Suzanne Reisler Litwin: Knowing How to Relax

There are many ways to give your body the relaxation it craves for.  Do you have a Relaxation Toolbox? I do and it’s filled with tricks of the trade for ultimate peaceful comfort.

After a long busy dusty, dirty day… You just want to get on the couch and throw your legs over the side and decompress your body. It feels so good to get horizontal after being vertical all day. The body needs rest just as much as it needs activity.

That moment your body is released from the vertical gravity downward pull, it’s so satisfying.

Swimmers know the feeling quite well. The moment they enter the water and become buoyant. The lift. The freedom to float. The release of the pressure on their body, feels delightful. Floating and soaking in soft water is medicinal meditation.

There are many ways to give your body the relaxation it craves for. Do you have a Relaxation Toolbox? I do and it’s filled with tricks of the trade for ultimate peaceful comfort.

Before we open the Relaxation Toolbox and dive into some calming methods, here’s my disclaimer. These are only suggestions and… They work very well for me.

A Yummy Bubble Bath

Not just an ordinary bath, it needs to have bubbles. Firstly, when you take a bubble bath you get the opportunity to listen to the bubbles. Yes, bubbles make sounds. If you close your eyes while taking a bubble bath, you will hear mini bubbles popping. It’s a very slight sound of thousands little pops. It’s a soothing sound.

Also there are so many different types of bubble baths products you can use. Some have unique smells of florals, vanilla, fruits, mixed herbs and teas. Oh, so many to choose from. There are bubble baths with water softeners and oils too. So yummy.

The thousands of tiny snapping bubbles, remind me of sea foam. When the ocean waves come crashing on to rocks, the salted water might turn into sea foam. That foam is loaded with bubbles which make popping sounds.

So when you are in the bath, surrounded by scented water and popping bubbles, if you move the water around, you will create mini waves along your body. Close your eyes, listen with intent and adjust your breathing to a slower pace.

Lighting a candle along the bath’s edge creates shadows of light. In which your eyes will naturally follow the flame. The flame acts as a quiet dance for you to join. Does this sound peaceful, relaxing? It is and I look forward to this pause in my day.

If you have never taken a bubble bath, I strongly encourage you to try it. You will be so surprised at how relaxing it is. If you have never lit a candle along the side your bath, I also encourage you to do this. Both are so peaceful.

Sitting in a Park

If you have a few moments in your day, simply, sit in a park. Try to find a park filled with trees and a variety of plants and flowers. The purpose is to sit with nothing else to do except to observe everything. Not to wait for something or someone. Just to sit and observe.

By sitting and observing you might find sudden peace and relaxation in your body and mind. Why a park? There is so much happening in a tree filled park. You will see birds, squirrels, and other animals. From November to April you will be able to find bird’s nests within the trees.

Watching animal and people behavior is always so interesting. But, it’s that moment which you give yourself to observe will pause your day. Slow down your breathing, drop your shoulders and listen with intent. Do not use any mobile devices! You are taking a break from this too!

It’s a simple act. Sit in a park and observe. Close your eyes to hear the sounds around you. Really listen for animal and people sounds. You will also hear the sounds of the city or country depending on where your park is. It’s a lovely pause. It doesn’t need to be for a long time, just long enough to feel refreshed relaxation.

Write About Anything

I write in a journal. I have been doing this since I’ve been 14 years old. I try to write every day. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. Honestly, I catch up most of the time. The time I give myself to write in my journal is totally relaxing. I sit in a chair or on my bed and open up my journal to a fresh new page.

I write about everything and anything. Often, I write to myself. Sue, you had an amazing class today. Why? Because it was magical. You are so lucky to have such wonderfully creative students. Or I might write, You know what sucks? Siamese Algae Eaters in aquariums and absolutely everything else right now!

Whatever or whenever I chose to write, I am guaranteed I will feel relaxed while doing it and after it is done. Those 15-20 minutes of writing puts me in a place of peace. Sometimes I daydream and 30 minutes have suddenly passed. Did I fall asleep? No! Where did my consciousness go? I’m not sure. Was I unconscious? Perhaps and it was fabulous.

Lollipops

There is nothing like sucking on a Tootsie Pop to relax your body. Many, many years ago I learned a very valuable lesson. I was 23 and a brand new high school teacher. A senior colleague told me to always have lollipops available for my students. I wondered why. She said, “If your class ever gets out of hand, quickly give every student a lollipop. It will cause two effects. First, the students will quiet down immediately and second, they will suddenly relax. The sucking reflex causes relaxation.”

Brillant! Also, I recall reading, when a baby sucks his thumb, it's his natural reflex to feel secure and to soothe himself so he can fall asleep more easily.

While teaching high school, I had a Friday afternoon last period class with seniors. This group of students at this time of day was always challenging. I told the students if they came to class, I will give them lollipops. They came to class and I gave them each a Tootsie Pop with instructions not to chew it.

I was guaranteed 10-15 minutes of teaching time. I taught the lesson while they were busy with their lollipops and then the students did their class activity. The trick worked.

The trick still works. If you want to relax, give yourself a yummy lollipop. Do not chew it. Let it melt in your mouth, slowly.

Laura Secord makes delicious long lasting lollipops, which are called Kiddy Pops. My favourite is butterscotch. I haven’t had one in a long time. I think it’s time to revisit the store!

There are many other ways to relax such as: listening to music, practicing yoga, reading, doing meditation, and breathing exercises, etc. Finding the one or the combination of which works best for you is the challenge.

The above suggestions work best for me.

So, I think I’m going to write in my journal for about 15 minutes, then I’m going to dream about sitting in a park while I’m taking a bubble bath with a butterscotch lollipop in my mouth!

Sounds like a really soothing relaxing plan, don’t you think?

Here’s a treat, “Tiny Bubbles” by Don Ho

Enjoy and relax listening with intent.

— By Suzanne Reisler Litwin

— AB

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