Tag: relaxation

Rest Day at Disney

So I’m here in Anaheim for my first vacation in 3 years.  Yesterday I had a fun day at Disneyland but was pretty exhausted and my feet hurt very badly.  My back had also been seizing up on me.  Normally in my training I can take a day off to recover after a day on.  Walking all day is one of the hardest things for me.  I would much rather swim a 5k than stand and walk for hours.  Strange I know but its true.

I woke up this morning and knew I was in trouble.  I was in a lot of pain and didn’t want to move out of my bed.  Even my new shoes weren’t helping much.  I honestly thought about getting a scooter but that felt so embarrassing.   Plus, I’d worked so hard and was frustrated that nothing seemed to be showing from it.  I had gotten the whole inspiration to get in shape from going to Disneyland in 2010 and having so much feet pain. I thought that if I got in shape I would be able to do better but it didn’t work out that way.

I guess I just have bad feet and walking all day isn’t my thing.  I’ll swim all day instead!

Anyway, I was at the park until about 2 pm and went to the hotel and honestly felt really discouraged.  I was in pain and discouraged about it.  I felt like a failure and a little judged, not by family but by the nameless masses at Disneyland (I realize that is ridiculous but sometimes we are ridiculous!)

After a little cry I went for a swim with my Mom and that made me feel much better spiritually and physically.  Then I said to myself ‘I wish I could have a massage right now, especially on my feet.  Then I said ‘maybe I can?’  I did a quick google and found a service that did door-to-door massages and the price was reasonable.  I made the appointment and they came at 5:15.  It was an hour long and the best massage I’ve ever had.  It was deep and strong but so great.  I felt near-comatose after, so relaxed.

Me in relaxed state!
Me in relaxed state!

Then I ordered thai food and relaxed the rest of the day.  I feel like I’ll be ready to go for tomorrow.  Wahoo! I realized something about myself.  If I’m going to have fun on vacation I need to plan a day on full of busyness, a day off relaxing, repeat.  I think that will be true no matter what shape I’m in.  When you have chronic pain that’s the way life is.

So I may have wasted a day at Disney but I don’t see it that way.  I learned something about myself and had the day I wanted to have.   Its my vacation and I have to take responsibility for having a good time.  That’s the way it is! Live and learn.

 

 

 

Advertisements

How Mrs. Claus Relaxes

I mentioned the other day that I have a hard time relaxing and taking the day off. Well I do know 2 things that  I love and would do all day if I could and they couldn’t be more different- MMA (mixed martial arts) and massages

As my Christmas gift to myself I decided to do both and I did them with some Christmas flair!

I’ve learned some new moves since my last video.  I love doing the blocks.  I’ve also gotten faster and higher in my kicks.

Putting on my wraps before the training
Putting on my wraps before the training
awesome kick
Nice high kick! Ah ha!
gloves 2
Nobody will mess around with this Mrs Claus!
left hook
Body shots. I’m thinking of those cabinet makers slowing things down right now! 🙂

And then the massage.  I love massages.  If I was super rich I’d have a massage every day.

DSCF0924
Happy face. Little nervous at my eye alignment in this picture but don’t I look relaxed?

DSCF0920
Ready for the massage
DSCF0919
Merry Christmas!

Now that’s how you get it done!

Stress

Did I tell you that I am terrible at handling stress?  Perhaps it is my propensity towards anxiety but I really suck at it.  I try everything best case scenario, venting, exercise, whatever, and yet I seem to always let life overwhelm me.  I get upset and wound up and want to scream.  Thank goodness for kickboxing and I can tell you days like today every punch was meant and delivered.  I’m not good at relaxing either.  I have a lot of fun.  I love to learn, spend time with my friends and develop my talents, but relaxing not so good at.

Sometimes I wish I could take 6 months off? Hibernate if you will.  I wish I could be like that Eat Pray Love lady and jump away from life and examine it in a relaxing way.  I wish I could work on loving people more, healing wounds and figuring out what, if anything, I want to do in my life (or if I’m happy with the way it is.  I don’t know). As it is, a full weekend would be nice.

