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Re-training for Relaxation

By Sarah

Now safely in the arms of June, I can say that I’ve once again survived the incredible throws of “event season,” but not without a few casualties to my personal well-being. I was tired, cranky, over-caffeinated and dehydrated with a consistently sore back and the nagging anxiety to get things done that comes during March-May worse than an OCD mom during spring cleaning. Just to be clear, I don’t have an OCD mom, but I can imagine.

 

Like a broken-down mess after a break-up from a one-sided relationship, I needed a change. Thus began my post-spring self-care life-cleaning journey, if you will. What better time to do it than summer?!

And indeed I did.

I began with sleep. Lots and lots of sleep. You’d be surprised how much extra sleep your body needs after an event that took months of planning, even if you were already getting a solid 8 hours of sleep each day during that time.

Amidst my sleep escapades, I also went for a full-body massage, which I had never received before. It was less awkward than I expected, and I was deeply transported. I think the masseuse understood how much I needed it as well, because she mentioned not everyone relaxes so hard they almost seem dead like I did. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ That’s a good sign I waited too long, don’t you think?

It was about this time that I was introduced to the wonders of Bath and Body Works by a friend who constantly smelled like a field of lilacs. (Seriously, after spending time at her place, I could still get the scent of her home in a whiff off my own shoulder at home!) Needless to say, I wanted to know where this knowledge had been all my life. She walked me around the whole store and I invested in a few melting waxes and wallflower scents with matching candles, and even a car “scentportables” for each myself and my fiancé (don’t worry, his smelled like man; mahogany teakwood to be exact). If you’re curious, my favorite is Cactus Blossom.

But it didn’t stop there. After a few days of leaving my great-smelling home and coming to a non-smelling office, it struck me: office wallflowers. Duh. I immediately ordered a wallflower for my office space with two stress-relieving scents and one extra scent for funsies. Let me tell you, it has made a world of difference.

PSA: If you have pets, PLEASE check to see if using any infusers for essential oils will be detrimental to your pet’s health. Some may cause seizures in animals such as Tea Tree and citrus.

I soon after did a bit of retail therapy for some fun, lighter summer clothing and bought myself a few extra items to really give my office space another level. These include a nice business card holder for my purse, some Dollar General wall art of birds on cherry blossom trees, a couple new coffee mugs, and a salt lamp for my desk. That last one was particularly a toss-up for me; I had been going back and forth on it for a while, thinking that it might make my space “smell salty.” On the contrary, it smells like absolutely nothing. I can’t feel a huge aura difference to be frank, but it sure looks cool and I enjoy having it nearby to look at when I need a moment away from a screen. It was also nice to start playing new music in the mornings as soon as I get to my desk.

While at the office, I thought it best to try to cut back on the caffeine and try alternative methods of waking up my neuro bits while I had much less of a work load at stake. I had recently seen a post from Blair Staky (@thefoxandshe) about home-made matcha lattes she was obsessed with. It really woke me up about my caffeine intake and I wanted to give it a go after reading about the matcha benefits.

After a couple weeks (making certain I passed that caffeine-detox threshold to be sure), I determined that match lattes maybe weren’t for me. I was still very tired well into the afternoons despite all the great sleep and wasn’t getting the wake-up I needed. Maybe it was just the brand I used, but the latte was always a bit powdery, and tasted like it was missing something. I admit, I tried adding some butter once to see if it helped. What can I say, I’m a Texas girl. I may not continue with the matcha, but I might go back to the store and grab a few of those cartons of pre-made green tea latte and see if they work better for me.

 

Though I didn’t like the matcha as much as I wanted, I do continue to keep my coffee intake down to one cup every other morning and have greatly increased my water intake. I’m currently sipping water infused with raspberry, blackberry, and mint. It helps that I am motivated by the 2nd annual RMPR office water challenge, and I’m currently in the lead. Take a look at that board! I would love to share my strategy, but perhaps after the competition closes. 😉 I find myself getting hungrier during mealtimes and thirstier in the evenings (if I slowed my intake after work hours) and weekends. I’m also going to the bathroom much more frequently, though this gives me those extra mental breaks I need to remind myself to listen to my body and get away from a screen now and then.

Aside from beverage changes, I also made food changes. I ate more vegetables, like hummus and peppers, antioxidant mixes, and darker mix leafy salads with spinach and arugula. Grapes and melons made it to my plate as snacks and breakfasts, and I tried to avoid fried items. I’ve got my own sweet ginger green bean recipe that is almost like vegetable candy if you’d like to try it. #vegetablecandy #queereyeseason2 #imnotcryingyourecrying

I also think it has made a difference that I am in the middle of moving homes. I’m transitioning from a cramped apartment to a house with much more space to breathe and spread out. It helps that instead of having to move over one weekend and live surrounded by cardboard boxes, we’ve got a bit of overlap in contracts and have been moving a few boxes every other day and unpack that same day. It’s refreshing to be living so minimally for now, and I plan on going back through everything to see what I no longer need. This is also a creative outlet for me, since I get to redecorate and have fun settling into a new space. Even my cat is more content, which makes me all the happier.

I’d like to make it clear that I do not recommend moving homes just because you’re stressed. That’s a ridiculous solution and not recommended. This just coincidentally came at a good time.

If nothing else, find another way to be creative at work. It just so happens that in this slow season we gained a new client, and I’m working on designing a website as well as creating interactive digital content for their services and weekly featured entertainment which has been revitalizing to say the least.

As my final note, practice self-care before it’s dire and don’t wait until you’re one of the undead like I did. But if you do, remember that it’s not about looking better, it’s about feeling better, and you need to start with your insides; i.e. eat better, drink more water, and find a way to be less tense. Surround yourself with things that make you relax and take time to be creative again. Follow along with a Bob Ross episode or get some of those 2 for $5 face masks. Then, try some stuff for your -still for feels, not for looks- outsides; i.e. try a new makeup palette or lipstick, realize you need a haircut for those split ends, start using lotion again, or go get yourself a soft new linen shirt.

After all, you deserve it.

Next on my list, getting back into exercising, maybe with a brisk morning walk or quick cardio weights. Suggestions?

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