Learning to relax


 Content Editor

Relaxing both body and mind is a very good way of dealing with stress. However you choose to relax – whether it’s playing golf, doing housework or jogging, having an aromatherapy massage or a hot bubble bath – it’s important to plan and enjoy your relaxation time. 

Relaxation techniques
If you’re looking for more focused relaxation, these are some of the more common techniques: 

Yoga
Various different types of yoga, focusing on toning and stretching the muscles, meditation, breathing and relaxation to focus the mind. 

Pilates
Focusing on the strength of the core body muscles for exercise, strength and relaxation through breathing techniques. 

Aromatherapy
Using essential oils with particular aromas to aid relaxation.
 
Flotation
Floating in a water tank filled with a solution of mineral salts in a warm, dimly-lit environment. 

Indian head massage
Using finger pressure and massage on certain areas of the head, neck and shoulders to relieve stress and tension.
 
Shiatsu massage
Performed fully clothed. 

Hot stone therapy
Hot stones used during the massage process. 

Meditation
Done in silence or with music, chanting or gongs to help focus and silence the mind. 

Neck exercise
Neck exercise is fabulous as it gently stretches all the muscles in the neck and shoulders where tension from stress tends to build up. If you have any neck or shoulder problems or injuries, please take care or skip this exercise. 

Play some relaxing music whilst you do this, and take all the time you need to complete the exercise. 

Make sure all movements are slow, deliberate and gentle. Do not rush or jolt any of the moves and if anything hurts, stop. It should feel good.

Do this exercise standing up or sitting down:
  • imagine you have a paintbrush at the end of your nose with your favourite colour paint on the end
  • in front of you is a huge white canvas
  • paint the numbers 1 to 10 as big as you can on this canvas using all the movement and flow you need
  • focus on the music and on your breath, remembering to breathe properly and allowing the breath to release tension
Finding what works for you
Whichever technique you use, remember, there is no one right way to relax. Explore the many approaches available and choose what works best for you. Don’t force yourself. Allow the techniques to just happen, and observe the difference. 

You need to schedule at least one hour of relaxation time every two weeks, and if you can allocate time more often, do so. 

Relaxation really is as important as any of the other stress management techniques, including exercise and nutrition. It’s not an indulgence.

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