Mastery Your Art of Relaxation

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Is time moving fast or is it me? It’s already November and we are about to hit the holiday season. We are reminded every time we go into a Target or Walmart that Christmas is just around the corner. I think the retail world would prefer to skip Halloween and my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, and go right to Christmas: the time of year when people spend way too much. And of course, by the end of the holiday, we all are extremely tired. How can we be prepared for the holiday?

I think we need to shift our thinking. Instead of getting rest and taking a vacation after the holiday, I try to get rested before the holiday.

Here are some things that I do to help me relax.

Massage– I’ve never met a person who does not like a good massage. The trick to a good massage is finding a good place with a good masseuse/masseur. If you are in CA, I highly recommend at day at Burke Williams ( Their facilities are very nice and you get to enjoy all the spa amenities before and after your treatment.


We live in a world of smart phones and apps and there is no way to get around it. I realized that once the massage is over, I have to get dressed, get in my car, deal with traffic and most likely lose that Zen feeling. If you’re like me and want to avoid losing that great feeling after a massage because of a stressful commute home, I’ve found a solution for you: SOOTHE ( It’s an app that you can download on your phone and the masseuse/masseur comes to your house, so you don’t have to lose that Zen feeling once the massage is over. I’ve used them in LA and Atlanta and their massages start at $109 for a 60-minute massage. You will never leave your house again for a massage.

Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation Experience– This is a very focused mediation experience led by Oprah and Deepak Chopra, that is completely free of charge. I did my first one in 2013 as a beginner and I can’t stop. They always seem to come at the right time in my life when I need to slow down and relax.  Even if you’re a beginner at mediation, you can do this. You can do the mediation exercises anytime of the day but I prefer to do mine in the morning so I can start my day centered and relaxed.  For more information, check out

The Calmness of Water– One of my favorite things to do is to sit, pray, mediate or read by water. There is something very calming about looking and listening to water. No matter if I am at the beach with hundreds of people or sitting by a small river or lake, I am calm when I can hear the water. All of my worries feel like they are being washed away with every current or wave. Being STILL by the water is a perfect way to spend the day.

Shawn Branch Relax 3


A Walk in the Park– I love being outside. I love sitting on a park bench looking at flowers, blue sky and the leaves changing colors. One of the first things I did when I moved to Atlanta was to visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden ( on a Saturday afternoon. I walked around the garden admiring all the beautiful flowers and trees, plants while taking a few hours of my day to commune with nature. Before I knew it, hours had passed and I was lost in my thoughts on a sunny afternoon. I felt so relaxed and so far removed from all the people around me.

Shawn Branch Relax 8

Disconnect from the World- I know this is very hard to do because we are so attached to our cell phones but we must disconnect from phones and social media periodically. When I first joined Facebook, it was full of friends and family posting joyous photos and sharing stories of special moments with loved ones. Now I feel there is so much negativity on social media that you can easily find yourself playing an active role in spreading that negativity. So don’t feel bad when you need to log off social media for a day, week or month or put your phone away for a few hours to enjoy some alone time with yourself. The more you disconnect from the world, the easier it will be to do it and you will feel much better.

So before you start all the holiday cooking and shopping, make sure to carve out some time for yourself to get relaxed, re-energized and rejuvenated so you can really enjoy the holiday times and all the fun, food and fellowship that comes with it. You owe it to yourself!