Relaxation techniques and moments of respite are a great way to refocus your attention, engage in something calming, and increase awareness of your body and emotions. Below are a few ways to practice mindfulness as well as rejuvenate in order to reset your mind and body.
Getting an adequate amount of sleep is essential to restoring your body’s energy. We understand that as a special needs parent, you may be faced with a child you has severe insomnia or requires around the clock care. Our recommendation is to take small moments to rest. At best, squeeze in a power nap but at minimum sit down in a comfy chair and close your eyes for a few moments to regroup mentally and physically.
Deep breathing helps to relax and clear one’s state of mind. It’s a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system and is a great tool to use before you react to life stressors. Something as simple as closing you eyes and inhaling for a count of four, then exhaling for a count of four (all through the nose) can serve as a great stress and anxiety reducer. Eventually you can increase to six and eight counts. You can also try the abdominal breathing technique in which you put one hand on the chest and the other on the belly and take a deep breath in through the nose. Take six to 10 deep, slow breaths per minute for 10 minutes each day.
Mediation gives one time to calm the mind and become more focused. By reserving a few minutes for meditation each day, you can move your mind from negative to positive thoughts. It’s a spiritual practice that allows you to create more constructive thoughts and gain inner peace. There are several guided meditations so find the one that works best for you. We recommend carving out a few minutes in the morning before the kids awake, as a great way to start your day. However, if midday or nighttime works best for you, then select a time where you can dedicate yourself to meditating daily. Namaste!
A massage or even a hug can do wonders to relieve stress. Not only will it reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, but you’ll get a small sacred moment of peace. Can’t leave the home to enjoy a relaxing spa? No worries. There are plenty of trained and licensed massage therapists that make home visits for your convenience.
Music and Art
Music and art have the capacity to transport you to a calmer state of mind. It can give you an escape from anxiety, worry, and stress even if just for a few minutes. Pick up a paint bush or play your favorite song to put you in a good mood.
Reading and Writing
Reading is often overlooked as a stress management tool, however studies show that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%. Find a good book or magazine that peaks your interest, find a quiet corner, and submerge yourself in reading.
Similarly, writing can be therapeutic. Whether it’s journaling or writing poetry, getting your thoughts out on paper can relieve your mind and give you a voice. Purchase a simple composition book and let your thoughts flow.
What do you enjoy doing? Reflect back on the activities and things that bring you joy and find a way to incorporate it into your weekly or monthly routine. Even if you don’t have a great deal of time, squeeze in a little time for you and your hobbies. If you enjoy dancing, take a class while the kids are at school or even pop in a DVD of a dance routine and get moving!
Resident Expert: Avalaura Beharry, Life Coach and Holistic Practitioner