How This Situationally Anxious Girl Finds Relaxation.

So this is a hybrid post.

Originally I had planned to do a Wordless Wednesday post, as I continue to dig up and edit photos from 3-4 months ago, because that’s how bad it’s become. That’s how in over my head I’ve gotten with the whole living, parenting, photography, pets thing! That alone would have been my post. However, I decided to check out what Rabia and Lisa had going on for this week’s Tuesday Ten list because that’s always worth a look. What luck! It’s National Hammock Day, so we’re focusing on our best ways to relax.

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The Liebers

I think I’m bad at relaxing! I would go for these hot baths with Cassidy at spas in Calistoga, California and once the attendant would leave the room, I’d put cold water in my bath. I struggle with hot tubs and saunas too! I guess I’m ok at laying on tubes in the water. Maybe I don’t do it with as much pizazz as Scarlet does, though! There were grabby crabs in the water! I saw ’em!

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I look more like Des does in this here photo, when I’m doing things other people find to be “relaxing.”

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However. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Even I know how to chill out, in my own ways.

Here are my top ten favorite ways to relax.

1. Crossword puzzles. Many, many crossword puzzles. That’s my version of a stiff drink at the end of a long day.

2. I watch bad TV. Actually I can’t even call it that. It’s not bad. It’s ABC Family, though, and it’s light & fluffy.

3. I like to listen to my favorite songs in my car, and I like to listen to them LOUDLY. And maybe thrash around a bit.

4. I like to read books at the dinner table. And the breakfast table. And the lunch table. And when I’m not eating too!

5. Oh, wait. My mom reads this blog. I’ll keep #5 to myself!

6. My kids. They can also cause the opposite of relaxation, but we can always love and find joy together. And that’s a big one.

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7. Occasionally I will draw someone I love very near to my heart. It’s hard to admit such weakness, but it helps so very much. This can be in person, by phone or by email or even blog. Writing. Connecting. That works really well for me.

8. Good sleep, enough water, good food, and occasionally spraying an herbal anti-anxiety spray into my mouth!

9. You can call it weird, or slightly OCD but I love to count sometimes, like if I’m on a plane and we’re taking off and landing. I like to count to 100 and see what has happened since I started. I also like to stare at my hands, reach for someone else’s hands, stare at the sky, or stare at a sunset. Grounding things are good things. They pull you in and soothe your soul.

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10. Editing photos, of course! And now it’s photo bomb time, from where we left off from last week. Children’s portraits:

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(The red in his eyes is most wonderfully ME!)

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How This Situationally Anxious Girl Finds Relaxation. — 127 Comments

  1. Jealous of your photo editing skills. Don’t get me wrong I can edit photos, but not like you and must admit I bow down to you for that and so much more. And by the way I was waiting for you to admit to listening to Robin Thicke πŸ™‚

    • I appreciate that! With these, there isn’t much actual editing. By editing, I mean converting them from RAW to JPEG and sharpening. However with clients, I pay attention to things more. And fix them if I can.
      I haven’t listened to “Blurred Lines” since last summer, if you can believe that.

  2. There is a car ad on the radio that I’ve heard a few times this week, and the song in the background is Safe and Sound. I think of you and smile every time I hear it. I do logic puzzles to relax, because I am a dork.

    • I like being a dork.
      I heard that commercial today! I was happy to hear it but also sad about it being in a car commercial.
      Although that’s really a perfect song for a car commercial!

  3. I have a hard time relaxing too sometimes! Its like I always have to find something to worry about. However, I do enjoy hot tubs and baths. I don’t think I’ve ever seriously sat in a sauna, only kind of walked though one. I didn’t mind it though!

    • I do like baths and hot tubs a LOT but they can’t be too hot. I’ve been in some great ones.. In the snow in Wyoming! Ahh. And seeing shooting stars from our hot tub in Yosemite. Heaven.

  4. Awesome list! Reading is one of my favorite ways to relax, but I’m horrible with crossword puzzles. I’ll only know a handful of answers. However, I’m pretty good with word searches. Lol.