I’m thinking about going to the Homestead in Utah for Thanksgiving.  The prices are super reasonable and they have natural hot springs which if anyone knows me knows I LOVE a good hot tub (water in general is just my friend)!  They even have a full Thanksgiving dinner.  I can’t decide if it would be better to be alone in my normal surroundings or alone in some place special.  Both could feel lonely, both could be relaxing?

But day to day stresses I’m just not great at  dealing with.  I just get overwhelmed and feel pressure, mostly self-induced.  I wish I could be like my Dad who seems to never get unglued or blow a fuze.  I guess in a way its the life of an accountant (I still kind of shudder inside when I say sentences like that).  In the middle of the month things are easy and breezy but the beginning gets really stressful all at once.  Like a roller coaster.  I think every job is like that in its own way- have cycles of stress.

How do you deal with the cycles of stress? What are your strategies?  How do you deal with anxiety?  I have a lot of strategies but what I am most curious is at that initial moment of panic or at least frustration what is the first thing you tell yourself?

I really want to know because the next few months are going to be deluxe stress between the new house, moving, and end of the year etc. I am overwhelmed just thinking of it.

I’m reading Feeling Good by David Burns once again to help me prepare for this stressful time.  Best book ever besides scripture.  I will buy you a copy if you don’t have one.   It is a life changer.

I like the term stress management because I don’t think it can really go away but how do we manage it.  My Dad is great at that.  I want to learn.  Please help!

Feeling Beautiful

Now for the last 2 weeks I have felt less than beautiful with my bright red eyes, swollen eyelids, general fatigue and make up restrictions.  I am not the girliest of girls but I’m not a tom boy either.  I’ve had times in my life where I was actually quite fashionable.  When I used to work as a receptionist I was always the cutest and trendiest girl in the office (not saying much in that office but still).  Since I work alone now I am afraid my wardrobe is often sweats, wet hair and I may still have my swimsuit on underneath it all.

I do like feeling pretty and if I had time I would do myself up beautiful every day but that seems kind of silly when it will all be messed up at the gym.   I almost always wear at least a little foundation, eye makeup and lip gloss.  I also wash my hair and gel for air dry curls.  That’s the plan.

However, lately I have not been able to wear make up especially near my eye.  Like I said I’m not a crazy make up person but it does feel weird when you aren’t wearing it when you are used to wearing it. I always feel like my face is very red and I need powder and foundation to lessen that reddening.  So at church on Sunday with a red face, red eyes I felt like some kind of devil woman!   Everyone else said they didn’t even notice but I noticed.

So, anyway, this week I have been thinking about ways to relax.  I do a lot of fun, hard, interesting, exciting things but not many that are relaxing.  Sometimes I wonder if I lack the capability to relax.  There is so much to be done.  I have hard time turning my brain off of the important stuff.  That’s why I’m an insomniac.

Well, today I had a free night and I have been needing to color my hair but am trying to save money before the purchase of my new home (frame went up today!).  So, I colored my own hair.  I have done this twice before with mixed results.  First time great, second time too dark.  Still, neither was a total bomb.

So I went at it!

Here I am dye in my hair. Pretty nervous at this point! Hope it doesn’t turn green!

Eventually I rinsed it out, dried it and then went to work with all of my baskets of products (I try one curl product and give up on it and then another and one more).  I call my vanity my curl product graveyard!  Anyway I tried everything and worked my magic!

Love this hair! Did you know I love big hair? So great!
Love this photo and this hair! May be my new favorite  LOOK AT ALL THE CURLS!

After I finished and looked beautiful in the mirror I felt great!  And you know what?  After a week of thinking of things to help me relax, I relaxed! I felt refreshed, calm, happy, and beautiful.  What a great thing!

Although this could be bad.  How many times can I dye my hair in one year!

Isn’t it great when such a small thing can make you feel real joy.

Now I just wish I had a man I could take this gorgeous hair out with.  Sigh… One dream fulfilled at a time! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Gift From the Sea

Over the weekend I must admit to feeling a little depressed.  It’s hard to explain exactly why.  It may have been the new injections, the surgery date or that I didn’t feel great and was simply exhausted, wrung out in every way- emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually.  I was perhaps also a little bummed out at having to move my DC trip to September and I’m sure being alone over the Easter holiday didn’t help.  Who knows?  Sometimes I feel down for no reason at all, not very often, but it does happen.

