Learning to relax is essential to feeling in control and getting rid of anxiety and feelings of overwhelm.
We function and work more effectively if we are not feeling anxious or stressed.
A FEW TIPS ON HOW TO RELAX
Become aware of your breath. Notice if you are holding your breath or breathing shallowly. Breath more slowly and evenly and focus your mind on each breath in and each breath out. Reduce the tension in your body by imagining you can breathe it away on each out breath. You can do this wherever you are and whatever you are doing.
Take 20 minutes during your day to stop. Be still and quiet. Listen to you body and what it is telling you. Find a quiet place to sit alone (if possible) and be still. Focus your attention on your in breath and then focus on releasing tension on your out breath. These 20 minutes are just for you.
Notice the ‘chatter’ of your mind. It’s easy to get caught up in the thoughts in your head, being pulled into feeling negative, worried, angry or upset. Try quietening your mind by thinking about something, a place or a person that makes you smile or feel happy. Dwell in that place for a few moments and notice the difference in your feelings.
Take regular exercise. Exercise burns up adrenaline and reduces tension so helps you feel relaxed. Physical activity also releases endorphins, chemicals which make you feel good. You don’t need to join a gym; brisk walking is an easy and effective way of taking exercise. Being outside in the natural world has a positive effect on our mood.
Listen to relaxing music. Turn off the radio or television and allow yourself time to sit comfortably or lie down. Listen, relax and unwind.
A FEW TIPS ON HOW TO REDUCE STRESS
These tips are to be used in addition to the relaxation tips above. Once you are relaxed your anxiety will reduce and you will begin to feel less stressed.
Talk to someone. Sharing your problem brings a release of your feelings and can clear your mind. Others can sometimes help you to see the situation differently.
Aim to focus on one thing at a time. When pressure builds, consciously slow down. Breathe. Do things in your own time and feel in control.
Be realistic. Get things in perspective and don’t expect to solve all the problems or difficulties which confront you. Focus on what is important right now.
Socialise. Time with friends helps to get things in perspective, takes you out of yourself and brings balance to your life.
Take action. Being proactive creates positive energy and increases motivation. Prioritise and don’t put things off. Procrastination reduces morale and increases anxiety. Sometimes taking action means talking to the person who is part of the problem. e.g your boss.
Say No! Take the pressure off and be kind to yourself. Say NO to anything unimportant or which drains your energy. This is not being selfish, it’s looking after yourself. You are not on this earth for everyone else. If saying NO is difficult, you may need to learn how to be more assertive.
Positive Avoidance. Avoid confrontation. Avoid people who sap your energy or who create stress in your life. Avoid situations if possible, which create stress and anxiety.
Improve your time management. If you don’t manage your time well you will feel anxious, overwhelmed and ‘out of control’. When we are overwhelmed we can’t see things clearly and it’s hard to make decisions, to concentrate and focus. This means we make more mistakes which increases our anxiety.
Create a positive lifestyle. Take breaks during the day and take holidays or short breaks away. Eat healthy food and take regular exercise. Make time for hobbies and friends. Allow yourself enough time for rest, relaxation and sleep.
Relaxation Sessions for Individuals or Groups
Relaxation sessions include the use of breathing techniques and visualisation for deep relaxation. The sessions can also include techniques to help change thinking and responses before and during stressful situations.
Guided relaxation enables you to feel more in control, less anxious and tense which enables you to make better decisions and choices. This helps build confidence and when we will feel more confident and less anxious, relationships at work and at home improve.
The other important benefits of being able to relax include improved sleep and reduced pain and fatigue.
Individual appointments or classes available for small groups.
Relaxation for Staff Wellbeing
The Staff Wellbeing Relaxation Classes are for groups of up to 10 participants. The cost is £120 per session. I usually run the sessions for 2 or 3 groups in succession. They are held at the place of work.
The sessions last for 40 mins, which allows time for the group to arrive and get settled, have 25 mins relaxation and then return to work. So, for example lunchtime ones could start at 12.00, 12.45 and 1.30. Alternatively they can be offered at the end of the day. There is plenty of flexibility and can be fitted around the needs of the organisation.
The benefits are great as I would say that 99% of participants really enjoy the sessions. They also report feeling less tense, more in control, refreshed and clear headed and therefore more focused and motivated. These techniques certainly improve mental wellbeing as they can be used regularly through the day to maintain a sense of feeling in control and less overwhelmed at work or home.
The sessions can be held as a ‘one off’. They can also be delivered as part of a 4 week programme in which I use different methods of achieving a relaxed state, and the participants are then more likely to continue to use the techniques as part of a daily routine.
This is an inexpensive way of looking after staff wellbeing AND has the advantage of the organisation being able to see the benefits and therefore record the results and outcomes.