100 days to be happy: Catch up – My Top Ten ways to relax.

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting my happy reasons recently… well, doing this sort of kick-started my writing and I’ve managed to write two and a half chapters so far! So I’m really rather happy…


I thought today I’d catchup a bit by doing a sort of summary post… in the form of a Top Ten List:

My Top Ten ways to relax.

1) Breathe.
On of the things that happens when you are stressed is that you take shallow breaths, so the best thing you can do to relax is to take some deep breaths. Try my Breathing Exercise from my earlier post on Breathing.

2) Close Your Eyes.
Shut your eyes and you shut out the world. Yes, your hearing intensifies, but by shutting your eyes you put your body into that “pre sleep” state and it automatically relaxes. Just don’t keep them shut for too long or you might doze off…

3)  Listen to the Wind.
Find a quiet place and listen to the wind and everything it carries with it. Try naming the things you can hear. Don’t think about anything else.

4) Read a Print book.
There’s one thing that Print books have that e-books don’t. It usually occurs with older print books; that wonderful relaxing smell that reminds you of trips to the library as a kid…

“Scientists say that “old book smell” is more than just mustiness; it contains hints of grass and vanilla.  That’s because all the compounds used to make the book release distinctive odors as they break down. For example, lignin, which is present in all wood-based paper, is closely related to vanillin. As it breaks down, the lignin grants old books that faint vanilla scent.”
– Taken from ILAB website.


5) Listen to Japanese Music.
There is something ethereal about Japanese Music. Maybe it comes from the unfamiliar instruments they use or the inspiration of their beautiful islands, I don’t know, but listening to it can be very  relaxing.

Here’s a taster:


6) Go for a Walk.
Gentle exercise can be strangely relaxing. In fact there’s a type of meditation that relies on walking. You just focus on what your body is doing and forget about anything else. Sadly this doesn’t work if you have children with you…

7) Play.
This is fairly simple actually. Just let go of all those stifling adult inhibitions and play. It doesn’t matter what. Have a tickle fight with your partner, throw water balloons at each other on a hot day, play tag, find a playground and go on the swings, build a sandcastle on the beach… enjoy yourself. Who cares what it looks like.

8) Sex.
This tends to be something that falls by the wayside when you have kids. You’re tired all the time, they keep interrupting those loving moments with your partner and you can’t catch a break… so when you do manage it, it can be incredibly relaxing!

9) Stretch out those muscles.
I’m not talking about a full blown yoga session or a session down the gym (although those will work too), I’m talking about standing up from your chair and stretching. Just soft gentle stretches to the ceiling and floor, maybe some leg lunges to lengthen the calf muscles and ease the upper leg a little.
For some strange reason stretching the body out also relaxes it!

10) Get a decent amount of sleep.
I’m not just talking at night, although that helps. If you’ve been doing a lot of intense mental or physical work, or you’ve not had a good night’s sleep then having a nap can be incredibly refreshing.

Bonus Item:

You may notice that if you do #1,#2 & #5 all together,  you’ll probably end up doing #10 naturally. Do not fight this – if your body needs it, then it’s best to listen to it!

Music that chooses me…

I’m not sure why, but I wake up singing some mornings… recently I’ve been putting it down to Sprog trying to tell me something.

This morning it was Midnight Oil “Beds are Burning” and I had to physically check that the bed wasn’t on fire!

Yesterday it was Scissor Sisters “Return to Oz”:

Why sprog chose that one, I have no idea. He/she has an odd taste in music sometimes! Occasionally the music comes when I’m writing. Sometimes it fits what I am writing about and sometimes it’s completely opposite.

For example, when I wrote this part of “The Tower and The Eye” ‘s book 5 (no title to it yet!) –

“How many fronts are we going to watch, Lord?” The jar frowned at the windows, its eye swivelling around the grey stone. “We have the mobilisation in Galindren, the groups heading toward each of the known dungeons, the invasion from Elysia marching toward Jira, the elves lining the border of Franier and the progress on the dungeon in the Black Forest. Surely it would be better to just pick one.”

The Aracan Katuvana ignored it and snapped his fingers. A Gremlin appeared in front of him.

“The Lord requires the attention and presence of every high level demon currently in the tower. Bring them immediately.” The jar told it, voicing the Aracan’s thoughts.

The gremlin bowed, spun and disappeared.

“What do you wish me to do, my Lord?” the Lych Mistress’ sultry tones preceded her into the room.

The Aracan motioned her over, his eyes gleaming under his hood and settled her into his throne, standing beside her with one leather gloved hand on her shoulder.

The jar watched as the requested demons began to enter the room. Most of them looked rather nervous.

I had this song playing in my head –

It sort of fits the scene to start with, but after a while there’s a wedding and somehow I don’t think “Welcome to the Jungle” fits into a wedding, no matter how evil the characters getting married are!

I listen to all sorts of things when I’m writing or editing and recently, while rewriting a particularly violent and gruesome melee scene (no I didn’t tame the scene, I actually made it worse!) I had a sudden need to listen to this –

Perhaps it was a reaction to what I was writing, or maybe my brain’s attempt to calm me down, but I couldn’t write a word more until I had listened to it… and that started me off down the movie song route.
Once you start down that road, you never know what you’re going to listen to next. I went through Labyrinth – David Bowie “Magic Dance”, Secret to my Success – Yello “Oh Yeah”, Tomb Raider – U2 “Elevation” and Wall-E – Peter Gabriel “Down to Earth” before I got stuck on this:

And that was it – I was stuck in Rock/Metal mode for the rest of the day!

Goddess knows what sort of music this baby is going to like when it’s born…