    • Ha!! Now I’m dying to know if your #5 is what mine is!!
      It might not be…
      Cassidy is watching a movie right now that is so bad, it’s bad.

    • I’m not great at crossword puzzles either because I’m out of practice, but I learned once that you get better and better at them the more you do them and learn the lingo.
      As for the herbal spray, they sell it at my local vitamin store! It’s called Fear-Less and it’s on amazon too. It takes the edge off for me.

  5. Sadly, I don’t really know how to relax. The only time I ever do is on vacation. So here’s to some relaxation next month! LOVE all your pictures! I was always behind on editing when the kids were little too. It’s hard to keep up!

  6. I love this- just like I love all your posts… true, real, beautiful, in the moment wherever your moment is… and that sunset is amazing, glorious actually! And of course, I could stare at your photos all night long… ahhhh….

    I live in the land of situational anxiety- and this summer i feel like I have been much like Des, and you… unable to really embrace the joy in the moments because I am too stressed about them coming too fast and furious and running and doing and serving and and and…

    It really harshes my mellow. All this jazz. I want to be Scarlet, oh how I long to be SCARLET!!!

    Maybe tomorrow…

    • It is funny because usually summer is my time to really live easily, as they say. This summer is just very heavy. There are a lot of joyous moments and I have to tell you that I had absolutely zero anxiety (and allergies, actually) while I was away.
      In my opinion, or maybe it’s just the New England thing, summer is still young.

  7. I do a similar thing on planes–I give myself timed deadlines during turbulence, like “Ok. Lauren, let’s see where we are in five minutes. Deep breath. Deep breath. Deep breath. Oh look! You did it!”

    I haven’t done crosswords in a long time, but I used to love them. And logic problems–those were super fun! You’ve inspired me to get back to it.

    I love how much Scarlet loves the water–think she can give Marshall a pep talk? He’s still not too sure about it.

    • Thanks! It was a bit of a disaster just trying to get photos at all that day. I love the one where he is looking at the sun like it’s a fireball.

  8. Absolutely awesome post and I LOVE when you touch on this topic as you have here and there in the past. As you know I too suffer from anxiety off and on. And when it’s ON…oh yikes, no fun. That concert I went to…huge
    situational anxiety for me. Luckily those nice ladies I was with were very low maintenance and let me do my own thing by wandering around taking photos. That helped. I went through your list. For me…music absolutely that is huge. Trying to ground myself in meditation and positive mantras – yes. Of course, the biggest helper is Phoenix which many of you found out via my Facebook post a few weeks back. Now, many more folks truly “get” what he is to me πŸ™‚ I love when you are so candid and open it makes me feel connected and not so alone in my anxiety if that makes sense. Your pictures…LOL…I had to look twice…I though Athena was stealing Scarlett’s stuffed animal! Loved this post, Tamara and thank you πŸ™‚

    • I couldn’t tell from your recent photos! That was a big deal! Meeting new friends and having them be cool enough to let you do your thing. That is big for me. Sometimes I just have to tell people so that they don’t think I’m weird if I just up and leave. Space helps. Pets help. Friendship helps. Blogging helps. You help!

  9. Some of us did no photo editing of our children’s photos when they were young… mine were young in the dark ages, before digital technology became affordable. For me…. sitting on the beach, walking and listening to audiobooks, glass of wine with friends, watching 80s movies & cross stitching, cooking.

    • Ha! Don’t worry. I’m from the dark ages too because I studied photography in the completely classic way. I did edit them, but I did it in darkrooms. I will never forget the smell of the chemicals!

  10. I used to do crosswords. Then, it turned into games on a tablet or on my phone. Then, they became and obsession so I stopped. The pictures are amazing and those hammock ones are perfect for this! πŸ™‚

  11. This situationally anxious girl love hearing tips from another situationally anxious girl! I’m going to have to try the counting to 100 to see what’s happened in between one- I see some possibilities there… And I would also look like Des on the raft- “what are we laying around for?” would be the caption I would put there! Gorgeous photos and words as always!

    • I was just so amused because he looks totally uneasy and like he’s out of his element, and she is looking at him almost through side eyes. He did get into the groove eventually, like I often do too! And I hope for you as well.

