Help to de-stress and relax

Calming and soothing yourself

Life can be difficult and problems arrive on top of other problems. The result can be anxiety, worry, stress and overwhelm.

Here are some ideas for relaxation:

Resting your body and mind helps. Take five minutes and imagine yourself as an icecream, slowly melting in the warmth of the sun – or picture yourself lying in the sun, feeling the warmth soothing your body and mind

Remember or imagine a peaceful place and use your senses to think about what you can see, hear, taste and touch in this place.

Make a mini-safe space or restful place. Gather your favourite cushions, cuddly toy, warm blanket into one place. Think about adding a flower or bit of greenery from your garden, or a scented candle. Let yourself sit or lie down and relax

 Relax by gently stretching and releasing your muscles, starting with your feet and ending with your face. Gentle stretching relaxes your body and when your body relaxes your mind can follow

Listen to a relaxation sound track (available online at no charge)

Go into the garden and listen to the birds, the wind in the trees or the sound of insects. Test out which plants smell best to you, crunch leaves or simply sit and allow your mind to wander

Play your favourite music, create a playlist. Put a variety of music on your list. Check out which music helps you to relax the best. Notice music that energises you too

Take deep, slow breaths and notice if you feel calmer breathing in or breathing out. Many people can find a point between breathing in and breathing out that feels calm and relaxing

The sense of smell is very powerful and soothing. Walk around your home, garden or a park. See how many different scents you can find. Identify your favourites and carry them with you.

Mindful walking: focus on your sense of touch, sight, sound and smell in turn. For example, walk for three minutes noticing how the ground feels beneath your feet, how the sun or breeze feels on your skin. For the next three minutes notice what you can see, then what you can hear and what you can smell

Have a bath with bubbles or lavender oil, the warmth and scent is relaxing. Add a handful of Epsom Salts, which relieves muscle tension, to the bathwater (available cheaply at a good supermarket or health food store)

Make a list of things you enjoy and plan to do one or more of them every day. Or more than one. You deserve it because you are special and important

Supportive relationships are very important to mental and emotional wellbeing. Plan to call or catch up with a friend.

If you don’t feel like talking, plan to go out to a park or coffee ship where you can be with others without having to talk. Going out to a movie, park or mall can feel better than being alone

Make a list of all the ways you find pleasure through your senses (sight, sound, taste, smell, touch). Treat yourself to something from your list as often as needed

Watch TV. Humour is an effective releaser of tension – consider funny DVD’s or YouTube clips

Read a favourite book. If you find it hard to concentrate, try a magazine. Op shops often have magazines and books cheaply or free of charge, as does your local library.

Keep a selection of herbal teas (mint, ginger, chamomile) and a special cup. Make a little ritual or “tea ceremony”. The warmth of the tea is soothing and relaxing. The ritual distracts your mind and reminds you that you deserve kindness

Drink warm milk, milk contains an ingredient that helps you to feel calm and so can be helpful before bedtime. Add a biscuit (or carbohydrate) to boost the effect. It will take a half hour or so before you notice the effect

Bring to your mind something positive, affirming or enjoyable. For example, remember a happy occasion and replay the memory, focusing on the details including what you saw, heard, physical  sensations and taste. Allow your mind to run through the memory in as much detail as possible

Can you remember a kindness you did for someone or someone did for you? Remember how you felt in as much detail as you can

Mindful meditation is simply bringing your attention to one object or one sense at a time. Try walking in your garden or neighbourhood and notice five things you can see, hear, feel or smell. For example, pick leaves and crumple them, walk on different surfaces (grass, pavement, bark, leaves). Focus simply on the sensation. If your mind returns to the problem, gently return your attention to the sensation

Appreciation focuses your mind on positives. Think about five things you appreciate or enjoy

Smile. A smile changes how you feel-whether you share it with someone or keep it to yourself

Yoga or Pilates can help you to relax, or work out some simple stretches that are comfortable for you. There are plenty on the internet. Or simply move your body in time to music, which can be real music or in your mind music

Make yourself a massage sock by placing one or two tennis balls into an old sock or stocking. Place between your back and a wall and gently move

Give yourself a hand massage, treat yourself to a scented hand cream

Give yourself a manicure or pedicure. Even better, call a friend and treat each other

Think about one thing you can do to change things for the better. It might sound crazy, but simply putting away clutter, brushing your hair or watching the wind in the trees can change the moment for the better

Pour yourself a cool drink. Notice the sensations of taste and temperature as you sip the drink

Memory brings back happy times. Think about a happy time and focus on the memory in as much detail as you can. Remember what you saw and sensed at that time. Notice any changes in your physical body as you remember

Write a kind letter to yourself or somebody else. List all the things you appreciate about that person or about yourself. If you find this idea helpful, consider keeping a journal or exercise book to list things that happen that help you to feel good about yourself, the world and others

Good feelings often come when we do something that makes a difference to others. Think about volunteering as a way to get out and about and make a positive difference

These may all seem like small things and they are. Small changes can add up to feeling better. And you deserve that. Remember, if nothing changes….nothing changes.

I hope you find some help in these ideas, and thanks for visiting our website.

Dominie