Ask Susie: De-Stressing
My mind swirls with thoughts when I get on the massage table and it is hard to relax. Any ideas?
You are not alone – it is very common for us to have our minds darting to and fro, buzzing with thoughts, when we first get to a spa and many times even during our spa treatment. That’s often why we are at the spa to begin with – because we are stressed and need help relaxing. You are wise to think through how you might be able to quiet your mind earlier so that you don’t need to use up the entire spa treatment time to slow down.
Here are a few hints I hope will help:
1. Recognize that all this chatter is a sign that you indeed are stressed, so pat yourself on the back for listening to your body and making an appointment at the spa for some relaxation.
2. Try to get to the spa at least 30 minutes before your treatment begins. I know most spas ask you to be there 15 minutes or so ahead of time, but I suggest you make it a bit earlier. Rushing to relax is going to make it that much harder to do so. If you arrive early enough, you will have time to experience whatever amenities might be available – sauna, steam, Jacuzzi, warm shower – or even just sitting quietly in a chair with a cup of herbal tea before your treatment begins.
3. Experiment with relaxation techniques. Some can be done during your spa treatment, however many are best incorporated into your life in general. I like the suggestions that Dr. Roberta Lee gives in her new book The SuperStress Solution. I recently visited Dr. Lee at Beth Israel’s Continuum Center for Health and Healing here in New York where she is vice chair of the Department of Integrative Medicine. It appeared to me that she practices what she preaches.
Relaxation exercises you can do yourself:
b. Daily affirmations
c. Focused breathing
e. Play Time
f. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
g. Tai Chi
Of all of these ways to relax, focused breathing is probably the one that will help you the most at the beginning of your spa treatment. By concentrating on your slow inhales and exhales, your mind and body will begin to let go and before you know it your mind is quiet and the spa therapy is working its magic.