Practising relaxation

How to develop your relaxation skills

Quick moments for relaxation

A good way to start introducing relaxation into your life, is to find “moments” to use relaxation in everyday situations. Some examples include:
  • Using the 20 seconds while washing your hands to do some gentle breathing relaxation.
  • Take a slow soothing breath in and breathe out any tension in your muscles while cooking supper.
  • Listen to a favourite piece of music.
  • Take a photograph of a beautiful scene.
  • Sit in a park or garden for a few minutes and focus on what you can see, hear and smell.
  • Spend five minutes knitting or crocheting.

Relaxation if you have a little more time

When sitting down for a few minutes you could try the Body Scan technique. This means checking your body to notice tension in your feet, legs, knees, hips, abdomen, chest, shoulders, neck, head, face and jaw. As you notice any tension let it go, release it from you. Start from your toes and work upwards, ‘letting go’ of the tension on the out-breath.
  • You can also observe your breathing, and remember to breathe calmly and comfortably.
  • As you breathe in, your tummy should rise a little; then rest back as you breathe out. Don’t force things, as this may make you feel a little ‘light-headed’.
  • A warm bath using scented oils might be a special treat for a day when you have a little more time.

Some longer relaxation strategies

Making time to practise and focus on relaxing will help you learn how to relax fully and deeply. For a ‘time-out’ relaxation session, set aside about twenty to thirty minutes.
When you first learn a relaxation technique, being in a quiet, comfortable place can help. Lie down on a bed or mat, or sit in your most comfortable chair. Try to find a time when you are likely to be undisturbed.
  • If you wish, you could do the relaxation session with the person you care for. Or you may prefer to do it alone.
  • Listening to a recording or going to a class can be called ‘time-out’ relaxation. There are lots of relaxation apps or online recordings available to buy.
  • Try and look at your relaxation sessions as part of your self-care skills.
  • Attend a local relaxation group
  • Use a gentle exercise programmes like Yoga, Tai Chi or Pilates