  12. I love doing crossword puzzles too so no shame there. I am curios about #5 too but I knew it wouldn’t have anything to do with bowls. However, since curiosity killed the cat I will leave it alone. (even if satisfaction did bring the cat back!)

    • Ha! It was more to get a rise out of my mom and have her comment. Number five is nothing too weird or illegal. It’s more of a general, vague and time honored way of being in that being close with someone in any way (any way, even a hug) is stress relieving. Or being close with yourself! (Even a hug)

  13. The photo of Des on the beach might be one of my favorites that you’ve posted here. It’s perfect. I watch actual bad TV to relax (read: Bravo), so since I am cutting out cable when I move to Chicago, I guess I’ll be watching a lot of YouTube…

  14. I’m the worst at relaxing! Even when I’m “relaxing” I’m often doing something else, like when I watch tv. I have found instead of watching tv by myself if I watch something with Sam I’m much better at actually just watching it. And I LOVE getting massages, that’s about the only way I can turn off my brain other than when I’m going to seelp (usually). And curious about #5 as well, though I have a theory….

  15. So funny about your #5 haha!!! I am like you in some of what you describe about relaxing. I almost feel overwhelmed if the sauna/hot tub/massage room is too hot. I feel the edges of a panic attack brushing up against me, honestly. I remember one time that I had a massage (which I like to do for relaxation, but it’s not exactly cheap to do as regularly as I’d like!) and asked the massage therapist to turn down the heat and take off the blanket over me (there was a sheet and blanket). She definitely looked surprised. I love to read to relax (block existing conditions out) or do crosswords or make lists (tasky kinds of things that are not too taxing on the brain). Also taking photos in my yard and puttering in my (weedy) garden usually takes the edge out of any anxiety. Brings me back to center most of the time. (P.S. I know exactly where you mean when you mentioned you were in Watch Hill this week–we stay in Narragansett every year in August, and Watch Hill has become a regular day trip for us because of the carousel. There’s a book about it, The Brass Ring, that my mom found for my daughter since she loves carousels. Ever since we got that book, we’ve made WH a regular stop while down there. Enjoy!!!!)

    • Oh yay! Thank you for that. And I have seriously thought I couldn’t breathe in the sauna or spa while everyone else was relaxing. Lame!! I’ve never even got a massage. I’m sure I would freak out during that. I have gotten facials, though, and I do tend to lay down and enjoy it.

  16. I am really bad at relaxing as well. There always seems like there is something that should be getting done and so I sit there trying to relax, but keep thinking about that something I should be doing. I did find an essential oil from Young Living that works for me called Peace and Calming. Funny, I do number 8 too!

    • Thank you for the tip! I will check out the oil. I feel like I lost something in myself, because I know I could relax as a kid the way my kids can. So maybe it’s reversible.

    • I took a long break but I got back into them recently. It’s because my kittens found my old pencil which reminded me! I don’t like doing them in pen.

  17. I cant handle this Tamara! Look, I’m not one for pictures of myself. I boycotted maternity photos, I dodge cameras, but I MUST have my picture taken by you! MUST! WITH DYLAN! I feel like you capture the soul as cheesy as it sounds. Maybe it’s the reflection of you in Des’ eyes (OMG THAT IS SO COOL) but I feel like there’s more there. And I didn’t realize it until you said it but I focus on a nearby detail and count too. It’s not always counting, sometimes I repeat a safe word/term. Don’t laugh but it’s usually “tupac tupac tupac tupac” lol what can I say? Thug life! PS. Serious about my lifelong dream to be photographed by you

    • Your dreams can come true, they can happen to you! It becomes my dream to have people think this about me, and for me to fulfill other people’s dreams is kind of my dream. So, this is on my bucket list too. It can happen. We go west. You drive up. You go east. We drive down. Something will happen.

  18. I love how you were aware enough to identify activities and people that help relax you. I think that is half the battle. I relax by reading, writing and playing Words With Friends. A good run in the morning helps too.

