My theme word for 2016 is BALANCE – I’m gonna try to have time for art and workshops and sketching every day, reading more books, updating the website and keeping track of taxes in advance and writing real letters and relaxing and . . . ARG – I got tense and unbalanced just thinking about it!
So I turned to the all-wise higher power – Google! Lo and behold, I found this great guide to active relaxation that takes two minutes at the most and really works to help refocus and calm down. It’s on the Eastern Washington University site, and when I followed the steps, my whole body de-stressed and lightened up.
Want to try it? Here are the steps (and I’ve also made a printable version for you guys that has two copies – one for you and one for a friend – you can find it here).
Sit or lie in a comfortable place with your spine straight.
You may start with either you right side or your left side (most people prefer to begin with their dominant side).
For each step, hold the position described for 5 seconds and concentrate on the sensation of muscle tension. Then release the position and concentrate on changes in the muscles, noticing the sensation of relaxation.
- Foot – point and curl toes, turning foot inward
- Calf – pull toes toward head, flexing foot
- Thigh – push thigh muscles down, tensing muscles
- Repeat for opposite foot, calf, and thigh
- Stomach – contract stomach, making it as small and tight as possible
- Chest, Shoulders, and Upper Back – pull shoulder blades back and together
- Upper Arms – push elbow down
- Hand and Forearm – make a tight fist
- Repeat for opposite upper arm and hand
- Neck and Throat – pull chin toward chest and keep it from touching chest
- Jaw – bite hard and pull back corners of mouth
- Cheeks and Nose – squint and wrinkle nose
- Forehead – lift eyebrows as high as possible
That’s it!! I figure that if your body feels unbalanced, your mind is going to take a hike, too – sometimes just remembering to flex my foot (#2) and push my elbows down (#7) is enough to help me refocus.
OK, print out your relaxation tips and go have a balanced and happy weekend – become one with the serene seashore rock!