Some say the only time we take a deep breath is right when we are born -- after that, life and its stresses take over and we never breathe that deeply again.
So points out certified massage therapist Michelle Pena, who had some advice for how to celebrate National Relaxation Day, which is today, Aug. 15.
Pena, the owner of Healthy Necessity Massage on Main Street in Pleasanton, says a massage would be a great way to celebrate National Relaxation Day, adding that her business customizes its treatments and tries to keep prices reasonable. But, she points out, there are also other ways for people to relax.
"We recommend, even if they don't come out for a massage treatment or go to a big day spa, just taking five to 10 minutes out of their day and putting all things aside (computers, phones, games, etc.) and sitting in a quiet room maybe with some relaxation music and taking a deep breath and gathering their thoughts for the day," Pena said in an email.
Pleasanton folks recognize the benefits of massages and are good customers, said Terry Dillenburg, owner of Massage Envy on Hopyard, which has signed up 2,000 members after opening 3 1/2 years ago.
"People come looking for a deep tissue massage often because of their hectic, harried lives," Dillenburg said, noting that other types of massage can be just as relaxing. "When someone comes in, we customize the session to them. We ask, 'What brings you in today?'"
Yoga also focuses on deep breathing: National Relaxation Day may be the time to check out local yoga offerings if you have been meaning to do so.
People inquiring about yoga classes often mention stress, said Kate Coughlin, owner of Downtown Yoga on Main Street and Division, and yoga will help. She explained that even yoga done in a group and with a teacher is quality time with yourself.
Although holidays are fun, often they are not relaxing since they mean activities such as entertaining, cooking, giving presents or much more. But Relaxation Day calls for non-activity, which could prove challenging for some.
Most people have their own way of relaxing -- perhaps watching TV, reading, listening to music, taking a long, relaxed bath, or simply sitting or sleeping. Going out to a movie or on a shopping spree can be relaxing for other folks, or spending a day outdoors. It might be nice tomorrow to do whatever relaxes you and not look at the clock.
Massage therapist Pena encourages people to de-stress often, going to a quiet place and breathing deeply. She notes that it is not just good mentally but physically.
"We need to do this more regularly so our minds, bodies and souls can re-energize with the oxygen we need," she said.
While it may be true that these "days" are mainly promoted by retailers, some are fun to observe -- for instance, National Donut Day is the first Friday in June. And who can dispute the benefits of relaxing?