A new year is filled with plenty of well intended resolutions; typical ones that may include quitting smoking, exercising to lose weight, paying off credit cards and so on.  While all are certainly wise and commendable, it would behoove us to add another – to relax our mind and body, more often.  In the grand scope of it all, it is this that will help us through the more challenging changes in which we are about to embark upon.


It plays a vital role in the outcome of our life as a whole, how we feel and how we choose to live. The human body is meant to rest, relax and recuperate, in order to maintain a healthy state.  Though it comes in many forms, it is defined “to become less tense, rest or ease ones self”, achievement at times, may be a bit more complex.

Everyone needs to relax, but not everyone feels completely comfortable in embracing the concept.  Although relaxing techniques are wonderful for de-stressing, we do not need to have stress in our day to be deserving of a little down time.  And while it would do us all a world of good to carve some time out of each day for a relaxing ritual, for most of us, it is not all that practical.  There is a wide array of basic things we can do, at least 2-3 times each week, if not more.  Some are easy, fun and rather mindless, others take a bit more thought and work, but in the end, they all accomplish the same goal – to relax, let go and feel better.

Results from my own informal small survey (approximately 250 people) revealed that a simple Bath Soak is a very favorable way to relax.  There were also added pleasures to go along with a bath, such as a glass of wine or cup of tea, locking the door, candles, music, etc, it is easy to do and a fine way to be still and unwind. For a simple natural bath, add a handful of sea salt and fresh herbs you have on hand, Lemon Balm is a nice choice and is also the International Herb Association’s Herb of the Year for 2007!

Although not always relaxing while we are engaging in it, regular exercise relaxes us both mentally and physically.  It increases blood flow and reduces stress which in turn aides in a fresh and relaxed state of mind, one that flows clearly and is uncluttered.  While taking a bath is easy and can be comforting, exercise takes awareness and effort.  So if you had a notion that relaxing ones self is for lazy people, you can now let that go and get moving.

During our workouts, it is absolutely essential to keep our bodies hydrated, so have plenty of water with you.  Also, a nice treat to have close by, is a spray bottle of hydrosol that has recently been taken out of the refrigerator, whenever you go for water, give yourself a quick spritz of hydrosol.  The cool lightly scented hydrosol (I use Orange) can be a handy pick-me-up and a wonderful feeling when we are working up a good sweat during a cardio or sculpting workout.

Practicing Yoga and breathing techniques is quite helpful and fulfilling for many of us, there is also baby and children’s yoga which can be a wonderful bonding time for the family as a whole and results in healthy, happy and flexible participants.

It would be in our best interest to consider the impact on our health, should we become accustomed to a Diet that is high in sugar, fat, processed foods and the amounts consumed, just to name a few.  If you normally eat a healthy diet, then you very well know how different and sluggish your body feels after a couple weeks of Holiday or Celebration feasting.  Getting back to basics is essential, eat in moderation, select fresh foods that have a reasonable shelf life and do your best to drink the proper amount of Water, everyday.  A good way to start is planning to prepare at least one meal per week made with all fresh ingredients; this will tempt you to want to do it more often.

Spending time at the Spa, relaxing or luxury?  The answer depends on who you ask, but even if you do consider a trip to the spa a luxury, it is going to make you feel good and when you feel good about yourself, you are more relaxed.  An eventful day at the spa can be quite a splurge and for some of us, it may be better suited for special occasions, but we can still lavish in some leisurely spa time without springing for a full blown spa package.

Enjoy a variety of single treatments offered; pamper yourself with a lovely pedicure, manicure or facial.  Please don’t be deceived into thinking that the spa is only for wealthy clientele.  There are all sorts of day spas, many with competitive pricing and accommodating employees.  A menu that I am perusing from a very fine Day Spa in my area lists treatments starting at $25.00.  It is quite therapeutic and rather nice to be taken care of, for any amount of time.

Treating ourselves to some pampering Home Spa time has it perks too; we have the choice of buying prepared products or making our own, there is no appointment to be on time for, no driving in stressful traffic, etc.  We need not be alone to have some relaxing time either, invite friends over for a night of homemade beauty treatments.  This can be anything from a very simple last minute affair to a well planned one complete with food, drinks and music.

