The only thing more frustrating than not being able to add more hours to the day or days to the week, is not being able to put your mind to ease when you’ve found a way to steal an hour of relaxation.
Let me know if the following sounds familiar: you decide that a break is needed to re-center yourself and even make a date to give yourself that much needed time. Then as your body starts to let go your brain decides to remind you that you forgot to add milk to the shopping list, you’re not sure locked the door behind you, you might have left an open flame on your stove too…. OH NO! You can’t relax! Your house is being robbed and burning down at the same time! And you don’t have milk for your morning coffee tomorrow!!!!
Hey, no one said your brain was logical, that’s why it needs some help. I’m happy to share some tried and true tips and tricks on how to fully relax your body and mind.
Get in the zone:
Relaxing your mind is much like relaxing your body, it requires some foreplay. Include 15 minutes at the start of your self-date to get into the mode of relaxation. That can be by turning off your phone or computer, sitting down with a hot cup of tea (or glass of wine) and reminding yourself that your time-out is needed and deserved. Whatever helps you to turn the noises in your head off and the self-care mode on.
Keep a paper and pen on hand:
Yes, I said paper and pen. I know this is a foreign concept in a tech savvy world, but hear me out. Since the mind has a habit of repeating itself when it doesn’t feel heard, keeping a pen and paper handy is a good way to soothe your mind and assure it that you’re listening. When a thought comes in, acknowledge it, write it down and then come back to it in an hour or so. It’s important that you don’t use your phone or other electronic devise to do this so as not to be tempted to quickly check your email, IM, ping or any of the other various ways your mind can pull you away from yourself.
Talk yourself into it:
Like I said in the last pointer, your thoughts need acknowledgement, but sometimes writing them down isn’t enough… sometimes they need a kind “talking to”. If writing them down doesn’t stop them from letting you take a break, try some self-talk and imagery. Imagine that not so still voice as a small child who wants reassurance. Let it know that while its concerns are valid and need to be addressed, right now isn’t the time to address them. Promise them that you will revisit the issue in an hour when you can give it the full attention it deserves. It’s important to actually do this, just like anyone else, when you keep your word your mind will learn to trust you.
Breathing is a funny thing, we all do it but most of us don’t know how to do it properly. If you’re reading this then you can presume you’re somewhat successful at it, but breathing correctly is another matter. Most people breathe through their chest instead of their abdomen. Try it out. Place one hand on your chest and one on your abdomen. Take a deep breath and count to four. Hold your breath for a few second and then slowly exhale, counting to four again. Which hand rose higher? The one on your chest or the one on your abdomen? If your answer is the former practice your breathing until the later comes naturally.
Now, I’m not asking you to do this 24 hours a day (although if you did that would be great). All I ask is to try some (or all) of these suggestions out when getting into pre-relaxation and relaxation mode. It’ll help you enjoy the self-care time you’ve so kindly given yourself, I promise!