Summer’s here and the time is right for a little R&R. Here’s how we do it, Chicks style…
I have a deadline coming up so I haven’t had much time to relax but I always refer to taking a bath as my “happy place.” And this was even before I learned that taking a hot bath can burn “an average 126 calories an hour – the equivalent to taking a 25 to 30-minute walk.” I have my bath time down to a science. I put in Village Naturals Milk Bath, a tablespoon or so of coconut oil and any bath salts I find on sale at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx. I also recently purchased a bath caddy tray like the one here. If I’m in the mood, I will burn a candle. Bath and Body Works candles has the best throw and, between the sales and promo codes, I have never paid full price for one. I’ll bring a book or a magazine, get in and then sit back and relax.
I’m famous for not relaxing. Seriously. It’s the hardest thing in the world for me to do. And ever since I started writing mysteries on top of a day job, I’ve become a full-on workaholic. I’m either working on one of them or doing some form of social media. I rarely even watch TV anymore. But every so often, I force myself to separate from the keyboard to either read or needlepoint. I’ve actually taken to keeping a current needlepoint project by my computer. Sometimes I’ll take a five minute break and stitch a few rows, then go back to work. Oh, and I also have a semi-regular TGIF with a couple of girlfriends where we rotate between local happy hours for cheap booze and food. Huh. Guess I’m better at relaxing than I thought!
I’ve been working extra hard on relaxing lately. I’m hopeful it will help me make my two deadlines on May 31st. First, I’m going to yoga classes twice a week. Not the power kind–more like the ones where you lie around and breathe and think positive thoughts. The place is an antique farmhouse and you can hear birds nesting under the eaves and the river rushing past outside. You will not be impressed with my other preferred way to relax. I adore truly mindless movies, preferably in the theater with a huge bag of overly-buttered popcorn. I just saw Snatched! with Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer. Two-point-five stars and totally worth it. I mean, if those fearless ladies can tromp through the jungle in heels and flip-flops, I can finish writing this short story on time, right?
Relaxing? What’s that? Oh, wait, I do seem to remember something about a massage I got once a loooong time ago. Okay, I’m exaggerating. (What can I say? It relaxes me.) I do love a spa day, but those are expensive and usually have to be scheduled so far in advance that I end up being too stressed to pick a date. (What if something comes up? How am I possibly supposed to know what life will be like next Wednesday?! Okay, breathe.) When I need to recharge, I head for the woods. Redwood Regional Park is a ten-minute drive from my house, and it’s got nearly 2,000 acres (!) worth of hiking trails surrounded by old-growth coastal redwoods. I don’t have to schedule it in advance, it’s totally free, and there’s all this oxygen there! I read an article in the Los Angeles Times about the Japanese art of forest bathing that totally backs me up on this. (They call it shinrin-yoku, which sounds a lot more lofty and fulfilling.)
The schedule doesn’t allow for much in the way of relaxation opportunities. Watching movies or tv shows is pretty much all I can think of, and that’s often done with the laptop open for multi-tasking purposes. When we lived in upstate New York, the most relaxing things always involved going to Lake Ontario: beach walks, bonfires, boating, swimming, and so on. If I had a choice, that’s what we’d do every day, all summer long. Sigh.
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