A couple of natural beauty treatments that you can easily prepare at home:

Homemade Pomegranate Sugar Scrub


  • 2-3 teaspoons pomegranate seeds
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon oil- whatever you have on hand-sunflower, canola, olive, etc.


  1. In a small dish, add pomegranate seeds and 1 tablespoon of sugar, crush with a spoon (adding the sugar on top of the seeds will help keep them from splattering and will also help to extract the fragrant juice)
  2. Add oil & 2 more tablespoons of sugar
  3. Mix together
  4. Apply to clean feet and hands using a circulation motion to exfoliate and moisturize, rinse and pat dry
    *Double up on the ingredients to make a larger amount for a full body scrub

Fresh Milk & Strawberries Natural Manicure

Tools needed:

  • Nail clippers or scissors
  • Nail File
  • Nail Cuticle Stick
  • Nail Buffer

Homemade Strawberry Scrub Recipe Ingredients:

  • 3-4 ripe crushed Strawberries
  • 1/8 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 2-3 tbs Sugar
  • 1 tbs Oil-Evening Primrose, Almond, Olive, Avocado-either one will do or you may use what you have on hand (Mix the above ingredients just before you begin your manicure. Depending on how ripe your strawberries are, you may like to adjust this recipe, the consistency should be on the thick side. If you have problems getting it thick enough, the easiest thing to do is to sprinkle in a bit of Oats to the mixture.)
  • 1 cup Whole Milk (Warm the milk and pour it into a manicure bowl for your hand soak before you begin.)


  1. Begin the Manicure by Carefully trim away any hangnails
  2. File and shape your nails
  3. Soak your hands in a dish of warm whole milk for about 5 minutes; this will help to soften the cuticles and your skin
  4. Apply the Strawberry Scrub, massage into hands to exfoliate, nourish and polish away dry skin
  5. Rinse hands and pat dry
  6. Gently push back cuticles
  7. Buff your nails with a smooth soft buffer
  8. Warm a bit of the same kind of oil you used in the Scrub recipe and massage into your hands, carefully around the nails and cuticles
    Your nails are shined and polished-Naturally

Vegan treatment-substitute – Soy Milk for the Whole Milk and Molasses for the Honey.
Relaxing, peaceful Music is an effortless way to signal your mind and body to slow down the pace and enjoy the moments.

Incorporating some time to Meditate into our daily or weekly routine’s is essential to rest our minds and bodies, it is important to take that time to reflect, ponder and contemplate.  There are many ways to approach this, some being ceremonial and in group settings, or alone in a peaceful location.  I meditate effortlessly while gardening or sitting outside.  If you prefer a relaxed position while you are meditating and it is during the day, you may benefit from the use of an eye pillow.  They are readily available or you can easily make your own.

Lavender & Flax-seed Eye Pillow

Materials Needed:

  • 2 – 3.5 x 8.5 inch pieces of fabric
  • Matching Thread
  • 1/4 cup – Dried Organic Lavender
  • 1/2 cup – Organic Flax Seed



  1. With right sides of fabric together, facing each other, stitch 3 sides together leaving one of the smaller ends open
  2. Turn right side out
  3. Add Lavender & Flax Seed
  4. Fold fabric ends in for a clean finish & stitch open end together


  • A sewing machine is recommended, but these are so small that they could easily be hand sewn also
  • You may adjust the fabric size for a smaller or larger Eye Pillow
  • You may also adjust the Lavender & Flax Seed Ratio
  • Be careful not to overfill, you want these pillows to have a very light pressure while resting over your eyes

If you like Lavender, this may help to enhance your experience and you can carry it along and use it at the spa or during a massage.

Massage Therapy, it is stress relieving, aides in circulation, releases toxins, increases range of motion and flexibility, eases sore muscles and chronic tension, gives quiet time, leaves you confident and refreshed with an overall feeling of well being.  It is healthy and lends a benefit that inspires us to live well with a depth and clarity that is so profound, we want everyone to experience it – and as some firmly believe – the world would be better.

