There are approximately eleventy hojillion articles out there on “Relaxation for Moms” and “Pampering Resources” and “Coping With Stress”, which can basically be boiled down to: CHILLAX, WOMAN.
I’m not going to blather on about why it’s healthy to make sure you focus on yourself as well as your family and your job, I’m just going to tell you about a few of my top choices for decompressing and enjoying the time I have to myself (often an all-too-brief window, but hey, I take what I can get).
FOR YOUR MOUTH
Here’s a product that’s probably best if you can buy it hot and freshly-made from the source, but since I don’t live in Chicago I’m just glad there’s an internet option: Garrett Popcorn.
So. Damn. Good. I’ve only tried the Caramel Crisp so far, but MY GOD. Don’t even let the kids get at this stuff—seriously, buy them a box of Fiddle Faddle so you can hoard this buttery, unbelievably rich concoction all to yourself.
I know it’s not the healthiest choice for snacking (or eating in giant handfuls in place of a nutritious dinner), but for sheer comfort food this popcorn can’t be beat. I particularly endorse the option of eating it while reclining on the couch watching a really entertaining TV series, such as Battlestar Galactica. Goodbye, tension. Hello, deliciousness.
FOR YOUR EARS
The music I’d like to recommend for general enjoyment and de-stressification is a Brazilian instrumental group called Uakti, who I never would have discovered on my own but when I heard my coworker playing one of their albums, I had to rush in his office and ask him what in HELL that wonderful noise was.
Having read up a little on the band, I’ve learned that Uakti primarily use really awesome sounding custom-made instruments (constructed from everyday materials like pipe, glasses, metal, rocks, rubber, and even water) to create their music. Their name may be hard to pronounce (I think you say “wok-chee”) but man, has it ever got a cool origin: it comes from an Tukano Indian legend about a mythological being named Uakti, whose body was full of holes. When he ran and wind passed through them, the holes produced sounds that bewitched the women of the tribe, and so the men hunted him and burned his body. Palm trees sprouted from the place where his body was buried, and the Indians used these to create flutes that make the same music as Uakti’s body did.
(Dear Limp Bizkit: you could learn something from this. Primarily, how to name your band something that doesn’t make people BARF.)
Anyway, the album I recently acquired is called Aguas da Amazonia, and it’s composed by Philip Glass. It’s a liquid, burbling, beautiful collection of music that’s soothing without being boring. I particularly recommend the second song on the album (the whole thing is on iTunes, if you’d like to try a track or two) called “Japura River”—it’s absolutely magical. Play it in the car on your way home from work and you will literally feel your soul being hung out on a clothesline and dried in the sun. Ahhhhh.
FOR YOUR NOSE
I’m not particularly interested in aromatherapy or acupuncture or holistic medicine or a diet featuring high amounts of soy (unless it’s soy sauce), but I really like this smelly little product by Saje. It’s a blend of several essential oils, including peppermint, lavender, lemon, myrrh, chamomile, and possibly eye of newt. While I initially bought it on someone’s suggestion that it might help with sinus congestion/allergies (for me, it did not), I now use it in my bath nearly every night. It only takes one or two drops in running water to fill the tub with a powerfully relaxing smell—sort of extremely herbal but still really, really good. I feel like I sleep extra deeply afterwards, all loose and mellow and ready to dream about Clive Owen. A shirtless, unshaven, slightly grimy Clive Owen. Mmm.
Okay, that’s all for now, but I’d love to hear your top picks for must-have Chillaxation Stuff. What are your favorite me-time accouterments?