Tag Archives: Relaxation

Gilmore Girls as stress relief.

28 Nov

As stress reaches extreme levels this week due to research papers, final presentations and final exams, I’ve had to give myself daily stress relief so I can keep my sanity. Yesterday’s stress relief involved 20 minutes on the elliptical at the campus gym and 30 minutes of yoga stretches, which was just what I needed. Today, however, after a long day of classes and a night of studying for my Humanities exam tomorrow and working on my Humanities research paper ahead of me, I know I need an extra special stress relief. Therefore, I’ve turned to the stress relief classic: Gilmore Girls. It’s a tv show that never ceases to relax me and make me laugh. To make things even better, I’m giving myself a double dose. 🙂

Photo Friday: A best friend reunion in autumn.

26 Oct



I’ve included two photos for today’s Photo Friday because I absolutely love fall (It really is the perfect season), and my best friend, Skidmore, is coming down from Virginia today to spend the weekend with me. We’re planning to go shopping (yay retail therapy), watch movies (which will be chick flicks galore, obviously), jam out to Taylor Swift’s new album (since she’s our favorite singer. Yes, guilty as charged) and just do our typical best friend things. I can’t wait, especially since I haven’t seen Skidmore since the beginning of August. This best friend reunion will be much needed after the stressful week that I’ve had. And having Skidmore here during my favorite season is as close to perfection as things could ever get. 🙂

When in Ireland, travel to push through writer’s block.

3 Jul

After yesterday’s post (When in Ireland, write through the uncertainty) I have been really introspective. Introspective about my writing, my life, my current experiences. Though I normally get introspective when I talk about my writing, I was especially introspective last night.

I’ve been told that travel is great for writers because being in a new place with new people can help boost creativity and the writer’s spark that most writers can understand on some level. I agree that travel is a great way to broaden one’s perspective in order to create a writing style with more variety. However, what about those times when you’re traveling and you’re just blocked? Completely and utterly blocked.

Other than the uncertainty post I wrote yesterday, I’m pretty much stuck in a rut. I know I need to write. I need it like every single person on Earth needs water. However, I just can’t seem to grab hold of something that takes more than a day to write. I’m writing daily blog posts, and those are hard enough to get out these days. I’m used to my blog posts being pretty easy to write out. Even the posts that tend to be pretty emotionally heavy, the looming thought that I’ll feel better once I get the words out is what pushes me forward, what pushes me to keep typing until the only thing that I feel is relief, relaxation, and maybe happiness. Recently though, writing my blog posts has been hard. I love it. I do. I’ve felt so much happier since beginning this blog last November, and it’s never been something that I’ve had to force. I’ve always wanted to write my daily posts. I still do want to write them, even now. I guess it’s just not quite as easy right now.

As writers, I know we all get stuck though. And those of us who are true writers push through the writer’s block and keep on going. And that’s what I’m doing. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m not faced with moments where I’m staring at my computer screen waiting for the words to come to me. Waiting for them, all the while knowing that they will come eventually. They will. They have to. They are what I know, who I am, and what makes me feel alive.

Monday’s Musings.

23 Apr

It’s Monday aka the beginning of finals week. I realized that I haven’t made a motivation list in a while, so here are the things that are helping me get through finals week.

  • Summer!–I’m done on Thursday, and then it’s me and pleasure reading for weeks on end. Ah, it sounds so amazing. I can’t wait!
  • Alison Krauss and Union Station concert with my mom on Saturday!–We both love Alison Krauss. Her voice is simply beautiful, and I can’t wait to hear her perform live.
  • Sleep!–Which is always something college kids look forward to since not much sleep occurs during finals. I can’t wait to just cuddle up in my comfy bed with a book, reading late into the night.
  • IRELAND!–Yes, this probably should have been first on the list, but I won’t be leaving for Ireland until around June 18th, so I’ve got a while to wait. However, it’ll be exciting to put together packing lists and figure out all the cool places my mom and I are going to see when we travel around for a week before my program in Galway begins. I’m really happy that we will be able to experience Ireland together!
  • Spending quality time working on my memoir!–I haven’t be able to dedicate long spans of time to working on my memoir in a while since I’ve been busy with finals and work, etc, but I’m glad that I will be able to spend more time with it this summer. I’ve been in somewhat of a writing rut recently, but I think that’s partly because I’ve reached the point where I finally have to confront some of the really delicate memories that I’ve put off dealing with. However, this summer will be a good time to do that since I won’t have much else to focus on that’s important.

That’s about it for what’s getting me through this week, but I can do it. One day at a time, right?

Life has no smooth road for any of us; and in the bracing atmosphere of a high aim the very roughness stimulates the climber to steadier steps, till the legend, over steep ways to the stars, fulfills itself. -W.C. Doane

What are some things helping you get through this week? What do you use as motivation when you know a busy week is coming up?

Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days…

5 Mar

….of summer. Though it’s not summer, it’s been a lazy day for me. I’m on Spring Break though, so I’m allowed to be lazy right? I think so!

I started off my lazy day by sleeping til noon. Though that may seem insanely late to most of you, it’s pretty typical of most college kids when they come home for breaks. However, I don’t think I’ve slept til noon since last summer, so it’s been a while. I needed the sleep though. Last week before Spring Break I had 3 midterms, a paper, work, and regular classes, so after all of that, I was WIPED! Also, during that week I didn’t get much sleep since I spent so much time studying in the library or going to class or work. Whew, busy busy! It’s been so, so nice to have a break, and I’ve needed it.

Anyway, my lazy day then continued by making black beans and brown rice with green salsa for lunch and watching re-runs of Grey’s Anatomy on Lifetime. Ah, gotta love it! Though black beans and rice was my staple for a while, I haven’t had it as much recently (not including the days that I work at the campus bookstore since I only have 15 minutes to eat). Anyway, it was nice to have it again. It’s a nice comfort food, even though my favorite comfort food is chicken perlo (which is a moist version of chicken and rice that’s incredible! If you’ve never had it, you should definitely give it a try).

After lunch, I curled up on the couch with a blanket and immersed myself in the words of Jodi Picoult’s newest novel, Lone Wolf. As I’ve said before, Jodi Picoult is my favorite author. I’m loving Lone Wolf as much as I have enjoyed all of her other novels. I’m even more amazed by her because in March of 2010, I got to opportunity to hear her speak about her book, House Rules. It was one of the best days I’ve ever had. Getting to hear her speak was the equivalent Bieber-crazed teenager having a front row seat to a Justin Bieber concert. Since my mom and I got to Jodi Picoult’s talk so soon, we got to be in the front row (since the tickets for the event didn’t have assigned seats). I also got House Rules signed by Jodi and asked her to put in one of the comments I enjoyed from her talk. It was: “Writer’s block is for those who have a luxury of time.” It’s something I have to remind myself as a writer, and I just love that my all-time favorite author was able to teach me something so valuable!

Simple Saturdays.

14 Jan

I’m spending my Saturday morning with coffee and Knit Two by Kate Jacobs, which is the second book in the Friday Night Knitting Club series. I’m not very far into it since I just started it a few days ago, but so far it’s good. I loved the first book of the series, and I hope I enjoy this one just as much. I’ll be reviewing it once I finish, and so it’ll be my second completed book of 2012. Stay tuned for the review in a day or two!

Also, last night was nice and relaxing as well. I went to my first restorative yoga class of the new year (since being back in Asheville), and it was great. I was able to get incredibly relaxed, and it was especially nice after my first “week” of work. Though a pedicure on Monday with my friend Malia will be great for my sore feet, yoga was just what I needed after the first week of the spring semester. When a new semester comes around, I get excited, but the first week is always a bit stressful since it’s necessary to take time to get situated and everything. I have a feeling that next week will be much better since I’ll be settled in, as well as having MLK Day off. It’ll give me a chance to get some rest and gear up for another week of classes and work. Hoorah!

I’m planning to continue to take things slow today. Ya know, read…clean…some homework…maybe a movie. There’s nothing like a simple Saturday after a busy week.

How are you spending your Saturday? 

Find Your Inner Yogi.

25 Dec

Happy holidays everyone! It’s been a nice Christmas here full of family time, opening presents, eating lots of yummy food, and just having the chance to all be together.

This Christmas I got a yoga mat (like the one pictured below). I’ve recently gotten into restorative yoga in Asheville, and so my mom figured I needed my own mat for the times when I wanted to do yoga but didn’t have the time to catch one of the restorative classes during the week.

According to restorativeyogaposes.com, restorative yoga is a therapeutic style of yoga that promotes deep relaxation for the body through supportive poses. The more the body is supported the deeper the relaxation can be experienced. In full relaxation, there is no movement, no effort and the mind is silent. Restorative yoga helps to engage the parasympathetic nervous system allowing for improved digestion and the reduction of muscle tension, chronic stress, fatigue, blood pressure, serum triglycerides, and blood sugar levels. While the body relaxes in restorative yoga poses, health is promoted throughout all of the organs, tissues, and body systems.