There are many venues that we can choose from to schedule an appointment for a therapeutic massage.  Of course, there is the spa, which is convenient if you are to receive other services as well.  A chiropractor’s office is a good location if you are also in need of an adjustment; as they tend to compliment each other.  There are also a number of private practice establishments and many health clubs that employ or have therapists on call.  If you prefer to have your massage at home, I think you will find massage therapists that have their own practice will be more inclined to make house calls.

A full body massage is usually 45-60 minutes, with prices generally beginning at around $40.00 and up.  Most businesses will facilitate what is called a “spot massage”, which is neck & shoulders or arms and hands or feet and legs, etc. for anywhere between 15 -30 minutes at a lower rate.

The benefits we receive far outweighs the price of a single treatment, the only tricky part here, is finding the right licensed massage therapist for yourself.  Once we conquer that, the rest is easy.  I think it is a good idea to bring up and discuss facial massage with your therapist if you are so inclined to receive it.  It is something I expect, as we tend to hold quite a bit of stress in our faces.  But very often, the face is neglected during a massage.  Also use caution if you opt to have the therapist use a scented oil or cream during your massage.  Ask if you may check it out first to make sure that it is not too strong for your senses.  One time when I asked for this, the therapist quickly stuck a bottle of Lemongrass essential oil right under my nose-not good-I very much enjoy Lemongrass EO, but only when it is properly diluted.  When you do have a massage, plan your day accordingly, if you eat afterwards, eat light and always drink plenty of water.

Massage is healthy and relaxing for infants and babies, it is of gentle form, loving and a pleasurable bonding time for all involved.  Check the resources in your area, including recommendations for book tutorials and music selections to accompany the massage time.

There are simple massage techniques that you can do at home or work to help relieve a minor headache.  Massage the base of the back of your head gently and also massage your head like you are washing your hair, rub little circles all over your face, reach back if you can and gently rub your shoulders too.  Give yourself about 5 minutes or so to rest after doing this and drink a glass of fresh water; it is a quick technique to try before popping a pain reliever.

We have all dealt with negative and not so nice people; who try to make us feel, not so great.  Being Positive, Kind and Courteous makes you and others feel good, daily practice of patience, regard and respect is contagious, pass it on.

It’s a new year and a good time to wipe the slate clean if you can.  Part of relaxing is relieving stress and thinking about all the things you should have done can cause undo stress.  Follow Through and do your best to accomplish reasonable daily goals.

Relaxing techniques come in many forms…

  • some people call upon beloved family animals and their calming powers
  • others just sit quietly anywhere from 60 seconds to 5 minutes
  • keeping an organized home is helpful
  • power naps or catnaps during the day
  • fragrance-especially Lavender
  • fresh clean sheets and a good book
  • spirituality
  • being alone and decompressing after a stressful day before interacting with family
  • drinking herbal tea before bed
  • have a sitter for the kids
  • bake bread
  • curl up with a magazine or crossword puzzle
  • take a drive in the country
  • spend some time at the park with your family
  • have a picnic
  • walk a nature trail
  • teach your children to enjoy reading, it is a relaxing for everyone.

Quite a variety to choose from and a very good point is that someone can benefit by a mere 60 seconds sitting in a chair whereas someone else needs to take 5 minutes doing basically the same thing.  That is the goal, to do what we need for ourselves.  Baking bread would be anything but relaxing for me, yet for someone else it is the very thing that is used to retreat and unwind.

This is a wonderful time of the year, brimming with hopes, dreams and it feels as if anything and everything is within our reach and positively possible.  The ideas mentioned above are not new or improved; they are not bigger or better, designer or whatever.  What they are, is sublime and timeless, they softly lend simplicity and effectiveness in doable doses that will only enhance our daily lives and the lives of the people around us.  It is up to you to take back Your Time, harmony and balance is yours for the taking, live it, love it, enjoy and embrace it!

Pennie Mills Contributor
Pennie Mills is a wonderful lifestyle and beauty writer. She had her own column on this site called Beautiful Living.
Pennie Mills Contributor
Pennie Mills is a wonderful lifestyle and beauty writer. She had her own column on this site called Beautiful Living.
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