Monday, February 9, 2009

Sometimes you just have to get away from it all

I wrote a little while ago about life in general stressing me out. I've been trying to be better at utilizing my time management methods, but one thing that I've been seriously lacking are some decent stress management techniques. So this weekend, I went on an all day "retreat" held by a Catholic organization here in town that focused on relaxation and rejuvenation. Sometimes it's important to just relax, let everything go, and get away from the outside world for a little while.

Image from Perfect Escapes

The best part of the retreat was getting to try various "centering" activites/treatments that I've always heard about, but never actually gotten to try. There was yoga and massage, obviously (I partake in those two things "regularly" already), but here are some of the new things that I got to try and what I thought:
  • Tai Chi: I, like everyone else, have seen the older women moving slowly in unison in parks during the summer, doing what looks like a cross between dancing and karate in slow motion. I even know a few people that teach it, but I've never tried it. I'm very glad I had the opportunity to participate - it takes concentration and strength to remember what to do and make your body do it so slowly. Not quite the work-out yoga is, but it has many of the same benefits.
  • Reiki: Reiki's a little harder to explain for those of you that don't know what it is. Here's the Wikipedia article if you're interested. I'm still not sure how I feel about this, even after going through a session. Another woman on the retreat claimed she could feel the difference in her knees - I had no such luck. The jury's still out on this one, as I think I'll need another session to really make up my mind about it.
  • Guided Meditation: We did two types of meditation on the retreat - the first involving chimes and Scripture and poetry, the second involving paper, crayons, and an empty mind. I have to say that the latter was my favorite - putting a writing instrument to a piece of paper with my eyes closed and just seeing what my mind came up with was really interesting. Apparently there books on "interpreting" these kinds of drawings, but I prefer to figure it out on my own. The former also had it's good points, although I found myself flinching whenever the chime rang from the noise.
  • Reflexology: I was super skeptical about this, mainly because I have the most ticklish feet ever and it's really tough for me to get pedicures and similar things because I have to focus so hard on not kicking the technicians. However, the reflexologist (is that a word?) assured me that I'd be fine, and got straight to work. I've never been more relaxed in my life! My feet never felt so good! And I was amazed and how I could feel various parts of my body while certain areas of my feet were being worked on. Plus she had this super awesome chair that made me feel weightless - it was hard to get into, but awesome once I was in it!
I had to miss the Qi Gong class to get my massage, and I'm really disappointed about that! I've always wanted to learn more about Qi Gong and see if I enjoy it - oh well, another time.

What I came away with from the retreat were tips and tricks from various disciplines for de-stressing myself at work, and a new appreciation from some other forms of treatment for stress. It was nice to be able to sample so many different things in the same day, without having to set up individual appointments for all of them. Although I think I'm going to be sticking to massage and yoga for the time being, I'll definitely be trying Reflexology and Tai Chi again!


Maggie said...

This sounds so cool! I really want to do a retreat like this. I am always up for "centering" activities.

Not Another Omnivore said...

I'm really interested in reflexology and glad to hear that it worked for you!


Jenny said...

that sounds like such a cool opportunity to be able to try/learn about all those different things! I would love to do something like that!

I should have already been doing it but now that I'm working, I definitely need to follow you lead on the menu planning! Your meals sound so yummy!