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How 16 Moms Take It Down a Notch

I recently read an article that talked about the power of reading and how it's more relaxing than watching TV or (especially) playing games on devices. Reading forces you to engage in another world in a way that, apparently, truly relaxes you to your core.

After reading that (on an electronic device), I turned the TV off, put the iPad away and devoted myself to reading before bed each night.

You know what? It really works. So I told a bunch of moms about it and, incredibly, a bunch were like, "Nope." They had other ways of winding down.

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1. Melissa Amster, mother of three, and creator of the uber-popular blog, Chick Lit Central

"Reading is definitely helpful. I also get up before the kids do and exercise every morning, while reading at the same time. Watching my favorite shows after the kids go to bed helps me unwind, as well."

OK, Melissa is just making the rest of us look bad. (Note to self: exercise every morning instead of stress-eating Dunkin' Donuts chocolate chip muffins.)

2. Melissa Senate, mother of one 13-year-old, author of 13 novels (13 is now her lucky number!)

"I take my very slow-moving beagle on a long walk. As she stops and sniffs every blade of grass and rock, nose to the ground, I find myself happy to move slowly too, to breathe in the fresh air, stop and look around, notice what I would normally miss, such as a spectacular tree or a beautiful cat in a window. Makes me come back home refreshed in the midst of my 7th-grader's jumble of homework and projects."

3. Jess Shevitz Rauch, mom of 2, editor & writer at ThisIsHappening.co

"My way to relax is kinda a commercial for a favorite app of mine, Headspace. I meditate. This app forces me to meditate. I'll put it on my list of things to do. Buy Milk. Meditate. And when I do it early in the day all the better! You can set it up for 10-, 15- or 20-minute meditations and ahhhh! I've relaxed (and can check it off my to-do list!), and I am more calm and better for it the rest of the day."

4. Jennifer Ettinger, mother of two, lawyer and Rodan and Fields independent consultant

"My relaxation comes at 5:30 a.m. with a heaping dose of Cross Fit. I know it doesn't seem relaxing, but it clears my head of the prior day's distractions and allows me to reset and start the day fresh and new."

5. Cory Coleman, soon to be Cory Fogarty, mother of 16-month-old Zoe

"I relax with large quantities of caffeine, and I also try to read. Of course, it's mostly picture books, and of course there's always a glass of alcohol handy."

6. Brandi Megan Granett, homeschooling mother of one, writer and coach.

"Archery. It's like yoga for Type A people."

7. Stephanie Janowitz, mother of two

"Does watching exorbitant amounts of Bravo count?"

[Yes, my lovely sister-in-law, it most certainly does.]

8. Tammy Marino, mother of four, creator of the new blog, Madness and Merriment

"I have four kids—four exceptional, amazing, bright and RIDICULOUSLY NEEDY kids. So, I find the best (only?) way to truly relax is to go to the bathroom. Hubby must be home, so I know everyone is still mostly safe and cared for. And I then choose my moment—typically when it's time to clean the kitchen post-dinner—and I say, "I gotta use the bathroom." BOOM! 30 minutes of (sometimes) uninterrupted quiet solitude. The scenery isn't perfect, but it'll do. My family may or may not think I have a GI issue."

9. Jennie Eldredge-Bird, mother of two, Wine Appraiser & Small Business Owner

"‪How do I relax with a business to run, trying to write a novel and raising two autistic kids? Wine, definitely wine. Lately, I've been reading a lot as well as catching up on the 10,000 shows one must binge watch these days. Also, simply trying to enjoy the little things in life. Like multicolored macarons."

10. Linda Carvelli, stepmother to two kids, life coach and author

"I relax best snuggling with my puppy. I also love a 90-minute massage or an hour-long pedicure."

11. Robin Kaplan, mother of two teenagers

"I do like to relax by playing Candy Crush and Words With Friends, but I also like to read. I find the most relaxing thing for me to go to the beach. But, obviously, that doesn't always happen."

12. Lisa Barr, author of Fugitive Colors and editor of GIRLilla Warfare

"I have THREE teenage daughters—so definitely NOT retail therapy, believe me. Two things truly relax me: making a great coffee and walking my two dogs in a nearby prairie—heavenly. Wine (takes care of the whine!) whenever, wherever with a great book."

13. Alissa Camhi, mother of three

"Besides a quiet dinner out with my husband, I'd have to say an 80+-minute massage. That's my happy place! That is what really relaxes me, more so than reading, eating chocolate (although that's a close one, too) or shoe shopping. As long as the massage therapist is good."

14. Susan Harrison, mother of two, fitness and lifestyle blogger at SusanSweats

"For me, nothing beats an intense workout. When I am able to get my blood flowing and get those endorphins pumping, my mind is clear, and I am able to focus on anything. Relaxation is about being able to be present in the moment and blocking out any stresses in our lives. When I am working out, I am totally focused on the task at hand, and it really takes me to another place. I'm not thinking about the 10 other things I need to do that day. A good sweat session is great for not just the body, but also the mind."

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15. Leslie Strauss, mother of three, owner of LS Interiors

Relaxation for this mom of three daughters is a delicate balance of Tequila and Kundalini meditation.

But not everyone loves to relax ...

16. Jennifer Moss, mother of two, tax lawyer

I don't know how to relax. I don't like to relax. I don't even understand what it means. My mind is non-stop, and I need to be doing something at all times. When I'm on the beach "relaxing" without kids, I'm running through my to-do list at home and at work, and what I want to be accomplishing. A few years ago I had an epiphany—I don't enjoy relaxing! Productivity is my relaxation! I have embraced my insanity, and no longer stress about how I need to learn how to relax like everyone else. That self-awareness and acceptance has relaxed me.

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