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Relaxation for carers

Relaxation can be invaluable in managing stress, not only when we are 'stressed', but practised regularly can help us to feel more calm and in control, can give us more energy and produce greater feelings of wellbeing.

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By practising relaxation we bring the other branches of our nervous system into play. We calm down, and the stress chemicals stop pumping into our system. Other biochemical reactions take place which then produce feelings of tranquillity and rest.

Relaxation is letting go, letting go of the day, letting go of our worries. We are able to see the whole picture, not what is just in front of us. Often our best ideas come when we are relaxing, when the body is relaxed and the mind is free.

Relaxation techniques

There are many kinds of relaxation techniques that include simple breathing techniques, meditation and yoga.

There are many books and classes available. Try a few different techniques and see what feels right for you.

Meditation

Meditation is a very simple form of mental relaxation which can involve emptying the mind of all preoccupation in favour of one thought, image or word.  It focuses our mind, to the exclusion of all other worries, in order to produce peace.  It need not be religious.

Visualisation

Visualisation is a powerful tool which is used very successfully in alternative treatments for cancer and other illnesses. It can also be used to overcome fear, increase self-confidence and help us access positive mind state

Sample techniques

To start, you may want to listen to some relaxing music or take the phone off the hook, then:

  • Sit or lie in a comfortable position with your back straight.  Close your eyes.

  • Focus on your breathing.  Breathe deeply.  As you breathe out, say the word 'relax'.

  • Empty your mind.  Concentrate on your breathing to the exclusion of all other thoughts.

  • Feel your body relax.
  • Start by doing this for 5 - 10 minutes, and build up to 20 minutes.

 

Mental Relaxation:

Select a comfortable position.

Close your eyes and think about a place that you have either been to before, or create your own in your mind's eye, where you can completely relax.  (It should be a quiet environment, perhaps the seashore, the mountains or a garden.)

Now imagine yourself in your relaxation place.  Look around at all the colours, listen to the sounds and smell the air.  Just lie back and enjoy this soothing, relaxing experience.

Imagine your whole body and mind being cleansed, refreshed and rejuvenated.

Know that you can come to this place any time you desire - just by closing your eyes, to feel peaceful and calm.

After 5 - 10 minutes slowly open your eyes, stretch and feel refreshed.