Relaxing Rituals for Busy People

The stress of the day can take its toll on all of us, whether you are a CEO of a big company or a housewife with tons of chores to handle.

It's time to manage all that stress and get your relaxation on!

With the help of relaxation consultant Darrin Zeer, you'll kick that stress habit in no time. The following are excerpts from Zeer's new book, Everyday Calm: Relaxing Rituals for Busy People (Chronicle Books).

Wake Up Wisdom

Try to spend a calm moment before jumping out of bed and starting your busy day. Taking the time to stretch will help you start your day on the right foot. In this exercise, focus on gently relaxing your mind and body:

  1. Lie flat on your back and take a few breaths.
  2. Notice any areas in your body that are sore or tense.
  3. Gently raise your knees to your chest.
  4. Wrap your arms around your knees and breathe deeply
  5. Let your knees slowly drop to one side.
  6. Enjoy the stretch in your back and hips.
  7. Take your time in the stretch, then switch sides.
  8. When you're ready to get out of bed, slowly roll to your side and push yourself up with your hands.

Motivational Mirror Session

Stand strong and flex before your mirror. Fill your lungs with air. Shake your head or body if you can't perk up. Give yourself a pep talk before launching into your day and you'll receive and instant boost. For better or worse, this is the "you" you've got today! Check in to see how you are doing.

What is special about today? What challenges lie ahead? Any final words of encouragement? Try repeating this: "Today I will calmly conquer the world." Or make up a motivational phrase that is appropriate for you. Attach a note of your special reminder to the bathroom mirror.

Doorway Discipline

Before you touch that doorknob, avoid unwanted stress by making sure all important items are packed with you. Taking this extra minute may save you hours later. Before stepping into the vast unknown, go through this final checklist:

  1. Have I got my keys, watch, wallet and cash?
  2. Do I know how to get where I am going?
  3. Do I need to mail any letters or return library books (or even video tapes/DVDs?)
  4. One last look to make sure all is in order.

Take a deep breath, step out, and have a great day!

Relaxing Rituals for Busy People (<i>cont'd</i>)

Tropical Urban Oasis

Slip out of your day and have a tropical fruit juice fix. When you are squeezed for time, juice shops offer a meal in a cup and an upbeat atmosphere. Add all the extras for a much-needed energy boost. For smoothies, ask for real yogurt instead of frozen yogurt. If you are feeling adventurous, order one or two shots of wheatgrass juice. As a chaser, order a carrot and orange juice mix.

Make sure you sit down for this one, as you may feel a slight body jolt. Wheatgrass packs a punch with a megadose of vitamin C and a long list of nutrients to help detoxify and recharge the body.

After Work Window Gazing

Take window shopping to another level. After work, go for a stroll down your town's main street. Let your mind unwind and soak up the sights and sounds of the neighborhood. Step by step, relax and breathe. To disengage your mind from work, notice the latest styles and colors in each shop window. Let the sights and sounds soother your tension. Accomplish nothing but walking and window gazing. By the time you return home, you will be feeling renewed and ready for friends and family.

Rub-A-Dub Yoga in the Tub

Take a step into the relaxation zone! Schedule a meeting just for you, your bath salts and your bathtub. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil for a relaxing aromatic touch. Dim the lights, light the candles and stop the action. Focus on melting tension away:

  1. While sitting in the tub, brace your hands underneath your calves.
  2. Place the soles of your feet flat against the end of the bathtub.
  3. Gently lower your upper body into a forward bend.
  4. Let your head drop forward and relax your neck muscles.
  5. Breathe and relax into the stretch.

Be patient with yourself; peace and relaxation will arrive.