Taking a little time to relax each day can help us manage and relieve the stress of busy modern lives. Some stress is a natural part of life. We all cope with it in different ways. Feeling excessively stressed, long term can impact on your wellbeing. So it is important to learn to reduce or manage stress.
Here are some simple tools and relaxation tips which may help your overall wellbeing:
- Try practicing relaxation exercises to help you manage & relieve stress
- Get eight hours of sleep at night, as often as you can. Sleep is, after all, very relaxing!
- Do some vigorous exercise, even if it is just 10 minutes, run, skip, walk, even cleaning the house counts!1
- When was the last time you had a massage?
- Unwind with a bath in the evening
- Read a calming book before you go to bed
- Stand up and stretch for 30 seconds
- Turn the radio/TV off and enjoy 10 minutes of silence
- Take a stroll around the nearest park or gardens
- Read the weekend paper from cover to cover.
Remember relaxing should be an enjoyable and easy part of your day to help you have a balanced mind and body.
1. Relaxation Imagery
Using imagery to relax is something you can do almost anywhere and it only takes a moment.
To relax with imagery, imagine a warm, comfortable, safe and pleasant place, and enjoy it in your imagination. Your body reacts to these imagined scenes almost as if they were real.2 You can bring all your senses into the image with, for example, sounds of running water or birds, the smell of cut grass, the taste of freshly squeezed oranges, the warmth of the sun.
2. Progressive Muscular Relaxation
This is a useful relaxation tip to relax your body when your muscles are tense:
- Tense a group of muscles as tightly as you can
- Hold them in a state of extreme tension for a few seconds
- Then, relax the muscles to their previous state
- Finally, consciously relax the muscles even further so that you are as relaxed as possible.
Experiment by forming a fist, and clenching your hand as tight as you can for a few seconds. Then relax your hand to its previous tension, and then consciously relax it again so that it is as loose as possible. You should feel deep relaxation in your hand muscles.
3. Deep breathing
This is something that you can do for yourself by following these steps:
- Sit quietly and comfortably
- Close your eyes
- Start by relaxing the muscles of your feet and work up your body relaxing muscles
- Focus your attention on your breathing
- Breathe in deeply and then let your breath out
- Count your breaths, and say the number of the breath as you let it out (this helps to distract your mind).