With everything that has gone on in 2020, I think we can all use a little de-stressing. Here our some of our favorite techniques to relax and de-stress.
Sit or lay down comfortably. Notice how you are feeling. Are your shoulders shrugged up by your ears? Is your jaw clenched? If so, gently drop your shoulders and unclench your jaw. Put your palms face up on either your knees if sitting or at your sides if you are laying down.
Pretend your body is like cooked spaghetti and release all of the tension you have in your body. This is something we like to call "going spaghetti".
Now scan your body again and just notice if you are feeling tension in any part of your body. If we are holding on to any tension, just remember that you are the one holding onto it and therefore have the sole ability to release it.
Sit or lay down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes or relax your gaze. Take a deep breathe into your belly slowly until it is filled with air. Hold your breath for a few seconds. Slowly breathe out through your mouth until you have completely emptied your belly. When you are exhaling your breath, breathe as if you were breathing through a straw. Repeat as many times as you need to feel calm and refreshed.
We have talked about grounding in gratitude before in our newsletter and this exercise is very similar! If you are short on time and need a quick calming practice, try this technique!
Sit in a comfortable position, relax your shoulders and jaw, and name:
5 things you can see
4 things you can touch
3 things you can hear
2 things you can smell
1 things you can taste
If you are feeling particularly overwhelmed and have at least 5 minutes, try this technique!
Find a quiet and relaxing place. Sit or lay down in a comfortable position (are you finding a theme here? ;))
Focus your attention on your breathing, paying close attention to your inhale and exhale. Notice how the air feels filling up your lungs and diaphragm. Notice how the air feels as you allow it to escape from your body. Notice how your body feels with each breathe.
If your thoughts become present, observe them without judgement and allow them to float by. Imagine your thought is a paper airplane and allow it to float by. Recognize it and then let it pass. Experiencing intrusive thoughts is a normal part of meditation.
Continue to practice this exercise for 5 minutes and if you want to continue, keep it up until you feel refreshed and relaxed.
Think of a place you have been or would like to be that feels safe and calm. This could be a beach, a cozy sofa, the mountains, or a warm hug from someone you love. What image represents this place for you? Pay attention to the details of what you see. Notice the colors, shapes, and smells in this place.
Notice the sensations in your body. What emotions are you feeling and experiencing? Recognize those feelings and allow yourself to be enveloped by those emotions.
Begin to describe to yourself what you are experiencing. Notice the relaxation and pleasant sensations you feel in your body. Enjoy it! Stay in this place as long as you need.
We love this exercise for every member of the family! Cross both of your arms over your chest so that your hands are placed over each shoulder. Begin to tap your shoulder gently with each hand, alternating hands between each tap. Take deep breaths and throughout this exercise. Continue doing this until you feel more relaxed.
Walk slowly or stand on grass barefoot. Notice how your feet feel as they connect to the Earth. Remember that the Earth is always there to catch you. Take deep breaths and feel the sun on your skin or the wind against your face. You can incorporate any of the other techniques with this exercise to increase your benefit.
Bonus: Pet therapy!
Animals can be a great source of co-regulation. Get close to your pet and try to synchronize your breathing with theirs. Observe their breathing and notice how you become calmer as you are sharing your breathing with your pet.