We all like to relax but more often than not, life gets busy. With the lead up to Christmas, school holidays, work deadlines and…. well the list goes on! This time of year can be particularly stressful and overwhelming.  It’s even more important to carve out time for active self-care when things start to get crazy. And no, I’m not just talking about watching Christmas movies on the couch!!

Relax!

I’m going to run you through a few, 5-10 minute relaxation techniques, that are literally as simple as breathing.

First, find a comfortable position and don’t be afraid to go overboard with pillows and blankets. The more comfortable you are, the more you will relax. Here are a few of my personal favourites, as suggestions.

1: Lying on your back

  • Pillows under knees (and maybe under feet).
  • Towel folded under head and to fill in space under neck.
  • Folded towels under arms.

2: Legs up the wall

  • Folded towel under hips
  • Legs resting up along wall. You can use a pillow behind knees and thighs
  • Make sure you are comfortable in the position!! Clear this position with your physio to make sure there will be no neural irritation for your body.

3: Seated

  • Give yourself a back rest! Either in a chair or against the wall.
  • If sitting cross legged, use towels under the knees to make it more comfortable in the hips, knees and ankles. Use a folded towel under the hips to make it more comfortable for the low back and hips.

Once you’re in a comfortable position, close your eyes and let the body sink into the supports around you and relax.

Breathing Techniques To Help You Relax

I’ll go through two different patterns of breathing and you can use whichever feels the best for you.

Balanced Breathing:

  • Breathe in and out through the nose.
  • Adding a count of four (go slow) for the inhale and four for the exhale. You can extend this count as long as you don’t start forcing or resisting the breath.
  • Imagine your lungs and chest inflating like a balloon, evenly and in every direction.

Three Part Inhale:

  • Breathe in and out through the nose.
  • Imagine your lungs are divided into three sections (and they are on the right side at least!) and your breath is going to fill the lungs like a cup of water, from the bottom right up to the top.
  • Start your inhale aiming to fill the lowest part of your lungs – your belly starts to rise.
  • Continue your inhale to fill the middle of the lungs – sides of ribs expand.
  • Finish your inhale by filling right up to the top of the lungs – top of the chest and collarbones lift slightly.
  • Take a slow and steady breath out to fully deflate.

Aim to repeat each breath (that’s in and out) 10 times for 2-3 rounds.  If comfortable then continue this pattern of breath for up to 5 minutes.

If you’re ever in doubt or feel uncomfortable (either in the position or in the breathing pattern) simply lie in what position feels best for you and observe a slightly slower than normal breath. Add this into your routine once a day and give yourself a chance to reset!

Remember to care for others, you must first take care of yourself! So if you have any questions please come to see one of our team. http://www.barefootphysiotherapy.com.au/