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All articles here are written by Melinda Briana Epler (that's me!) unless otherwise noted. I'm a documentary filmmaker, writer, and brand experience designer - I've dedicated my life to living a sustainable lifestyle and helping others do the same. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or thoughts for articles. Welcome!

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What Is Your Favorite Ecologically-Sound Way To Relax?

Seattle's Puget Sound


Last week several of us said that moving away from hot baths, long showers, and hot tubbing was one of the most difficult things to change on this path toward living a sustainable life. Most of the reasons were that it helps us relax, and it’s where we do a lot of thinking.


Now this is not about depriving yourself. It’s just about re-focusing your energies. Maybe there’s something else you can do that will give you the same satisfaction (or even better!). What else can you do that you love, but that doesn’t cost money or the environment? What do you do that is wonderfully guilt free?!


Here Are A Few Things That Help Me Relax And Think:


  1. Reading on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book.

  2. Going for walks in my neighborhood, where I get to see people around me, squirrels running up trees, new neighbors moving in or out, life! It also gets blood pumping through my brain and calories burning through my body.

  3. Meeting with a friend who understands me and can spark wonderful new thoughts and ideas.

  4. Doing something good within my community, that makes me tired but full of life.

  5. Getting a good night’s sleep. I know it sounds silly, but it makes a huge difference in how relaxed and thoughtful I am the next day!


Help Our Friends!


Please tell us all what you do, how you relax and find the space to think!


Because we’re all in this together, and that is much more powerful than trying to do it alone.


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29 comments to What Is Your Favorite Ecologically-Sound Way To Relax?

  • Lyn

    Praying. Not necessarily about anything, just spending time with God. Totally renewing.

  • Rob

    Drinking a cup of hot coffee, laying on the couch with my dog and ablanket relaxes me!

  • A few of mine are

    Gardening
    when I can get my hands in the dirt and my head in the clouds my world is gooooood.

    Spending do nothing time with my DH
    Hugging, chatting and just getting to enjoy the special and unique person I have the privilege to spend my life with

    Cooking
    The quite meditation of a well known recipe and the smile that will receive it

    Kind Regards
    Belinda

  • I enjoy going out into the garden and putting together a beauitful, eclectic bunch of whatever is growing well, flowers, herbie things, leafy greens, seed heads, anything that looks interesting really. It is very relaxing and I feel creative and rich when I look the finished arrangement.
    Knitting is also something I associate with relaxing, maybe that’s because I mostly knit when we are on holidays and already relaxing!
    Cheers
    Julie

  • N.

    I like knitting or quilting to relax or I’ll take a walk around my neighborhood.

  • mea culpa on the hot tub, but the taste and satisfaction from tea with herbs you grew yourself, and a great book is par excellance.

    And during the summer, just wandering around the garden, smelling the aromatics, turning over a few leaves, picking a bug or two. In fact thats pretty much my afternoon ritual when I come home from work. Nobody wants to talk to me until I’ve had a few minutes outside to “decompress”

    Thankfully the most stressful time at work, the june/july transition, is also when the flowers are really taking off in our yard.

  • Getting enough sleep is critical for me, so I don’t think that it’s silly at all! I agree with the other thing on you list and would add knitting and gardening too.

    December was a bad month bath-wise (I’d cut back a lot). For some reason it’s easier for me to take a bath in an unheated cold bathroom than it is to take a shower.

    Since I usually take hot baths when my muscles are sore and I don’t feel well, the closest substitution for a bath has been yoga. Also making a steam tent by putting boiling water in the sink and then draping a towel over my head if it’s the steam I’m looking for. I’m really just going for moderation, one bath a month/no adding more hot water after the first fill. I’ve given up on my dream of a claw foot bathtub… at least for indoors. :)

  • yoga yoga and yoga… cooking for my family also. :)

  • Salsa dancing! There are a couple of free dances every month and they are usually less than 5 miles away from my house. I go and drink water and dance for a few hours and feel totally re-energized.

    A close second is gardening in the warm sunshine with as little clothing as I can legally get away with. (Not that I do that everytime I garden, I do understand cancer, but sometimes I just need it.) :-D

  • Hot tea (with herbs from my garden), a mystery novel, and (this time of year) a load of cozy blankets!

