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Breathe, it's summer!

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Don’t forget to breathe!
August 17, 2017
Although September is right at our doorsteps (sorry), summer isn’t really over. We still have a whole month to enjoy the sun. You’re already breathing easier, aren’t you?Breathing is more than just taking in oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide. Figuratively, it means taking time to live, rest, and clear our minds.Taking a deep breath as often as possible may be the simplest way to improve our wellness! Just for fun, I searched “breathe better” and Google returned 174 000 000 results. The tips and tricks to breathe better are at your fingertips, and I suggest you check them out, because even though it’s the very first thing we do after we’re born, we often forget how to do it properly.Here is what I do when I want to take a mental breather:1- Go find water Ah, how great being out on the water is for my mental health: the silence, the peace, and the beauty of the great outdoors all make me feel great. Whether I’m paddle boarding, canoeing or kayaking, paddling around on the water and appreciating the stunning surroundings is a great way for me to escape the bustle of daily life. When I’m breathing to the rhythm of my paddles hitting the water, life is good. If you live in the Outaouais region and want to try your hand at paddle boarding, I recommend checking out Paddlefit in Old Chelsea. They do day rentals! Give them a call.2- Organize, toss, donateA gloomy afternoon is perfect for freeing up some living space. I like to do a clean sweep of my wardrobe and toss anything that doesn’t suit me anymore. You can also do the same thing with children’s toys. I also organize my paperwork and emails, delete old digital files, throw out lids that have no matching plastic containers, and more. It feels completely liberating. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like possessions are suffocating me-- so I make space. I pass things on to make someone else happy. I breathe easier.There are many organizations that collect clothing and household items to give to folks in need. Have you considered donating to Grands frères et grandes soeurs de l’Outaouais?3- SingOn weekends, we invite our friends over to jam. It’s my way of releasing the stress built up over the week. I’ve always enjoyed singing, either alone or with others, and it really helps me feel better. The movements of the body while singing have actually been proven to stimulate the production of endorphins, the happiness hormone. Singing is therefore a great way to generate happiness and positive energy. It’s a free and natural antidepressant with no side effects! So sing, it’s good for your health! And singing behind the wheel is safer than texting.4- LaughI love to laugh and make others laugh. Who doesn’t? Puns, self-deprecating jokes, defusing a situation with humour, watching a comedy show—these are all essential in my books. Do you remember that feeling of utter relaxation you felt the last time you laughed until you cried? It’s euphoric! It seems that children laugh spontaneously more than 300 times per day, while adults laugh no more than 20 times per day. That’s a shame, because studies have shown that laughing is great for your health and is a genuine and natural way to de-stress. What makes you laugh? Taking life a little less seriously makes it easier to breathe, doesn’t it? By the way, Réal Béland is in the Outaouais region all summer at the Cégep. Seize this opportunity for a good laugh!5- Go out aloneBreathing also means getting away from life, cutting loose from the crowd, and giving yourself a little space. Although I’m a social person, sometimes I need some time to myself. To get in touch with myself and take a deep breath, I schedule some me time. I like to take solo trips to the spa and soak up the peaceful atmosphere, giving in completely to the relaxation. I enjoy the hot tubs at my own pace, relax in the rest areas as much as I want, read a book, take a nap and get a massage. It’s the full treatment! I take a good deep breath of air at the spa, helping me restore some zen to my routine. Would you ever go to the spa by yourself? I highly recommend it!This is how I like to take a step back and breathe. Take a moment to pause and think about what you do to relax. Add your favourite relaxation activities to your week, because we all need room to breathe from time to time.Inhale, exhale, repeat.Anne-Marie Charron, wellness blogger
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