In this article, I will cover a selection of relaxation techniques, why relaxation is important, and offer some tips for prioritizing self-care for busy people or parents.
De-stressing and Relaxation Techniques
- Colour breathing: Visualise breathing in the colour BLUE (for calmness and relaxation) and visualise breathing out the colour RED for anger, angst, frustration and other negative emotions.
- Slowly count backwards from 5 to 1. Start over every time you teach one. Remember, slow, measured breathing is important. If you count slowly, you’ll be able to breathe at a better pace. Repeat this until you feel your mind is actually relaxing.
- Things like a relaxing bath, reading a book or just chilling in nature are always good ways to relax.
- Even a 10 minute meditation session can do wonders for the mind.
- Nothing like relaxing with a hypnotherapy session. 10 minutes of deep relaxation with hypnosis is equal to 2 hours sleep! You will never catch up on lost sleep, but you’ll feel amazing for that deep relaxation as we never really allow ourselves to relax THAT deeply.
- Just smelling aromatherapy scents can help calm your mind. Some relaxing scents are basil, sandalwood, rose, lavender, juniper, cinnamon and geranium.
- Most people will think the word exercise is so not relaxing, but some exercises like yoga, pilates or stretching can actually really relax both the mind and the body.
- Adult drawing can be really relaxing, or just being creative – finding that one things that interests you. This could be drawing, painting, gardening, knitting and so much more.
- 4-7-8 Breathing technique. It probably takes longer to read, but once you know how, this little exercise takes less than 1 minute and does wonders for your mind.
- Put the tip of your tongue on your gums just behind your front teeth.
- Inhale through your nose for the count of 4.
- Hold your breathe for the count of 7
- Open your mouth and exhale through your mouth making a swooshing sound – for the count of 8.
- Repeat 4-5 times
- Quick Muscle Relaxation:
- Sit in a chair
- Close your eyes and concentrate on breathing slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Make a fist, squeezing your hand tightly
- Hold this for a few seconds, noticing the tension
- Slowly open your fingers and feel the difference and notice the tension leaving.
- Repeat this with other parts of your body – calves, biceps, feet, neck muscles and more.
- Enjoy the relaxation once the tension is released.
Take planned breaks during your busy day, such as a lunch break, walking in nature or just a quick break to breathe.
Ensure you have a good sleep routine.
Why is relaxation important?
So often we don’t allow ourselves to truly relax. Slouching in front of the TV is not relaxation. We never allow our minds to just switch off. That hamster in the wheel keeps running and running, never getting a chance to rest.
If we don’t allow ourselves to relax, we will become more anxious or feel on edge. Our muscles are tensed up, even the organs inside our bodies are tense.
Think about our brains as a computer. A computer runs on software and hardware. Once a year or so, licenses for anti-virus programs expire, programmes such as outlook regularly get updated to the latest issue plus we need to restart or switch off our computers often for back-ups, updates, and repairs. You can never leave your computer running for weeks or months on end. At some point, the computer will override itself and switch itself off to do repairs and upgrades even if you didn’t turn it off.
It is the same with your phone. There are regular installations, upgrades, and software updates that force your phone to shut down. Our batteries will also run out and we have to deliberately plug our phones into recharge.
Some days we have normal battery usage and maybe we have to recharge our phones once or twice that day, but on heavy usage days, we may have to recharge it 3 or 4 times a day.
It’s not about being strong or tough or able to cope. It is about accepting that some days we are going to struggle to cope and we have to deliberately recharge. By recharging, we need time out. We need to relax, we need to shut down in order for repairs to take place.
Going to bed and sleeping is not necessarily shutting down. If you are bogged down by worries or fears, your mind will continue to race in your sleep, looking for answers and solutions. Thus, relaxation is super important and should be a top priority regularly during the day.
Prioritising self-care for busy parents or people with crazy schedules:
Self-care and relaxation are often pushed back, forgotten, ignored. It is the same with things like exercise or healthy eating or getting proper sleep. It’s usually the last on the list for people who are busy. I am so busy, how do you expect me to take time out for myself?!
What people tend to forget though is that if you don’t look after yourself, your wellbeing, your body, and your mind, who is going to look after you and even worse – who is going to look after your business, your children, your priorities if something were to happen to you?
Stress, breakdowns, sickness, etc have a way of sneaking up to you. You think you are coping, you think you can keep pushing just one more day, one more project, but you never know when you really are at the end of your rope. Suddenly something happens, it’s the cherry on top and BOOM! you are stuck with the flu, a mental breakdown, or worse – a heart attack!
What now? Now you are forced to take time out and the recovery is often much much longer than expected. If only you relaxed more often. If only you practiced self-care. If only you had small, daily, healthy habits in place to help you cope during good and bad times. Hindsight always comes too late.
Start today. By using some of the relaxation techniques mentioned above, pick a few that you are comfortable with and gradually start adding them to your life. Increase it so that you eventually have a few quick and easy relaxation techniques that you can implement on a daily basis. Remember – deliberately recharging daily.