The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 4 (July 1, 1935.)
Our Women'Section — Timely Notes and Useful Hints
Relaxation To The Rescue.
This is not to be a diatribe on how to sleep o' nights, on night-caps and exercise, cheese - suppers and mattresses, snoring and sedatives. To relax at night, of course, is tremendously important, especially to our friends, who hate the reiteration of “I haven&t had a good night's sleep for weeks,” or “I heard three o'clock strike before I slept”; important even to ourselves, as it is necessary for us to live through the intervening fourteen hours or so e'er our head hits the pillow again.
But my topic is daytime relaxation, physical and mental. The physical and mental, as ever, is allied. There is no need to expend a paragraph of explanation on when it is necessary to relax. We all know that when we are bounding with enthusiasm, oozing with “joie de vivre,” metaphorically clapping the world on the back and seeing ourselves as an important figure on our little stage, there is no need to relax. Go slow a little, perhaps, save a little steam for later on, carry our mood with us as far as possible, but relax—no!
Heigh-ho, alas and lack - a - day! There are other times, of too frequent occurrence when various aspects of life, as it affects us, have drained away our enthusiasm, drowned our contentment and done all sorts of mixed things with our psychology.
Perhaps our previous enthusiasm has carried us too far, exhausted our enthusiasm for the time being. Let us recognize what has happened and decide to set apart our next bit of leisure for recuperative purposes. Relaxation does not necessarily mean lazing in a chair-and letting the world go by. It need not even mean an “eight o'clock to bed” night. Each of us has some pet form of relaxation for those occasions when we do not require absolute rest. I know a man who can rise like a giant refreshed from a feast of gramophone music, another, a mechanic, who sighs with sheer content when he snatches a free evening to recuperate with the aid of a solid tome on the economic crisis. We have all met the tired business-man who eases his aching brain by an application of detective yarns, the crossword puzzle expert, the tatter, the wood-worker, the gardener, the knitter, the chess-player, even the draughts addict.
When life seems simply rotten and we feel like putting a thousand miles between us and our job, and two thousand between us and our friends and relations; when we sigh for a new existence as a panacea for our own bleak thoughts—then is the time to push all our worries out of our brain, and to apply the simple remedy of a little relaxation of our own choosing. After a short time we will find ourselves fit to live with again.
To me, “spaciousness” and “graciousness” are practically synonymous. Both give a sensation of soothing, mixed with a little awe. Each has so many aspects. Even if we push back a little the four walls of our home, we gain a little.
Economic circumstances force most of us to live in houses far different from what we would plan for ourselves. Many have rooms far smaller than we would like. But even the small house, by careful planning, may be given a gracious aspect.
A small floor-space means that body-carpet is not outside the scope of a moderate income—and in a small house broken spaces must be avoided. The hallway, then, and the principal rooms should be carpeted all over in some unobtrusive design—or preferably no design at all. It is a recognised thing, nowadays, that the walls of a small room must not draw attention to themselves. They, too, must be plainly dressed. Upholstery follows suit.
Furniture is being built now on a scale suitable for small houses. Have nothing unwieldy in your home. A baronial buffet or an oppressive chesterfield may ruin the whole effect. Furniture pieces must be reduced to the minimum necessary for comfort. Endeavour to arrange furniture so that there is an uninterrupted view from the doorway.
The focal point in a small room must be the window. Do not obscure the view by heavy hangings. If privacy is necessary, semi-transparent net curtaining will ensure it, but detract hardly at all from the outlook. Heavy side-curtains should not overlap the window-space.
The touch of colour necessary is introduced in curtains and cushions—and remember that the small room prefers one colour stress, or two at the most.
The dictionary definition of the word “hobby” is a favourite pastime. It is desirable that every person should have a hobby in addition to the ordinary work or duty. It really does not matter what the hobby is so long as it is interesting and helps to broaden the mental outlook.
There are many worthwhile hobbies for the woman who wishes to make the most of her spare time. Sewing knitting, cards, music and painting, out-of-door sports, gardening, etc., are all fascinating adjuncts to the more prosaic side of life. Many women—and men, too—often at first look on their work in connection with social welfare as merely a hobby, but after a while their absorption in it has become so much a part of them that it almost supersedes their other interests. Some folk have an idea that a hobby is essentially an enjoyment just to the person concerned, but when we look into the question, it is surprising how