This has been an overwhelmingly stressful week for me. In a cataclysmic twist of fate I have had the busiest weeks at work, school, and life in general all come together at the same time, and I just keep telling myself that if I can just make it through next Friday, I might just actually survive my life.
Coincidentally, we also had a massage therapist come into my work today who was offering to do a 20 minute chair massage for 15$, so I thought that was fate telling me I needed a massage.
Now I am a big fan of massage, but the funny thing is, it always seems to cause me more pain than relief. I know the point is to work out the kinks so that you end up feeling better, but I tend to store my stress in my back and shoulders and the knots that result are very nasty indeed.
This usually means that I spend the entire duration of the massage holding my breath and cringing in pain. In fact it is so painful, it always strikes me as odd. I have in general a pretty high pain threshold, and even tend to laugh when I really hurt myself. That is not the case with massage. I’m not even one of those crazy people that tells their masseuse to “really get in there deep” or anything.
But even when I just specify medium pressure, I spend almost the whole time literally biting my tongue to keep from crying out in pain. And then the next day I can’t lean back in my chair because everything is so sore.
The type of massage tends to make a difference for me though, so when I actually splurge on a real massage at a spa (my favorite in town is Spa Toscana at the Peppermill), I tend to go with a Hot Stone massage.
Hot Stone seems to be the best for really helping me to relax, but unfortunately, good hot stone massages don’t come cheap. So I’ve found that the next best thing is actually just to get out and run.
While running I’m able to focus all of my thoughts into the task of actually running and thereby get my mind off of what has been really worrying me. I also find I’m able to more easily think through issues when I’m running. It’s almost as if I reach some sort of Zen state where all of the background noise of everyday life gets filtered out and only the good ideas remain.
The best part is the endorphin rush or “runner’s high” and the sense of accomplishment you get when you’re done. As terrible as my run might be, I’m always glad I went out and did it.
So that’s my best tip for cheap relaxation, what are yours? Please comment below, I’d love new ideas to try.