Sunday, April 5, 2009

Just Relax!

Feeling stressed? Who isn't these days? April is Stress Awareness Month. According to, a certain amount of stress in one's life is normal. Too much stress, however, can lead to headaches, stomachaches, insomnia, depression, a weakened immune system, and other serious health problems.

One of the easiest ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle is to learn how to relax. Simple changes in your lifestyle can often be the best cures for stress. Here are some suggestions:

  • Turn off the television and listen to peaceful music instead.
  • Add a water fountain in your living room or bedroom. The sound of gently burbling water can be quite soothing.
  • Soak in a warm tub. Add lavender essential oils for a particularly refreshing experience. The scent of lavender is known for its calming qualities.
  • Take a walk in a park. Surrounding yourself with nature acts as a counter-balance to weekdays overloaded with cars, computers, and other man-made contrivances. Nature is healing.
  • Start a meditation practice. Even five minutes a day can have a profound impact on your stress levels.
In Alexandria, two recurring events can help you start on the road to relaxation:

The first is Dona Witten's guided meditations for healing and relaxation. Dona uses guided relaxation exercises and calming contemplations to help you learn to cope with stress and anxiety. She offers her relaxation workshops at Mindful Hands on the first Saturday of every month.

Also on the first Saturday of the month, Historic Christchurch offers a Labyrinth Walk, from 9:30am to 12:30pm. Labyrinths have been used for many centuries as tools for meditation, contemplation, and relaxation. I've walked the labyrinth myself at Christchurch and it is, surprisingly, profoundly invigorating as well as deeply relaxing. Certainly a great way to start your weeked free from stress!

As Ovid once said: "Take a rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop."