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Top 10 Countdown of Your Most Creative Relaxation Ideas

August 20th, 2007 · 14 Comments

Our contest winner Rebecca’s relaxation idea was a family fun night, with meditation, yoga and laughter with her family.  And now… the top 10 countdown of runner-up suggestions.  Thanks to everyone who entered!

10.  Julie and Amber suggest a mini get-away.  Julie says hers is “having a hand massage with a manicure, or foot massage with a pedicure.  Both are very relaxing to me.  They require that I set aside everything else and be present in the moment, since I can’t use my hands or move about.  It also feels like I’m treating myself to something, which adds to feeling special.”  Amber likes “drinking hot tea, taking a hot bath, and getting Swedish massages.”

9.  Abe enjoys “going over to a friend’s house for a barbecue, having a beer and a burger, and shmoozing.”

8.  Jeisea and Louise find their gardens relaxing.  Jeisea “chills out by watering the garden.  Falling water is enormously calming and I get to observe the minutiae of garden life as it captivates the senses.”  And Louise finds that “working with my plants is very stress reducing – whether they’re in the house or in the garden.  How can one feel stressed being with beautiful flowers?”

7.  Diana loves knitting, which is “by far my best relaxation method.  For whatever reason, it’s the only thing that turns my mind off and gives me a chance to let go of all my worries and fears.  It’s an awesome hobby.  My work isn’t great yet, but the journey’s a lot of fun.”

6.  Music is popular, too.  Louise writes that “I’m an amateur musician.  When I sit down to practice, it’s so relaxing that hours can pass before I realize it.  Sometimes when I have a new piece to practice, I’m reluctant to sit down to work.  But once I’m playing the music, it makes me relax.”  And Milton “finds nothing more effective than a pair of headphones and “Eyes of the World” and “China Cat Sunflower,” but ONLY from the disc “Without a Net”!  Although I suppose just about any early- to mid-career Coltrane or later years Frank Morgan discs would be about as transportingly relaxing as can be…”

5. Being with your partner got some votes.  Will writes “With Crohn’s and migraines, I’m constantly looking for ways to relax, as well as distract myself from the pain.  The best way I’ve found is having sex.  By focusing my attention away from my physical pain, it subsides and I can sleep peacefully.  There’s never a bad time for this kind of pain relief – unless it would get you fired, arrested or make you the butt of the jokes at many a family function 🙂 “  And Micah recommends the PG version, “cuddling with my wife.  I’ve actually been able to lose headaches simply by laying down and embracing my wife.  It’s also the most straightforward way for me to move beyond states of depression.”

4.  Animals help us relax too.  Lauren writes that “I love playing with my Hamster, Hammy.  Watching him run, finding new things to feed him, and watching him put a gigantic carrot in his mouth pouch is funny.”  Nathan likes hugging his cat and “nibbling on really, really, really good quality chocolate (min 70% cocoa solids), and drifting away into my happy place (a sunny hillside from my childhood).”  Yummmm.

3.  Sarah suggests “sitting by the beach with a good book, and walking along looking for shells.”

2.  Creativity is also relaxing.  Dara suggests “doing ceramics.  Take a piece of cold, damp clay.  You can use all the muscles and tendons in your hands to work the clay; use your fingers to massage it, pinch it, poke it, squeeze it, flatten it with your palm, or strike it with your fist to pound it into shape.  Your hands are at work all day long, whether typing, grasping, carrying, or making.  Now you can relieve all that tension that’s built up in your hands into the clay.  As you continue to work with the clay, the tension in your body will vanish too.  Liberate your imagination and creativity as you reach your Zen state.”

1.  And our best runner-up suggestion is from Louise.  Very simple, and very relaxing when we allow ourselves a break.  Louise “love to take an afternoon snooze.”

Many of the suggestions involve losing ourselves in another pursuit, or letting our minds wander.  Using our senses helps us relax… through music, the texture of clay, a juicy hamburger, and the smells of the garden.

I hope you take 1 or 2 of the suggestions here and try them today.  Happy relaxing!!

Thanks to My Summer Vacation for the beach picture!

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14 responses so far ↓

  • Diane D // Aug 20, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    I think the problem with America is that Americans are unable to deal with any amount of pain whatsoever. You can have pain with no physiological cause and you just have to deal with it. The methods mentioned above are good, but in some ways they are validating these wimps.

  • How to Cope with Pain // Aug 20, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    Ouch! Several things strike me about this comment, and I decided to let it stay.

