter during that time. I used to relax in the bath but our daughter always wants to climb in. I just stand there and let the hot water run on me and just turn it hotter and hotter. Not so great for my dry sensitive skin but whatever. Also, a glass of wine is very relaxing. Both things you can do every day.

  8. I read this morning about a writer who goes into her backyard and pulls weeds whenever she gets stuck in her writing endeavors. Weeding? or Gardening? There is always pulling old wall paper. How about dictionary reading, one of my favorites.

  9. I agree with the person who posted about showering. That’s the only thing that let’s me chill without sending me to sleep.

    Also, women’s magazines are delightfully light. After breezing through a few of those I feel like I’ve simultaneously done something and nothing. That’s gotta be good, right?

  10. Relax? What’s that? Oh. That. I read. And read and read and read and read, but I don’t have any little kids. When I did, I put a hook and eye way up high on the bedroom door so they couldn’t get out and I gave them a few little quiet toys and I went to sleep after we sat in a row and read. I don’t watch TV. It isn’t entertaining and I always just sit and sit and sit there.
    What’s the book FREEDOM about?
    Gardening. That I started with my small children because the yard was fenced and they could run around and swing and dig in the dirt while I gardened. That was before global climate change.
    Once in awhile I sleep.
    Love, Marge

  11. I am a read a book, go on a walk, work in the garden, watch TV, nap to relax kind of girl. I did prenatal yoga and loved it. I just never had the time or money to do it when not pregnant.
    You could get a professional massage every once in a while.
    Pedicures are nice too. That’s like 30-45 minutes. Although you might not need one every week. If you do, please please go get them. 🙂

  12. Play Color Sudoku on my iPhone and try to beat my record of 3.03 ~ or make lists of all the things I’m going to do in my free time, when one day I have free time.

  13. A long, hot bubble bath usually works for me once I’ve put the little one to bed. This is usually followed by an additional 20-30 minutes of laying on the bed in just a towel to cool down from the hot bath. I set my iPhone on the bathroom counter (don’t want it to fall in the tub!) and play whatever music suits my fancy that day too. Sometimes I’ll even sneak one in during his nap time if I’m feeling especially stressed or tense. And may I recommend using Bath and Body works aromatherapy bubble bath too. Their lavender vanilla (Sleep) and Orange Ginger (Energizing) are my favs!

  14. I watch Korean Dramas while I make dinner and do the dishes, but it can be a bad thing, as it’s like a good book you don’t want to put down and you end up handing the kids frozen waffles for 3 meals a day and forgoing baths just so you can watch the next episode….so I am not really a big help am I?

  15. How about just dance on the wii the kids can join you… It is a ridiculious work out… And maybe if they get into the wii u can read a book while they bowl… Or copius amounts of wine.

  16. I’m not a morning person So i stay up a little bit after everyone else has gone to bed and just do whatever I want! Maybe read a book, or a magazine. Watch a bit of whatever is on TV. I have chips without having to share.
    It’s alone time and it’s quiet.
    To me, that is primo relaxation!

  17. I have to agree with Erica, the best time of my day is in the shower, by myself. And sometimes I take a glass of wine IN the shower with me (if I’m showering at night, of course). The bathroom is my sanctuary. Although, I’ve started incorporating “adult time” at my house. The baby goes down at a certain time every night and I’m free for a few hours to myself to just do whatever. Usually shower…

  18. Here are the things I do to relax (although I don’t know if any of them will work for you):
    1) read
    2) write
    3) dance party with the younger son (he’s not judgmental and the endorphins are nice)
    4) soak in the tub with a beer– or you could turn this into a thing where you do something girlie just for yourself once or twice a week.
    5) Sit on the back porch at night, after the kiddos have gone to bed (this has not worked out recently, due to the cicadas) and contemplate life.

    I do not suggest meditation– just because meditation is synonymous with napping, for me. Just call it what it is– napping.

  19. Just reading the comments has reminded me of some of the things i like to do to relax (paint my nails, garden, etc).

    I’m also a big fan of magazines. I decide the start/finish/duration of my magazine reading. I typically read magazines that inspire me or make me feel good (Real Simple, O, Adoptive Families).

    Of course, monthly massages don’t hurt either… 😉

  20. Have you tried those self-hypnosis relaxation tapes? I think they help. Not that I believe in hypnosis, but if you listen to the droning voice long enough, they just lull you into sleep. Maybe that’s what hypnosis actually is?

  21. have sex.

    less than 30 minutes most days of the week, or an hour a couple of times a week.

    if i can watch 30 rock before (while i wait for the kids to fall asleep), and read for a little while after, it is truly the perfect evening.

  22. Let’s see…what do I do to relax…

    I garden, can, write, knit, read…

    But I don’t read “good for you” books to relax. I read lusty, comedic, light hearted novels that leave me giggling.

  23. Twitter? LOL No, just kidding. I have recently started a potted garden. Not a pot garden. A potteD garden, on my balcony. It’s kind of relaxing. And the mint smells nice. A pot garden would be relaxing too, but in a different sort of way. And it would probably leave you feeling worse than Law and Order LA.

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