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Weird relaxation rituals
Ten women, ten wacky ways to unwind and recharge
By Mary Moore

For most women, there is nothing strange or unusual about major stress – drowning in to-do’s has become a way of life. But sometimes the best strategies for countering stress are indeed strange, unusual and even downright kooky. Relieving stress is a creative process. There is no right or wrong when it comes to relaxation. You have to test out techniques that work with your schedule and lifestyle. In other words, whatever helps you unwind, do it! Here, 10 women offer up their screwball techniques for de-stressing in a pinch.

Paradise island

“When I’m feeling frazzled, I set up a mini beach in my house. I mix up a tropical drink, play some reggae music and kick back in a lounge chair. Thirty minutes on my private island calms me every time.”

— Jennifer Colbert

Bubble om

“I do what I call ‘bathtub yoga.’ I have a really big tub, so while I soak in essential oil-infused hot water for about an hour, I do easy stretches. The heat makes me that much more flexible, and afterward, I’m a happy puddle.”

— Sonja Case

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Word play

“I compete in online Scrabble tournaments. It’s a great way to settle myself down by getting away from it all. The thrill of beating a new player makes my worries melt away.”

— Christie Hiers

Puppy love

“I let my puppy lick my toes. You cannot possibly feel tense while a dog licks your feet. It’s like having a personal reflexology session after a hard day at the office.”

— Buffy Schneit

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Gone fishing

“I go fishing. I have to get my husband to bait the hook, because that part grosses me out. Still, I love sitting quietly out on the water waiting for a bite. No one can make demands of you while you’re in the middle of a lake alone -it’s as serene as meditating.”

— Lori Couthran

Hot wheels

“Anytime I need to relieve pressure, I just get into my car with my dogs and crank up the ‘80s music. Bon Jovi and Poison are some of our favorites. I roll down all the windows, and my pups stick their heads out while I sing at the top of my lungs. It’s like a getaway road trip for all of us.”

— Melissa Calvery

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Joy pluck

“When I’m feeling panicked about something going on in my life, I turn to my light-up mirror and trusty tweezers to take my mind off things. It’s not that I like to inflict pain on myself, but tweezing allows me to focus on the task at hand rather than fretting about paying my bills or finishing my homework.”

— Tara Donovan

Clean sweep

“I power-vacuum. I cover every inch of the house. I don’t know whether it’s the calming hum of the machine or the fact that I believe I’m actually getting something accomplished, but afterward I feel completely at ease.”

— Suzanne Soriano

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Virtual vacationing

“I plan luxury vacations online, even though I have no intention of taking them. That’s the fun part — you can pick the most extravagant hotels and activities and live in a little fantasy world, even if just for an hour. Afterward I feel as chilled out as if I actually went!”

— Monica Maynard

Doodle date

“I doodle with crayons. In fact, I keep Crayola boxes at my desk and around my house. Coloring makes you remember a time when things were simpler and not so demanding.”

— Carla Amerman

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