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How to relax? How to relax? How to relax? THAT is the question.

On a daily basis (well, almost on a daily basis) we have dishes piled high; both dirty and clean clothes in the machine either waiting to be washed, folded or put away; toys, books, crayons and mismatched socks scattered across every room across every floor, every cranny, in every room, under every bed; spills and stains all around the kitchen stove waiting to be washed; someone telling you they are thirsty or hungry again for the millionth time; someone who needs assistance at the potty.

Since I discovered at a routine doctor’s checkup my blood pressure was a little on the high side, I took it to myself to monitor my blood pressure at home on a daily basis to see if it was just maybe a one time deal or if me, at 31 should be already taking blood pressure medication. I was terrified . Terrified that I was so young and my heart was already letting me down. Terrified that my three young children who were oh so young still, who I knew needed me may be with a mommy that had to try to clam down, try to control her stress as to no over exert her heart. I ask myself, “What is going on? What is my body trying to tell me?”

My mind says ‘Go, go, go’ all day and all night. My kids all wake up between 5:45am and 6:30am (ever since they were in my womb, seriously). It says “Go and get breakfast ready; go get the kids to brush their teeth; go get their outfits ready for the day; and oh yes, go check the weather to see how to dress them.” And it goes on and on as the wheels turn in my head on “Go find matching socks and I wonder where I put the rain boots I put away last week and that rain coat?” For now, it is just my eldest daughter, Olivia that I am getting ready for school. I’m thinking how on earth am I ever going to make it out in time to get all three of my kids ready for school when they all eventually go to school.

I shake that thought off and realize I still haven’t packed her snack yet? I ask her what she would like most of the time and I pack it in the lunch bag. I think to myself, “Did I remember to put her ice pack in the fridge last night?” I make sure her lotion is in the bag (because it always finds a way out somehow) and fill up her water bottle for school. I always pack a lotion for whenever Olivia’s may have itchy spots (usually her hands) and the teacher recommended her to have it just in case. I tuck in her folder that she keeps in her bookbag for parent notes and homework. Phew!! I put her coat and shoes and and off I go to take her to school, while grandma, grandpa or occasionally her uncle comes up to babysit the other two.

That is just two hours of my day. Felt like a whole day just by reading it, didn’t it? Were you holding your breath the whole time while you were reading that?

I was told to omit salt from my diet or to lose some weight to lower it. I tried that and it did seem to work for a few months, but eventually it went up again. It’s been pretty much high for half a year already. I was scared and sad. I felt that everyday, I was closer and closer to having to take blood pressure medication. I’ve seen a cardiologist and the EKGs all turn up fine. I was told my heart was okay for now.

I love my girls with all my heart and I just couldn’t imagine fitting time to even take medication, should I be prescribed it. I was determined to overcome this for a healthier me, for my family. I had to be there. I want to be there. I did not want to even think about my lifespan becoming shortened due to this disease.

I ordered myself an anxiety book because perhaps I thought I was just anxious and that was why my blood pressure was high. I read a review that sold me. It talked about the book a little and how sometimes, it is actually the people who often cares the most that become anxious. It touched upon how sometimes you are holding your breath and don’t even realize it. Take a deep breath in (hold it for a moment) and take a deep breath out (as long as you can). How was it? Wasn’t as simple as you thought, now that you’re doing it, isn’t it? I just realized that now, after I read that in a random review of the book somewhere on Amazon. I bought the book and have started to read it. I will let you know how I like the book after I complete it. I felt great! I was one step closer to helping myself hopefully work on calming my nerves.

I gave myself a thumbs up and wanted to find another way to control my blood pressure. I was determined to continue to do all I can to not be put on blood pressure medication and yet I was prepared if I was told to take them. I met with one more cardiologist and she gave me a positive affirmation that I was still young and that she believed I could still get over this bad hunch. She gave me advice I’ve heard and read about from friends, families and random blogs I google and find that all tell mom to take some “me time.” I think it must be because this simple sound advice came from a “professional”, a “doctor” that gave me a feeling of ease and suddenly I felt I had ” permission” for myself to take a break, though I know I should never feel I need permission to. For someone like me, I think that was all I needed to hear. Someone confident I can overcome this. Someone who is a doctor to literally tell me “Take a break when your husband is home from work for 30 minutes a day either exercising, doing yoga, meditation or both, or to get my nails done.” I felt another plus one for me. I am winning. I got this!

The other day, I was with my husband at a book store and cane across the book, “How to Relax” by Thich Nhat Nanh.

This book sold me reading the first few random passages I flipped across. It draws you an image on how to relax. It makes you aware of yourself, your body and your mind. It tells you about orange juice and pulp sinking down and somehow it’s almost like magic, you just get it. You just all of a sudden know how that is supposed to feel. Did you realize there was a difference between how you sit and how your posture dictates how relax is supposed to feel? I haven’t finished this book yet, but I will keep you posted on my final thoughts in regards to this book. So far, I am obsessed and love and want to buy it for everyone in my life and to just everyone, everywhere who needs a break.

Inhale. Exhale.

Inhaleee. Exhaleeee.

Have you gotten the hand of this thing you do all day since the moment you were born called, “breathing?”

I’ve been doing this breathing thing consciously for a few days now the minute I wake up ( or rather when the kids get me up) to start my day and my blood pressure seems to have normalized! I am so happy. We can do this!

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What are some things you like to do to relax? Do you drink tea or take a nice lavender scented bath? Do you have helpful meditations you do and would like to share? 

3 Replies to “How to Relax?”

  1. Hi Yvonne,

    First, I want to let you know that I love what you’re doing with this blog and I especially love this post. I too struggle(d) with anxiety problems and I told you about the time a few years ago when I seriously thought I had a heart problem (and even thought I was having a heart attack but it was really just a panic attack). It’s really admirable that you’re willing to write about your feelings and be candid with one of the more prominent (and not really talked about) problems that mothers go through. I think you’ve already taken the biggest step, which is acknowledging that your heart problem isn’t really a heart problem – it’s a stress and anxiety problem! That alone should help you lower your anxiety – knowledge is power!

    Second, my own mom went through a similar birth cycle as you did (I was born, then my brother two years after, and then my sister a year after that). So when I was Olivia’s age, my brother was 3, and my sister was 2. My mom will attest that having 3 children in a span of 5 years is incredibly taxing on the body and your stress levels being so high isn’t something abnormal – give your body time to rest! Make time for yourself – I know it’s hard to do but reach out to your family and friends to watch your daughters for a few hours a week. Trust me, we ALL want you to ask for help (we love the girls and actually want to watch them).

    Keep doing what you’re doing! You’re doing a wonderful job at being the best mother you can be. I hold you in high regard and think you’re incredibly brave in taking on this huge responsibility with an open mind, heart, and arms.

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