  • Knitting centers me in a way I never thought possible, and I’m hoping to incorporate more yoga and meditation into my days.

  • – Cooking when I have time to relax and make something fun/new/special

    – Curling up with a book and some tea

    – Folkdance

    – Reading books out loud

    – Spinning (yarn or around in circles)

    – Hugs

  • Jean

    Lighting candles (soy or beeswax), meditation and a cup of herbal tea.

  • Oh definitely sitting with a cup of coffee and the cat curled up on the sofa! His contented purring can totally put me to sleep!

    Luckily he’s a bit ferrel so we don’t see him for days at a time, or I’d never get anything done!

  • Going for a great walk.

    Curling up in bed with a good book and a bowl of popcorn (air popped! organic!).

    Doing the wacky things my daughter gets me doing, like last night’s hula-hooping session or her recent pushes to jump rope and ice skate.

    Drinking beer with my husband and just hanging out.

    My knitting group.

    Spinning (yarn, not in circles, unless I am hula hooping).

  • Great question. Going to the farmers’ market is rejuvenating for me. I love napping on the weekends and simply spending time at home watching the way the light moves through the house and being quiet for awhile. That’s the best. There are a few NPR radio programs I find entertaining and catch as often as possible, This American Life, Selected Shorts and Living on Earth. They’re great company in the kitchen. And we’ve started playing cards which has been cause for much laughter.

  • livesimplylovestrongly

    Laying in a hammock and enjoying the fresh breeze

  • That photo at the top of your post makes me relax. Getting outside, in nature, is the best stress reliever for me. In summer, I can spend hours out in the garden and not even notice the time passing, until it’s too dark to see. I also love to hike. But some of my hikes are quite strenuous – 10 miles with a couple thousand feet elevation gain. Afterwards, that’s when the hot tub beckons. I like the suggestions to take up yoga – it would be a more eco-friendly way to take care of sore muscles. And I do feel so guilty about the hot tub that I’ve been seriously researching solar panels and wind turbines for all our electrical needs – maybe I can have my cake and eat it too?

  • Sleep, excercise, and I am totally with you on the reading a book with a cup of tea thing!

  • Wow. I forgot to add #6: Reading your words about relaxing. My day is full of renewed strength, thanks to you all. I hope you’re enjoying this, too.

  • Books, walks, and bikerides are all favorites of mine.

  • Yoga. In a cozy house with a cup of hot tea waiting for me in the winter. In a warm, sunny backyard with the grass between my toes and three children trying to copy my moves in the summer. I’m fantasizing about my summer scenario right now as the wind and snow are howling outside my window. Ohmmm….

  • Reading. Plus, the most relaxing thing for me is the feeling that I don’t have anywhere to be and anyone to see. That doesn’t happen often but it is great when it does.

  • well, I am wound pretty tight but I got into traditional west african drumming 3 years ago and Im serious! There is nothing like it. Its very healing and… to drum is to meditate…
    So that, and yoga, sleep, calming simple food and good sincere free flowing loving conversation…

  • Sitting out front watching the mountain (half the year). Reading (the cold half).

    Exploring the nearby reservoir in my little kayak (six miles of shoreline).

  • LittleCityFarms

    Sitting in the backyard and watching my chickens chase flying bugs and hunt down worms. I can’t help but smile (and usually giggle) watching them enjoy life. In the summer, the sweetest one will even perch on my lap in the hammock and take a nap. That is heaven. If it’s too wet/cold for that, the next best thing is crafting a souffle with their eggs and savoring every bite :)

  • As I’m sitting down to write with a cup of tea by my side, I realize I forgot to include this as one of the most important things I do to relax and work out my thoughts. Writing. Tea. Helping others. I love these things.

  • In the summertime, I like to sit in the backyard during twilight, listening to the last of the birds singing (and catching them take a dip in the birdbath), listening to the last of the bees humming in the flowers, and watching the lightning bugs.

    Any time that I can, I like to take a walk in the woods, or take a bike ride. When the snow is good, cross country skiing is great. And for a gray, raw day, I like to read or pore over magazines and drink a coffee, hot chocolate or tea, with candles in the background.

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