July 22, 2024
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July 22, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Relaxation is a very important part of life. Wait, do you know what relaxation means? The simple definition is “the state of being free from tension and anxiety.” Synonyms are calm, tranquility, peacefulness and loosening up or unwinding. Wait, I have to stop laughing. Okay, I can continue now.

We all have so many different types of stressors that revolve around our everyday existence, it’s hard to remember to breathe sometimes. Whether it’s elderly parents or fighting children, whether it’s a baby who never sleeps or a spouse who snores too much and doesn’t let you sleep. Work stress, people-in-general stress. The “I go on WebMD too much” stress. The old “I have nothing to wear” stress, which is probably a result of “I ate too much because I am stressed” stress. “Why do I have to help my kids with their homework when I have a graduate degree” stress. “Why did no one clean up the water all over the floor and now I am flat on my back because I slipped on it” stress. It is never ending. We all go through real-life stress and anxiety and sometimes handle that better than we do the stupidity in our lives. Why is that? I don’t know, I only have a master’s in social work. Could you imagine if I was a psychiatrist? Scary, but let’s continue.

It is so important to take some “me time” every day. I am sure there are some cynical husbands/wives reading this, thinking, “well, part of my stress is that my spouse is always taking ‘me’ time.” And perhaps that is why you are the spouse that is stressed! Like to shop but don’t have a lot of time or money? Just take a relaxing walk around the mall, unless all of the things you cannot have will stress you out. Then, I suggest you just take a walk around the block and enjoy the fall air. Enjoy gardening? Do some planting in the back yard—very relaxing, a great stress reliever and good for the environment. But then you might think of the environment and the greenhouse effect and how in a few years we will all be living in the ocean. Okay, scratch the gardening.

Are you a handyman or handywoman? Pick a project—build a bench or a treehouse. Of course, the wood is made from trees and we are killing all the trees and soon the birds won’t have any place to live and then we will be stressed about that. Okay, don’t build anything. And using a hammer and nails can have a tendency to end badly… usually because you want to hammer some nails into someone’s head. We will save that for another time.

So what can we do to really relax that only takes a little time out of our day… hmmm…? If you can take a vacation that involves a beach or gorgeous views of the mountains, I am all for that. Just don’t post any pictures of your feet on facebook. Toes creep me out—but definitely post pictures of the relaxing views. If you cannot take a vacation because of all the reasons that can cause you great stress, I think you should get in touch with Paint With Me. Paint With Me is run by New Milford resident Nikki Sausen who, by profession and education, is an art therapist. She runs this incredible business where everyone who takes her class brings home a masterpiece on a canvas that you can even hang on your wall!

For about an hour and a half, you are given gentle step-by-step instruction, all of your paint colors and brushes are right in front of you, and Nikki speaks to you in soothing, relaxing tones. Even when you are painting upside down, she corrects you in a way that makes you feel that upside down is okay. “Speak to me,” she says, and then you can say, “How come my tree doesn’t look like a tree?” And that is okay. Because when all is said and done, she takes you away from the stress and anxiety in your life and takes you into a world of color and hope. And that is what everyone needs now and then—a little bit of hope. Oh, and the escape from reality never hurts either….

Banji Ganchrow has not been paid or threatened by Paint With Me to write this column. She just wants her readers to experience the joy and relaxation of painting because that is the selfless type of gal she is.

By Banji Latkin-Ganchrow

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