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The Courage to Relax

August 15 was National Relaxation Day. What did you do to relax?

The funny thing is, the question itself is stressful. Nothing makes me tenser than someone telling me to relax. A whole national day for relaxation – what’s a girl to do? How do I make the time for National Relaxation Day when there is so much to get done?

The other day my older daughter asked why people smoked.

“It’s all about the breathing, baby.”

“Why not take a deep breath… without a cigarette?”

When my younger daughter was in kindergarten, her teacher  called me in to discuss her frustration. Here she was, five years old and frustrated that an art project had not come out the way she wanted it. She shredded the project; the teacher called me in for a conference. I went home and dug out a children’s book about frustration that I had purchased when going through my divorce and introduced my younger daughter to the Balloon Breath.

Balloon Breath:

1)       Take a deep, full, belly breath and hold it for 3 seconds.

2)      Poke yourself gently in the stomach, as if poking a balloon with a tiny pin. (This step can be made more fun and even giggly if you ask someone else to poke you and you are ticklish.)

3)      Slowly let out all of your air.

4)      Repeat, if necessary, to achieve a state of relaxation.

I am a woman. I am a mother. I am a daughter, sister, and friend. I work full-time. I juggle the schedules of my children who are in musical groups, social clubs, church groups, and athletics. I consider the past and plan for the future. I strive to make my time on this earth meaningful and hope that I can one day say that I did my small part to heal a little piece of our world and make it better for others. I run, I bike, I try to sleep, and I look forward to moments filled with love and laughter.

How will I recognize National Relaxation Day? I will find the courage to stop, take a deep Balloon Breath, and breathe – today… and every day. What about you?

Ifeoma Aduba, AWP Director of Public Advocacy

Courage: A Woman’s Place acts bravely and boldly, notwithstanding fear.*

*excerpt from the Values Statement of A Woman’s Place

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