Aug 13, 2012

Relax, don't do it....!

By Barbara DeLeo

Today's the day the eight of us set off on our three month trip away. The organisation, the planning, and the logistics of taking so many people so far from home has left me in a frazzled heap. I know  I'm going to have LOTS of time to relax in the coming weeks, though, and that's one of the things I'm looking forward to the most.

In the day-to-day bustle of jobs and school and afterschool activities and hobbies and friends and families, it's often hard to find time to relax. In fact sometimes I feel as though I've forgotten how. My husband meditates every morning and he swears by the quiet time
to get himself set for the day. I've tried it, but always end up thinking of shopping lists and working out whose turn it is to clean out the fish tank....

When our kids were really young —and when things weren't going to plan—we used "time out" A LOT. Mostly it was as much for our sanity as the kids'. Having some space from each other, even it was an enforced separation, usually resulted in a change in behaviour. A moment to take a breath and recalibrate can do wonders.

A little corner of my "breathing room"
As the kids have got older "time out" has lost it's magical we've instituted a "breathing room". It's a place where any one of us can go when we feel cross, or frustrated or just need some "breathing room" and time to relax. The rule is that when someone goes into the breathing room (really just our spare room with a few little symbols of relaxation and a nice  chair in the sun) no one is allowed to disturb them. It might be just for a minute, or five, or twenty, but it's a great place to get centred, and to RELAX. It's defused many a temper tantrum and full scale battle in its time. (Confession: I still think about who should clean the fish tank but it's such a lovely place to do it in).

So are you like me and struggle to relax, or do you have some favourite techniques. Do you take a sceneted bath? Listen to some favourite music? Read a romance?


  1. Barbara, I think the difficulty truly relaxing is something that affects a lot of us. I found a while ago that when I woke early, stressed about all that I had to do, I felt much better if I spent my first 30 mins curled up with a novel. Losing myself in a story was a great way to find calm and energy ready to get moving. I also find a walk or just time outside - whether in the garden or in the bush or by the lake, is perfect for that breathing space. I love the idea of a breathing room, by the way!

  2. I love the Breathing Room concept!!! Our kids are still little enough for time out but it isn't going to last that much longer. When I'm stressed, I really enjoy walking to the Byron Bay Lighthouse and back. It takes about an hour, the scenery is amazing, the whales and dolphins are incredible and it give me time to just think.

    Wishing you the most wonderful, wonderful trip.

  3. Barb, I hope you have a the most fabulous trip. And while I love the idea of the Breathing Room, I certainly hope there's not much call for it during the next 3 months.

    I do find a hot bath with something gorgeous in it -- I'm talking scented oil or bubbles here, but, hey, whatever rocks your boat ;-) -- and a glass of wine can work wonders on the relaxation front.

  4. Hey Barb! Have a fabulous trip! Here's hoping you'll do lots of relaxing over the next three months!

    I find exercise is a great de-stresser, and Zumba works particularly well for me- I get lost in the moves and the music and come home feeling much better!

  5. Hi Barb- I've tried meditation and yoga etc - but found I just couldn;t switch my head off enough to really get into the zone. And I'm too impatient to sit in a hot bath etc. My best de-stresser's are my horses or taking my dogs out for a walk. Plus I get the bonus of activity.
    Enjoy your trip!

  6. Hi Annie,

    Sorry it's taken me so long to reply. I'd like to say it was because I was too busy relaxing but the truth is, the first leg of the trip went quite haywire and instead of catching the first of three planes at the civilized time of 8.30am, we had to catch a three hour ferry at 1am...Okay, big breath.

    I love your strategy for enforced relaxation. Reading always works for me too, if it's the right type of story. I think being aware that we need to build relaxation into our day is really important.

  7. Ah, Jen, the beach! Walking on the sand and listening to the waves is so relaxing and I don't mind if it's a calm sunny day or a wild storm. Seeing those whales and dolphins would certainly work for me too!

  8. Michelle, I'm hoping we'll all be relaxed to the max so there'll be no need for "breathing room". Actually, what am I saying?? 4 kids, two parents and two in-laws...I'll be keeping an eye out for a bath along the way, and I'm sure a few wines will be consumed...

  9. Now, that's such a smart way to unwind, Louisa. Not only are you relaxing with the moves and the rhythms, but I guess you're adding to your endorphin pool, too. I never feel that relaxed when I'm exercising but I certainly feel good afterwards.

  10. You're so right about pets helping us to relax, Helen. Although it's taken my dog two years to stop running around like a whirling dervish, there's nothing more relaxing than sitting beside her on the couch, chatting to her and quietly expecting her to chat back.

  11. Barbara, have a fabulous trip! And make sure you do get in some quality relaxation time!

    I love your "breathing space"! Such a great idea. When I want time out I tend to go for a walk around the paddock - I especially love it down by the dam. Got to be careful where I sit though - a bite from a bull ant or a jumping jack doesn't do much for serenity!

    I've started yoga too and that's very "in the moment". I'm so unflexible but it's still very satisfying.

  12. I love the idea of the breathing room, Barb!! Have a fantastic trip - stay safe and relax :)