I went to the doctor today. I’ve been having headaches for the past 10 days (Yes, I think I’ve been having these headaches for about 10 days…sometimes I forget…wish I could remember to write down each day I have a headache so when I go to the doctor and she asks me ‘how long have you felt this way?’ or ‘how long have you had this rash or condition?’ I could tell her the actual amount of time.)

“How does it feel when you have the headache?” asked the doctor. “Does it feel like you have tightness around your head?”

“Yes, yes, that is exactly how it feels,” I said…I was so glad she described how I was feeling. I wasn’t sure how to describe what I was feeling…so glad the doctor hit it head on.

“You have tension headaches,” said the doctor, “you need to learn how to relax…maybe go to yoga.”

“I do yoga…I love yoga,” I responded…only as I thought more and more about the last time I went to yoga I couldn’t remember…it had to be about eight days ago…yes, I think it was when I raced to get to the class last Sunday morning at 9:15 am (yes, I said 9:15 am…how did I ever get there at that early hour on a Sunday morning no less)…that was my last yoga class. Shame on me…no wonder I am so tense.

I’m trying hard to learn to relax…but my Type A Body just doesn’t know how. I bought relaxation music at Target. (The CDs are so nice to listen to. Sometimes I listen to the music when I am driving home from work. However, what is not relaxing is trying to figure out how to find the time to read my ‘iPod for Dummies’ crib notes on how to transfer the relaxation music to my iPod. That gives me tension. And then I get even more tension because I really want to learn how to use my new iPod Touch. If I could work my iPod Touch and transfer my relaxation music to my new iPod Touch…then maybe I could relax more. And I could relax even further if I bought an iPod Home, then my relaxation music could relax my entire room.)

Let me see…let me see how the dictionary defines the word ‘relax’:

re·lax [ ri láks ]

1. Spend time at ease: to spend time resting or doing things for pleasure, especially in contrast to or as a relief from the effort and stress of everyday life. (I like this meaning. I can learn to rest and do things for pleasure…I can do this. In fact, this weekend I tried to spend time resting. I decided I was going to start to read Twilight. Only, being the Type A person that I am I decided I was going to try to read the entire book. I want to finish this book by Thursday evening so I can go with my daughter and my niece and my sister-in-law to see the movie. If I see the movie before I finish the book then I won’t want to finish the book. There goes the relaxation…I have a lot of reading to do!)

Are there any other definitions…hmmm…hmmm?

2. make or become looser: to slacken something that is tensed or tight such as a muscle or a grip on something, or become looser, less tense, or less tight (I like this meaning. I can learn to loosen my body. Massage is great for this and I have a great massage therapist. Wow, I really like this definition. My body is always less tense and less tight after a massage. Maybe I should also get a massage chair…and one of those machines that massages my feet…and one for my neck…I saw a bunch of massage items in the Bed, Bath and Beyond catalog…only that store is too stressful…it’s too big…too many aisles and I can never find anything.)

3. make or become less strict: to make something such as a rule less strict or less severe, or become less strict (I need to listen to this definition and ease up on my rules…if I don’t read my daily newspaper or do my weekly laundry on Sunday…it’s okay…yes, it’s okay to change my rules…I’m 50…it is time to make some new rules.)

4. make or become less tense: to become less anxious, hostile, defensive, or formal, or make somebody or something so (Ooh,ooh, this is a biggie…this is a hot button…that’s me…I’m anxious about Thanksgiving…and I was anxious when I got to IKEA yesterday with my daughter as we were shopping for furniture for her new apartment…that store is so big…just like Bed, Bath, and Beyond…I like little stores where you can find things…not BIG stores that make me anxious…I did calm down a bit and relax at IKEA yesterday…especially after the salesperson helped us find the items we were looking for…and I did find some cool furniture that I am eventually going to buy when I learn how to relax more and have more time to set up my home office…after I truly become an empty nester.)

5. make or become less intense: to become less intense and concentrated, or make something less intense and concentrated (I admit it…I admit it…I am an intense person…and I do it to myself. Okay, I’m only going to read as much of Twilight as I can this week and I’m going to see the movie on Thursday night…even if I don’t finish the book…and then I’m going to read another book on my retirement reading list…even though I’m not retired. Wow, wow, wow…the intensity is flowing out of me as I write…I’m going to make myself less intense…I’m going to relax!)

6. straighten hair: to weaken or remove the curl from hair, usually by chemical means (So…soooo…this is it…this is the final definition of relax. I knew it. No wonder I can’t relax. I had curly hair when I was a toddler…I think I was born with curly hair…and now my hair is wavy. Do I have to straighten my hair so I can truly relax??? I have short hair. How am I going to straighten my short hair? I did see that Ulta has a teeny-tiny straightener for sale. I really did want to buy that teeny-tiny straightener when I saw it because I thought it was so cute. Well, if that teeny-tiny hair straightener can help me relax…then I think I’ll definitely have to go buy it…and try it.)

I’m so glad I now know the true meaning of relaxation. I just have to do a better job of bringing all six of these meanings into my life. Yes, I’m going to take the night off. I think I’ll sip a relaxing bowl of chicken soup for dinner…go to yoga…then come home and slowly…slowly read a few more pages of Twilight…while I sip a relaxing cup of Chamomile tea…and hopefully get rid of my tension headache.