Needing some comfort and inspiration I turned to a little book I had not read in at least 10 years, A Gift from the Sea by Anne Marrow Lindbergh.  It was the perfect book for me to read at that moment and I devoured it!  (It’s not long- 127 pages.  Its more of a collection of essays than a book)  In the book Anne shares her contemplations after a vacation at the ocean.

Looking at a hermit crab leaving his shell Anne says “He ran away, and left me his shell.  It was once a protection to him.  I turn the shell in my hand, gazing into the wide open door from which he made his exit.  Had it become an encumbrance?  Why did he run away? Did he hope to find a better home, a better mode of living?  I too have run away, I realize, I have shed the shell of my life, for these few weeks of vacation.”

What a glorious thing such shedding is!  I feel the same way when I go to Hawaii.  Its sounds cheesy but the mere sound of the waves makes my problems float away and the brightness of the sun makes life feel alive, reborn.

Anne goes on to analyze her life, “I want first of all…to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can.  I want, in fact- to borrow the language of the saints- to live ‘in grace’ as much of the time as possible.”

What a grand goal!  Of course, life becomes very complicated and busy.  Anne says “the life I have chosen as a wife and mother entrains a whole caravan of complications…This is not the life of simplicity but the life of multiplicity that the wise men warn us of.  It leads not to unification but to fragmentation.  It does not bring grace; it destroys the soul.  And this is not only true of my life,  I am forced to conclude; it is the life of millions of women in America.”

What is Anne’s solution to such a challenging problem? Well she compares each phase in life to different types of shells found at the beach:

1.  The Channeled Whelk- the abandoned home of a hermit crab.  “Blurred with moss, knobby with barnacles, its shape is hardly recognizable anymore.  Surely, it had shape once.  It has a shape still in my mind.  What is the shape of my life? The shape of my life today starts with a family…I have also a craft, writing, and therefore work I want to pursue.  The shape of my life is determined by many other things: my background and childhood, my mind and its education, my conscience and its pressures, my heart and its desires.”

She goes on to talk about the difficulties of balancing all these shapes.  “Simplification of outward life is not enough.  It is merely the outside.  But I am starting with the outside.  I am looking at the outside of a shell, the outside of my life- the shell.  The complete answer is not to be found on the outside, in an outward mode of living.  This is only a technique, a road to grace. The final answer, I know, is always inside.  But the outside can give a clue, can help us find the answer.”

2. Moon Shell- “This is a snail-shell, round, full and glossy as a horse-chestnut.  Comfortable and compact…”  With the moon shell Anne talks about the importance of solitude and being comfortable in one’s skin.  “No man is an island, said John Donne.  I feel we are all islands- in a common sea. We are all, in the last analysis, alone.  And this basic state of solitude is not something we have any choice about.  We are solitary.  We may delude ourselves and act as though this were not so.  That is all.”

Anne goes on to talk about the crowding in on solitude from modern life.  “Women, who used to complain of loneliness, need never be alone anymore.  We can do our housework with soap-opera heroes at our side.  Even day dreaming was more creative than this; it demanded something of oneself and it fed the inner life. Now, instead of planting our solitude with our own dream blossoms we choke the space with continuous music, chatter and companionship to which we do not even listen.  It is simply there to fill a vacuum…We must learn to be alone. ”

3. Double Sunrise- This shell was a gift from a friend. “Each side, like the wing of a butterfly, is marked with the same pattern; translucent white except for three rosy rays that fan out from the golden hinge binding the two together.  I hold two sunrises between my thumb and finger.”  Anne goes on to talk about the purity of the gift and what she calls the ‘pure relationship’.

