Relaxation Rehabilitation Part Four: How to Rest and Make it Fun
Lying down and doing nothing can be what is needed but sometimes our brains feel like they are racing and we need a gentle activity. Here are some suggestions:
1. Sanctuary. Imagine an inner safe place where you can go and feel calm, go there now.
2. Senses. Use relaxing sensory experiences. What is relaxation to you? What invokes relaxation and the sensation of ease? It could be falling asleep,the knowledge of nothing to do, a massage, a hug, a warm bath, the smell of clean linen, candle light, the sea and the beach. whatever it is for you, create or invoke it to relax today. Use smell, taste, colour and imagery. Is there something that you like to look at that makes you feel relaxed? A place, or view, or a picture or object. Gather these and use them.
3. Aromatherapy. This is a subject which deserves much more in depth information but briefly we can safely use essential oils to help promote relaxation.Use reputable oils, do not use anything you are allergic to or use it neat and follow all precautions on the product. Lavender is wonderful to relax and invoke sleep. I cannot use lavender so I use chamomile, geranium, rose, rose maroc, and neroli and I love the amazingly uplifting clary sage. You can put essential oils on a tissue to smell, on a safe oil burner, or in small amount in a bath or bowl of water to soak hands or feet etc.
4. Herbal Helpers. We can also use herbal teas to great effect to relax. Relaxing with a cup of tea is a classic restful activity, we are just turning up the wellness quotient a little. Before using herbs it is essential to check that they will not interfere with medications or other conditions or pregnancy. Herbs are potent, they are drugs and they can have side effects like everything else, just because it comes from the health food shop does not mean that it is totally neutral and safe. Having said that I love herbal teas including rose, lime blossom, lemon balm, orange blossom, cinnamon, jasmine blossom, blackberry leaf, and rooibos among others. Yes we have a lot of teas.
5. Space. Give yourself some space. Plan some space into the day and then ask yourself what you want to do in it. Just plan some space, plan it into your schedule like an appointment, it is an important appointment with You. This appointment is you, it’s your life. Then when you get to it ask yourself what you feel like doing? Give yourself time to answer and listen to the little voice. Don’t dismiss it if you think it is a strange idea or not what you imagined as ‘rest.’ If you have not listened to yourself for a while it might be a very little voice, a fleeting thought or sensation but the more you listen the stronger it will get. Listen, you may want to walk down the road, eat some cherries, read a childhood book, go to bed for 20 minutes, rub your feet, pick something off this list. Do it, release the guilt and enjoy. This is important. We all desire happiness and joy, so have some now. You can’t help others without taking care of yourself so we can release that worry and expand into our present space.
5. Sleep / nap. If you can nap in the day without messing up your sleep patterns, try it. It may seem silly at the start but lots of people take power naps and find them so refreshing. Try lying down properly if you can with a pillow and blanket and maybe an eye bag or the curtains drawn to darken the room. Set a timer and relax into the space your have created for yourself and feel the aches and exhaustion you have been carrying lifting or moving further away while you rejuvenate and heal. You can put the worries in a box outside the room if you like and collect them after your rest. Now is the time for a sleep.
6. (Ad)Venture Outside. Try getting outside, and get some fresh air, and hopefully some sunlight, for a break. You could take your tea, or meditation practice out there too. Enjoy the increase in oxygen. Often we spend too much time in air conditioned or closed window places and do not have enough oxygen and this makes us sleepy and also grumpy. Even on a grey day things are often nicer outside than you think, wrap up and enjoy the – we are going to call it fresh and bracing rather than cold – weather!
7. Breathe. There are so many variations on this and it is worth exploring and finding ones you resonate with and new ones to try to keep your practice fresh. You can look into mindfulness, pranayama, different forms of meditation, biofeedback, visulisation, guided meditation, buddhist meditation and many others: http://www.spiritualnow.com/articles/20/1/The-Different-Types-of-Meditation/Page1.html
For now try breathing in a light the colour of your choice, whatever you need right now will come to you (but gold is always a good general life force/ healing/ love/ God light colour) and see yourself breathing out negativity – smoke, dark colours, pain etc. See the gold fill you up and the darkness become less and less and feel this is so. Here is a link to a colour therapy chart if you would like more information: www.deeptrancenow.com/colortherapy.htm.
8. Music. Listen to relaxing music. You can just listen and enjoy and let it wash over you, or let it paint a landscape. I love classical music, including Phamie Gow, Ludovico Einaudi, all of Classic FM relaxing classics hour and the spiritual music of Amma. You can sink into the music or watch it create a story, or sensations or colours in your mind or even sensations in your body. I have a c.d of the music from Harry Potter and this always makes me smile too, especially Hedwig’s Theme.
9. Meditate. Use guided meditation. Try some of these: www.chopra.com/library/guidedmeditationsorwww.learningmeditation.com/room.htm
10. Cuddle and cwtch (which means snuggle up in Welsh) with your animal, partner, friend, relative. Reach out and take some time off the computer with the important people in your life physically connecting and enjoying touch and companionship.
11. Get a massage, pedicure, reflexology, beauty treatment. This does not have to be expensive. Local colleges offer massages and beauty treatments from the students training at reduced prices. You can do it at home or swap with a friend but take the time to set yourself a lovely and relaxing space which is part of the relaxation experience. Even if you have to have a sheet thrown over the desk to hide the work if you can’t use a different room it makes a difference.
12. Enjoy beauty. Look at beautiful pictures. We put picture books, art books, natural photographs on an easel and I have it next to the bed. I enjoy great works of art, fabulous photography and favourite paintings. Search on flickr.com or get a book from the library. Notice the beauty all around you. Visit a beautiful and awe inspiring place, or remember when you have, imagine it and go there in your mind. There is nothing less real in doing it mentally, you see it more deeply than many people who visit things physically. Remember all the times you turned up to a tourist attraction and were so tired or distracted and gazed dutifully at it and then went on to the next? Well when we go places in our minds we can appreciate the true beauty of them and be deeply present and our feet don’t ache from traipsing around galleries.
I am finding balance, you are welcome to join me.
This post was originally published on bahtocancer.com. You can read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 in this series here, here and here.