    Most of my readers deal with quite a bit of pain. People who haven’t experienced this (and I bet Diane hasn’t), can barely imagine what levels of pain many of you contend with.

    Almost 100% of pain, especially severe pain, does have a clear “physiological cause.” For many types of pain, the problem is that you can’t see pain – but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s not there!

    I’m not sure how she got to the “you just have to deal with it” – not a logical statement. There are many things to do to help yourself. “Dealing with it” – in positive ways is what this site is about.

    Don’t worry, readers, you are not “wimps.” You are brave people coping with a difficult illness. Don’t give thought to people like Diane, who put others down and minimize their suffering. And don’t pass on the hostility or react to it. Unless, that is, you give thought to her to practice your loving kindness to all others 🙂

  • Lynn // Aug 20, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    HtCwP–Your response to Diane D. was well put. Diane D. clearly has no understanding of courage, strength, and determination of the human spirit shared by so many with chronic pain. It might even help her sense of humanity, too!

  • jeisea // Aug 21, 2007 at 4:22 am

    People with chronic pain suffer not only from physical pain, but also from the pain caused by others prejudices born often from ignorance and arrogance. Sufferers have enough to contend with without having to validate their pain.

  • How to Cope with Pain // Aug 21, 2007 at 4:24 am

    Well said, Jeisea!

  • Socrates // Aug 21, 2007 at 10:23 am


    By “wimp” I assume that you mean “cowardly”. That’s the definition I’m familar with. Let’s say that you’re correct that people are cowardly about their pain. Why do you believe that they need to be less cowardly? Will this help them cope with their pain better? If so, how does one become less cowardly? Just suck it up, be stoic and quiet? Why believe that this makes you less cowardly – i.e. less of a wimp?

  • Jay // Aug 28, 2007 at 3:55 am

    It is difficult to be subjective about pain as it cannot easily be measured. Even if you can measure pain, you would have to offset it with an individuals tolerance. Diane’s comments might apply to a lot of people, but she cannot know that it applies to anyone visiting this website, and my guess is that visitors to this site are probably genuine courageous chronic pain sufferers rather than whiners…
    I would interpret ‘wimp’ as maybe someone with a lower pain tolerance, but no-one can have the right to judge someone else’s pain….

  • How to Cope with Pain // Aug 31, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    Well put, Jay. No one has the right to judge another’s pain.

  • Bob // Sep 19, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    Great list! I just submitted this post to StumbleUpon. Thanks for a good read!

  • Dee // Sep 20, 2007 at 5:44 am

    Afternoon naps are a wonderful luxury. Great list, I feel more relaxed after reading it. 🙂

  • Sandra // Feb 4, 2009 at 11:43 am

    We shouldn’t criticize Diane, we should feel sorry for her instead and hope she never has to experience “REAL” pain. How sad for her to think this way. I am curious, however, on her definition of pain, and I wonder just how much she can tolerate. Most of us would probably laugh at her answer and wish that was our definition of pain. I imagine Diane being the biggest wimp of all when it comes to her level of pain, which is probably a 9 or 10 in her eyes which would equal a 2 or 3 in ours. She just never experience “real” pain, so let’s hope she never has to as I’m sure her cries would be the loudest, as most of us, our cries are never heard, because most of us do keep our pain inside so we don’t worry others whom we love. If she only knew. God help her when she does cry out. It upsets me when people judge others without truly knowing and understanding what each individual goes through with high levels of pain. I found high tolerance comes with intense pain. It’s amazing what some people can actually handle. Good luck Diane, I truly hope you never have to deal with it, and please, please don’t ever say those things to people who lost loved ones that suffered so much and never cried out for help. Learn to understand each one of us, as each one of us has our own story, and Diane, we do deal with it. We don’t have a choice but to deal with it.

  • Troy // Apr 7, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Pain can not be objectively measured because it is personal to each individual. It is important for us to remember that we should not be judgmental about someone else’s pain.

    The key to good health and no pain is good nutrition, good exercise and a happy relationship.


  • Ursula // Jul 29, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Great list, lots of good ideas. My vote goes for knitting – very relaxing and if the result turns out OK, it brings happiness to other people as well.

  • Helen // Aug 18, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Pain – It varies from each individual pain. I have to cope with it i have chronic pain syndrom and firbromayalgia.

    It may help to go and do swimming, walking as best i can, reading and a long soak in the tub. Learn to relax and enjoy it and unfortunately you can only deal with pain as best you can.

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