“Every relationship seems simple at its start.  The simplicity of love, or friendliness, the mutuality of first sympathy seems, at its initial appearance- even if merely in exciting conversation across a dinner table- to be a self-enclosed world.  Two people listening to each other, two shells meeting each other, making one world between them.  There are no others in the perfect unity of that instant…”

The she goes on to say ‘how swiftly, how inevitably the perfect unity is invaded; the relationship changes’.   However, if we look we can find glimpses of the ‘pure relationship’ all around us.  Anne also recommends for couples temporary returns ‘to the pure relationship.’  She says our children need these glimpses also “Does each child not secretly long for the pure relationship he once had with the mother when he was ‘the baby’? And if we were able to put into practice this belief and spend more time with each child alone- would he not only gain in security and strength but also learn an important first lesson in his adult relationship?”

4. The Oyster Shell- Naturally we demand relationships that are more than the passions of a the purest moments.  This brings Anne to the oyster shell. “Each is fitted and formed by its own life and struggle to survive…Sprawling and uneven it has the irregularity of something rowing.  It looks rather like the house of a big family, pushing out one addition after another to hold its teeming life…It is untidy, spread out in all directions, heavily encrusted with accumulations and in its living state- this one is empty and cast up by the sea- firmly imbedded on its rock”

The oyster shell symbolizes the middle years of marriage (or I related it to the middle years of life). It is here that ‘many bonds, many strands, of different textures and strength, form making up a web that is taut and firm.  The web is fashioned of love.  Yes, but many kinds of love: romantic first, then a slow-growing devotion, and playing through these a constantly rippling companionship”.

As a single girl I must say- that is the dream.  ‘a constantly rippling companionship’.  I love it!

5. Argonata-  “These are in the beach-world certain rare creatures, who are not fastened to their shell at all.  It is actually a cradle for the young, held in the arms of the mother argonaut who floats within to the surface, where the eggs hatch and the young swim away.  Then the mother argonaut leaves her shell and starts another life.”

With this shell Anne contemplates on the second half of life when children have left the shell.  Anne says ‘ I believe after the oyster bed, an opportunity for the best relationship of all: not a limited, mutually exclusive one, like the sunrise shell; and not a functional, dependent one, as in the oyster bed; but the meeting of two whole fully developed persons.”

You may find it odd that I would be so moved by more talk of marriage but with so many evils fighting relationships- pornography, addiction, infidelity, workaholism- it is comforting to read of the potential for complete relationships.  Sometimes I am prone to be a bit cynical about love but in reading Anne’s words I thought of the relationships I do have and how they have grown.  My relationship with my parents, siblings, friends and myself have all changed and are changing each day.  How comforting to know that even more potential love is possible as relationships grow.

Anne says “The joy of such a pattern is not only the joy of creation or the joy of participation, it is also the joy of living in the moment.” She then asks “What makes us hesitate and stumble?  It is fear, I think, that makes one cling nostalgically to the last moments or clutch greedily toward the next.  Fear destroys ‘the winged life.’ But how to exorcise it?  It can only be exorcised by its opposite, love.  When the heart is flooded with love there is no room for fear, for doubt, for hesitation.”

I know this was a super long post but I felt so inspired by Gift from the Sea and  I wanted to share it with those I love.  Like Anne when I think of the ocean I am filled with light and peace. I think this is because the ‘sea recedes and returns eternally’.  I believe I am a part of creating eternal relationships, whether it be with a family member or a friend- or someday something more.  What we do now has more significance then we realize and Anne’s words helped me remember all of my current challenges are part of my great collection of shells, which eventually will be vibrant, beautiful and eternal.

I hope I have done the book justice.  It moved me and felt like a big hug from my Heavenly Father.  I loved it.  Have any of you read it?  What did you think?

.

Blissful Days of Nothingness

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop.” Ovid

Today is what Saturdays are made for- cleaning a messy home, organizing one’s life and resting from a long week.  It honestly has felt like a month packed into a weeks time.  As I have no doubt many of you are tired of hearing, my work-life has been exhausting lately.  Every day, including weekends, has been jammed packed with vacation rentals, long-term tenants, new homes to manage, sales tax to work on, events to coordinate and more.  I may be exaggerating a bit but it feels months ago in Hawaii that I last enjoyed a  relaxing Saturday. I am not even going out with friends tonight- and to be honest I am kind of glad.  I love my friends but today all I needed was time to myself.