  19. Ahhh! I so needed this today! I am boarding a plane for BlogHer tonight and I am SO excited and anxious right now! I love herbal tea and sitting in the sun to relax my stresses (and sometimes a glass of wine, but it is way to early for that). I so need a hammock right now. πŸ™‚

    • I so wish I could go. I thought it would happen, but the expenses, logistic, travel, etc. Too much for this girl. This year. I would love to meet you.
      I have a theory that it will come back East again. Two years ago – NYC. Last year – Chicago. Now – Cali. So where will it be next??
      It’s funny how anxious we all get for conferences. Learning is something big. Connecting too.
      You’ll rock it!

  20. Lovely pics, Tamara! There are a few things make me feel relax. Kitchen comes first actually..only preparing, cutting some veggies relaxes me sometimes..Books about Quantum thinking also help most of the time…or taking a walk,oh..that is also work well for me. Happy Wednesday! xx

  21. Beautiful pictures! I love your dog’s facial expressions in all of the photos. She’s saying I belong, this is my family and I am their dog…they love me! She’s also so graceful and poised. What a beauty!

  22. Haha I’m so with you on bad television. I don’t have TV anymore but I remember with my eldest we did, and that was one of the sad ways I coped with those first few weeks lol. Totally passive entertainment haha.

  23. Don’t even get me started about bad TV. Last night I was watching a show about a Russian Yeti attack that happened in 1959. It was so traumatizing I had to turn if off. Then I woke up at 3am thinking about it, still shook. After some Googling (yes, at 3am) I learned that it was a Fake-umentary. Totally fake documentary. Those bastards!

  24. I love crossword puzzles and word searches. I also love all these pictures. You look so happy and at peace in the one pic with Scarlet, Des and Athena!

  25. We all have different ways of relaxing. Counting to 100 and doing crossword puzzles both make sense. They’re ways to focus your attention on something benign. Though, sometimes there’s just nothing better than belting out your favorite songs while speeding down the highway. I think this photobomb has the brightest smile I’ve ever seen from Des’ face…so beautiful!

    • That’s it! I just replied to Lisa about what you said – it’s a way of focusing and channeling that constant brain activity.
      And thanks about Des! When he was a newborn, he would smile so big he’d fall over when propped up.

  26. Cute on the quote bubble you placed above Scarlet! I also like your ways of relaxing – reading and editing photos. I also like to veg and watch TV or play a puzzle-game on my phone. Loved Sudoku for a while. I could never finish a crossword puzzle. Good for you! Keep that brain young, right ;).

    • I loved Sudoku too! For a long time. I love ways to keep my brain racing. Although it does that enough on its own. Maybe that’s a perk of controlling and channeling that activity into puzzles and words.
      You were the first to point out the speech bubble!!

  27. That sunset picture (with the ocean) looks so real – I actually felt for just a minute like I was in my happy place!!
    And, I do the counting thing – when I was trying to run my race (50), I counted to 100 over and over (and over……) – it kept my brain busy ad not thinking about my pain.

  28. Those would all be relaxing, as soon as I get some time to read. Your photos are gorgeous! I would love to sit back and read, but right now, it’s normally at 11 at night which means it’s not relaxing, it’s sleep time! LOL! πŸ™‚

  29. I fully expect to find video of myself rocking out in my car while driving on YouTube one day. I just hope I am playing the Safety Dance remix when it happens. I am currently watching something called Naked and Afraid as I edit my most recent photos. I am not sure if it qualifies as bad TV just yet. Or why the people are naked. LOVE the hammock! I could definitely chill out there.

  30. # 1, 2, 3 & 8 ———- LOVE LOVE LOVE! Seriously. We need to meet. We would seriously be the best of friends. Not even kidding. When are you coming to Los Angeles so we can hang out in hammocks, doing crossword puzzles while listening to some oldies but goodies (music) and sing at the top of our lungs and then just laugh our asses off!?!?!?!?

  31. ohmygoodness. I’m so happy to finally have some time to sit and read your posts!! Between work and getting ready to travel and traveling to SF and managing kids, husband and family – oy! OK, my comment. The sunset picture is absolutely stunning. I mean, come on Tamara, it’s gorgeous! And I love that the red in Des’ eyes is you! Bad TV and music can be great elixirs but when I’m anxious and unsettled, I need to feel grounded and I need to stop and slow down by reading or talking to someone (phone, in person). That or organizing my to do list.

    • I’m so glad to hear from you! It’s always okay if you get behind or don’t visit. You have a lot going on! So nice to hear about what relaxes you too.

  32. What CUTE photos dear πŸ™‚ I hope you are having a sunny summer to

    Check out my new post…..A DREAM summer house on Bahamas πŸ™‚

    I wish you a great weekend πŸ™‚

    LOVE Maria at inredningsvis – inredning it’s, Swedish for decor πŸ™‚

  33. Can you just… I don’t know.. capture my life’s moments and make them pretty for me πŸ™‚ Your pictures are always fun, bright, and filled with life! My husband has always said he wants a hammock p, I’m afraid I’d get in and spin around and fly out like an old Mickey Mouse cartoon. I’m not the best at relaxing, I’m always thinking ‘I could or I should’

  34. I’m awesome at relaxing – I can do it in my sleep. Surprisingly, which I do quite a bit of πŸ™‚ That hammock looks cool and I love that photo of Des with the red eye πŸ™‚ Have a great one Tamara! -Iva

      • Lol I’d like to think so although, I feel the men in our lives would indicate that it is not always the case when excitability gets the best of us. Either way, thank you and how awesome it is that I know how you sound too! Finally Friday – Another week in the bag!

  35. Love your list. One of my favorite ways to relax is by coloring…as in a coloring book. Weird, I know, especially because I do not have a single artistic bone in my body. But the act of coloring is very calming to me.

  36. Beautiful pictures! Bad TV is definitely on my relaxation list as well. My favorite are cooking competition shows. My daughter is hooked now as well. For her First Grade About Me paper, she listed MasterChef as her favorite show.

  37. I love Des’s hair cut! I get it. I love holding hubby’s hand. It definitely relaxes me. What else? seeing the pictures of you all in a hammock and it those rubber tubs on the water looked pretty relaxing too. πŸ™‚

    • Holding hands. That’s so nice! Sometimes I find myself holding Cassidy’s hand in my sleep. Athena too. Her paw. Des totally got a haircut! From ME!

  38. Ahaha, I love the Scarlet and Des photos!! And I am so jealous of your colorful hammock. Yes!! And oh gosh, you do crossword puzzles for relaxation? They stress me out because I suck at them or maybe I just don’t make an effort to answer! πŸ™‚ My husband loves crossword though. He’d buy newspapers just for the crossword! Haha.

  39. Gorgeous photos, Tamara! They make me love Summer even more than I already do. πŸ™‚ Your relaxation post is excellent as well. I especially love your # 7 – reconnecting with someone. Life gets so busy and friendships/relationships tend to fall by the wayside all too often as we frantically try to keep up with all the details of living. Finding or making the time to reconnect with a loved one always leaves me feeling relaxed and more at peace with myself afterward. So glad you included it in your wonderful list! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much! And I just really love summer. Here, it is still summer until mid-September. I know a lot of people go back to school in August but not us. Someone very wise once told me that they coped with anxiety from abuse, by just kindness. And I’ve actually pulled myself out of anxiety attacks with kindness and connection.

  40. 1. I love how Pandora will toss in “Safe and Sound” or “Bad to the Bone” or some Kesha just when you need it, don’t you?

    2. Kids – yes, they’re stressful, but they also remind me, in all their noisy chaos, that there’s purpose to be found in the madness. And everything returns to order. Eventually.

    3. Hands. I think they’re so underrated. But think of the ways the touch of a hand says all you need to say when you can’t even start to say it.

    • I knew and hope you would notice that one. It’s somewhat understated, I feel. But somebody told me once that she is pulled out of full-blown panic attacks by somebody holding her hand. That’s power.

  41. I love this list and I actually feel more relaxed after reading it, some how. I just realized this afternoon that I have nothing scheduled for this weekend, which is a first this month, and I am planning on doing nothing but relaxing!

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