Pandemics. Mutating pandemics. Never ending campaigns followed by never ending counting. Rioting in the streets. Have a great idea for surviving (on our own terms, of course) in these stressful times? I thought I’d host a series of posts, and to get things started I’ve asked my wife for her ideas. For years, she used to walk off stress — miles a day. Since 2014, and a series of surgeries on her foot, however, she’s had to try other tactics. Please post your ideas in the comments, or if you need more room, send me a draft post.
For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.
– Lily Tomlin
My first step towards relaxing was to avoid anything which might cause stress. I started by thinking about what caused stress in my life. I began, as many of you did, by getting off social media. Another step I took was to reduce contact with certain family members and acquaintances who were causing me more stress than they were worth.
I’ve told myself my children are grown adults and what they choose to do or not to do doesn’t involve me. I feel my job of rearing them is over. Even though I’m a grandparent I can’t tell my children how to raise theirs. If they do ask me for a little advice every now and then I still need to think about what I should say before becoming too involved.
I know for years as mothers, fathers and spouses, we always had to think about others first. It’s a hard habit to break. I’m not saying to forget your family and friends, but you might shift your focus during these stressful times and give yourself more quality time.
Music always helps me. Sometimes I’ll lay on the floor early in the morning with my arms out to my side and feet slightly spread apart and listen to music at the lowest level which still allows me to hear. We have a room with a large shag rug and windows when on clear nights I can see the stars. This is also a great venue for yoga.
Here are some of the artists I listen to: Deva Premal and her husband Miten (Andy Desmond), Snatam Kaur, Darshan Ajeet, Nirinjan Kaur, Ashana, Krishna Das, and practically any spa, meditation or relaxation music. We have an Echo device and I’ll ask Alexa to “Play the Deval Premal station.” A station is a playlist of similar artists. Also I like to listen to different artists on YouTube, where I’ve found most of my favorites.
Alexa, Siri, and their cousins have lots of useful talents. For instance, I can ask Alexa to play Nat King Cole singing in French. Sometimes, I’ll try something different, like Reggae and pop to get me going in the mornings. Or Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash and their stations for classic country. If you like flowers, search on YouTube for “963HZ Positive Energy In Your Home.” I occasionally like to hear Chinese traditional music where often the title is in Chinese. You can find these under “relaxing music” on YouTube.
Sometimes during the day or evening if I feel stressed I’ll lie across my bed on my stomach with my feet slightly hanging off the edge. The key is to lie on an electric blanket and turn it on so it feels slightly warm while you’re stretched across the bed. Sort of like when you’re getting a massage. I have never slept on my stomach except when I’m trying to relax. Normally I’m a side sleeper or occasionally I’ll sleep on my back, but for relaxation purposes I found stretching across the bed on my stomach works best. I have a small round foam pillow which I’ll tuck under my chin, neck or just below my shoulders for comfort. The first time I tried lying across the bed I fell asleep listening to a cat purring on YouTube.
At night if I have trouble sleeping I will use Amazon Music or Youtube on my TV. YouTube has many videos for relaxation and some will play for 6 or 8 hours without stopping. Just search on “Relaxation.” One of my favorites for sleeping is “Winter Storm.” There are several which have a black screen and play for hours. I’ll turn the sound down to where it just overrides my tinnitus. I usually never think about the ringing in my ears during the day, probably because there are other background noises. If I start to think about it and especially if it’s very quiet, I’ll hear it more.
Good luck, take care, and stay safe.
Thanks for sharing, Ginger – music is so soothing and helpful, for me in particular certain kinds of slow meditative classic piano music by Satie, Debussy and Ravel. And, of course, various forms of deep relaxation, whether you call it meditation, mindfulness or combine it with stretching like in yoga. I also find reading helps me get out of this world and into other worlds for a while, from the ancient wisdom of Lao Tzu and Sun Tzu to the (near) future probable worlds of William Gibson.
Know your insides so well that it does not distract you from complete awareness of your context and its likely consequences.
Actually, this is an extremely important point as it illustrates the difference between getting things right internally and an “internal focus” that, over time, will destroy internal harmony, initiative, and morale. As you are well aware (but other readers may not be), Boyd made this point repeatedly as when, for example, he describes cultural attributes that produce an “internal simplicity that permits rapid adaptability” (Patterns 118).