Did you know it’s National Relaxation Day?!
And on a Monday. HI-larious.
I just found out at 5:00pm today, and the first thing I wanted to do was rush about and tell everyone. However, in the spirit of relaxation day, I took a pause, finished an appointment, ate some food, connected with an amazing woman locally, and for the purposes of this post, felt the floor.
It’s ok, you read that right. I felt the floor.
I want to take this opportunity while I have your attention to teach you a relaxation practice, because true relaxation is a skill.
That’s right, I said skill.
It’s pretty typical for a childbirth educator to talk about relaxation. Aside from a multitude of research proving it shortens labor, decreases pain, and helps with oxygen flow to the placenta (i.e. to your baby), it’s also a skill to learn to slow down. It’s called: conscious relaxation.
In turn, conscious relaxation becomes an amazing skill to have when working with a breastfeeding mother, a woman suffering from any postpartum mood disorder, or mothers of toddlers. (Perhaps we all have to work our way up to that last one – its Master Achievement unlocked level.)
But in our modern world, we fast pace everything. We churn out work, stress about housework, return that e-mail after hours, then check our social media posts for events both personal and international.
We. Run. Mentally and energy-wise, we run; and then we wonder why we’re rundown.
So read this through first, then set a timer.
In the spirit of an incredible book I read years ago, One Moment Meditation, read through this entire exercise, set a timer for 60 seconds, and talk yourself through a practice. Then, the next time you get cut off in traffic, yelled at by a barista, or argued with over showering alone from a three year old, you can have this as a skill.
- Start wherever you already are. No need to change clothes.
- Situate yourself so that you don’t have to hold yourself up, nor is any body part resting on top of another, i.e. your legs aren’t crossed.
- Open your palms upwards to your face or the sky, whichever is most comfortable.
- Taking in a deep breath, feel the floor. What parts of the floor (or couch or chair) do you feel more of? What parts of your body are touching the surfaces? Is your weight more on one side than the other?
- Reposition yourself to be more even in weight distribution and feeling.
- Breathe deeply into your more relaxed position. Each breath helps your body feel, simply, heavier, there’s less to hold up, more you can trust to the surface you’re on.
- Now the only thing left to pay attention to is your breathing. In, deeply into your abdomen, out through your mouth, slow, careful.
- Notice your pulse changes, your skin releases, tension spots start to let go. Pay attention to the physical.
- If other thoughts, to-do’s, or stressors enter your mind, focus back on the physical. It’s only one minute, and it’s your body’s. It belongs to that one minute, not to what’s coming next. Breathe it out like a physical part of that breath. Then move on.
- When your timer goes off, smile! You just helped your health, your energy level, and calmed your entire nervous system. Well done you!