Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Relaxation Tips and Routines

I realize I have a bit of a soothing/relaxing ritual at night when I want to wind down after a long day or when my energy levels are too high for me to go straight to bed.  Of course a soothing massage works wonders, but sometimes you just need something very easy and accessible - a home recipe, if you will.  What are some things that you do that work for you?

I have found the following to really work for me:

1. Aromatherapy.  What do you think about essential oils?  I've recently become really intrigued with them.  When I come home late or tired or kind of stressed out, I will light the diffuser in the bathroom (a simple ceramic affair with a bowl perched on top of a hollow base - the top is for water and oil, the bottom for the tea light to warm the water and oil), and I'm not sure if it's the ritual of setting this up that relaxes me or if it's the aromatherapy itself, but either way I find it all very soothing.  Some of my favorite scents are jasmine, neroli, bergamot, rose and ylang ylang.

2. A Hot Shower.  Sadly we do not have a bathtub in the apartment, so a hot shower has to suffice.  But when I am really stressed or tired, a scalding hot shower, especially on my neck and shoulders, really helps.  I then like to wrap myself up in a fluffy robe so I feel insta-good.

3. Hot Tea.  It doesn't matter how hot it is outside - at night, when I am trying to wind down, I want a hot cup of calming, soothing tea.  Obviously I choose one without caffeine - but other than that, the options are endless.  Lately I have been really into the various flavors offered by pukka tea and also the sleepytime tea by Celestial Seasonings.  Chamomile has also been a long time favorite, however I don't really like mint of any kind.

4. A Neck Pad.  I didn't even know that these things existed until I came out to Asia.  One of the foot massage parlors I frequented had these - like bean bags that rest on your neck.  They are filled with herbs and you heat them up in the microwave.  You put them on your neck and shoulder area and let the heat slowly penetrate into your tired muscles.  I have a nice soft one that is filled with all kinds of yummy smelling herbs ("gathered from the hills of Thailand" or some lovely sounding sentiment along those lines) but I use it all the time.

Sometimes I do one of the above, sometimes all four.  It all depends! 

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