Here are some restorative yoga poses (with definitions and techniques) that I’ve done in restorative yoga classes:

  • Salamba Savasana (Supported Corpse Pose): This pose helps calms the brain and reduces stress, headache, fatigue, and insomnia. It relaxes the body and helps lower blood pressure. Technique: 1) From a sitting position turn to one side and gently lower into a side-lying position, then roll onto your back. 2) Take care to position the legs evenly angled away from the midline of the body and the arms out the side, palms face up. Make sure the shoulder blades are relaxed and spread the collar bones. 3) Allow the inner muscles of the legs, arms, and face to soften. Release any lingering tension in the body as you scan head to toe. Let the eyes be heavy and close the lids dropping inwards into the pose and releasing the external world. 4) Remain in this pose for 10 to 30 minutes while you integrate your mind, body, and spirit and allow your whole being to refresh and renew once more. 5) To release from the pose being by wiggling the fingers and toes, waking the body and then stretch the arms overhead and lengthen the spine with a few deep breaths. Bend your left leg and roll onto your right side. Stay here for a few breaths before pushing up to a comfortable sitting position.
  • Supported Reclining Twist: This pose is especially beneficial at the end of a practice to restore and rebalance the nervous system. The internal organs benefit as well as blood. Technique: 1) Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent. Place a bolster or pillow to either side of you. 2) Roll to one side and allow the entire length of your spine be supported from the bolster behind you as you ¼ turn back onto the support. 3) Hug the other bolster placing it between your knees and drawing it close the chest.

These are the only 2 I remember for now, but once I get back to Asheville and get back into the swing of the restorative classes, then I’ll have an update. Overall though, restorative yoga has helped me immensely. I have Cerebral Palsy, and I had tried yoga before. However, because of my CP I hadn’t been able to do many of the yoga poses. However, with restorative yoga, the poses concentrate on relaxation and comfort, so I’m able to do them. Plus, there are always variations to different poses if there are certain positions that are difficult or painful. Therefore, I encourage all of you to embrace your inner yogi. Even if you’ve never tried yoga or never really wanted to, it’s at least worth a shot. It has greatly decreased my anxiety and stress.

Also, my mom let me use one of her yoga cds called Yoga Zone: Music for Meditation, and it has been great background music for all of the restorative yoga poses!

Keep in mind too that I’m new at restorative yoga, so I’d love some feedback or suggestions if you have any! 🙂 

The Sweetness Of Doing Nothing.

7 Dec

Today I was reminded of a quote from Eat Pray Love: “We call it “dolce far niente”, the sweetness of doing nothing.”

All over the world people are busy. People are working, or studying, or driving, or simply wandering. But who ever said that it’s wrong to just spend 10 minutes immersed in the feeling of doing nothing. Freeing your mind of all anger, worry, sadness…and just being. I definitely know from experience that I don’t give myself time to do nothing. I worry too much to even attempt that. But maybe that’s the key. Realizing that often times telling myself that I can’t do something makes me believe I can’t. So if I told myself I could do something…where would the opportunities end?

I think I came close to “the sweetness of doing nothing” when I went to restorative yoga last week. The focus was on relaxation, and through focusing completely on freeing my body and mind of struggles, worries, or angers, I achieved a sense of calm. Some may call it an “inner peace,” but for me it was just a calming effect. My mind quieted down, I forgot about my worries, and I experienced what it felt like to just lay on that mat and breathe, slowly feeling my body sink deeper and deeper into the floor. I’ve tried to achieve that same feeling while in my dorm room at school, but there are just too many distractions to even begin to simply focus on freeing my mind.

I feel like experiencing “the sweetness of doing nothing” is hard for a lot of people because they know that they have responsibilities and errands and to-do lists tacked to their fridge, and therefore don’t ever have the time to just sit and relax. Though I can definitely relate to that, I feel like the people who need to experience it most are those who simply say that they don’t have the time. We all are busy. We all live different lives that are connected to a variety of different responsibilities and daily duties. But what about finding time to just have some “me time” to calm yourself down.

Close your eyes. Breathe. Keep that focus. ….One minute later your phone rings. If you answered it, at least you had one simple experience of “the sweetness of doing nothing.”

The Home Stretch…Hopefully.

10 Nov

When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”-Henry Ford

It’s been a rather chilly day today in Asheville. Winter is definitely on the way. Along with it being cold and windy here today, my stress has escaladed due to so many projects and papers piling up as the semester slowly crawls to a close. So for the rest of this week and weekend I have a Biology lab write-up, a Psychology research proposal, and a Sustainability project paper. My main focus is going to be the Sustainability project paper and the Biology lab write-up (Hooray…I’m just jumping for joy about sitting down to start these this weekend….not really). Even though I know there’s not much time left in the semester, it feels like a marathon.

Even though I’m stressed though, it was a perfect day to go get a massage at Relax and Rejuvinate. I’ve been going since around the start of the semester, and I think it has really helped a lot because my back doesn’t hurt as much. I’m still pretty stressed, but my body isn’t nearly as tense as before my massage, which is definitely a plus. I’ve also had trouble falling asleep lately, so last night I created a nightly ritual of putting on lavender lotion after my shower and then heating up my neck warmer in the microwave (about 3 minutes) and then placing it on my neck right before bed. Even though it did relax my neck and make me relatively sleepy, I still wasn’t able to fall asleep for a few hours. I have a feeling it may have to do with some medication that I’m taking, so I’ll be going in about a week to get all that checked out.

What do you do to relax/get rid of stress?