I used to take Saturday’s for granted but lately I have realized it is an essential day for a stress-free happy life.  As much as I am uplifted by a Sunday, in some ways Saturday is more restful (less meetings and things to do!).  The perfect Saturday consists of three essential things:

1. Organizing/Cleaning Home- My parents will probably sit mouth agape once they read this because I hated “Saturday work” growing up.  Every week we had assignments for Saturday that were above our normal daily jobs such as scrubbing all the wood floors, cleaning the car, organizing the pantry, cleaning all the bathrooms etc.  These jobs usually took the majority of the morning to complete and sometimes went into the entire day.  My least favorite task was tending for my mother’s garden.  Even now, I would rather do just about anything over gardening (I detest weeding, planting, pruning, mowing).  I’ve always been a bit of a princess and gardening is just too dirty, smelly, sweaty and miserable! It’s funny because my parents love it.  Even when my mom was pregnant in bed my dad kept up our massive garden at the  Maryland house.  He decided that we were going to set up a farm stand for selling tomatoes (clearly he didn’t understand his own children.  No way we were selling tomatoes on some stand!).  We ended up with 36 tomato plants and hundreds of pieces of fruit.  A friend helped us to can a good chunk of it but the rest Megan put on a red wagon and wheeled around the neighborhood giving them away!

Nevertheless, I still appreciate a Saturday that is free enough for me to clean the kitchen, vacuum, organize my room, and make my life feel organized.  With the flexibility of my schedule I can often get such projects done during the week but it is less stressful to have a large block of time to devote.  Maybe it is being raised on “Saturday work” but nothing seems as productive as a Saturday morning that I can dedicate to cleaning and organizing.  For instance, this morning I scrubbed the kitchen down including the floor and stove, did the dishes and vacuumed throughout the apartment.  It only took me an hour or two but it made such a difference in the feel and vibes of the apartment.  It feels less cluttered and stressful. I love that feeling!

Other tasks are often done on Saturday’s such as laundry, buying groceries, and other shopping.  These are fine, but I am glad to be inside today with nothing to do.   Especially laundry- I hate doing laundry.  I avoid ironing like a disease.  I find it the most tedious of tasks.  I would much rather be scrubbing floors or cleaning bathrooms. I guess laundry and gardening are my least favorite jobs.

2.  Relaxing- There is something about relax time on Saturday’s that makes such a difference.  I swear if I do not get a restful Saturday the entire week suffers.  Even if I take time off on Monday it doesn’t seem to have the same effect.  Sometimes relaxation includes my friends and family but other times it is just me.  I love days like today where I get to exercise, nap, write my blog, watch some tv, and read.  I love all of it! I need it to be happy.  If I do not get a restful Saturday than my Sunday’s particularly suffer- it is so hard to stay alert and attentive at church and in my other meetings.  My dad has always had a hard time staying awake at church and I understand why- he was always working hard on Saturday.

I have felt so tired lately.  I even worried I might have mono but the doctor said it was just a combination of stress, allergies and asthma.  It is so great to be rejuvenated and alive!

3. Entertainment- As is clear from this blog I appreciate many different kinds of entertainment- movies, books, television, theater etc.  A Saturday just doesn’t feel complete without a tiny taste of something entertaining- something to smile and laugh at.  I love going to the movies with friends, seeing a play, going to a good restaurant, or lounging at home with blanket and popcorn while watching TV.  It’s all great and essential to feeling ready for the upcoming week.

It’s not really entertainment but I also love doing service on Saturdays including attending the temple whenever I can.  Next week I am scheduled to help clean our church and in the Winter I plan on volunteering for Festival of Trees again.  Today I thought long and hard about going to the tea party in Salt Lake, but I decided I just couldn’t do it.  I needed the relaxation time more urgently than the political activism.  Next time I will attend!  I am so glad to see the crowds in Washington DC!  Woohoo!

So, that is my defense of my lazy Saturday.  It has been a joyous, lovely day.  I hope you all enjoy similar days and weekends.  Life is good…

happy-saturday