Another week has gone by and it feels like things haven’t gotten any easier. For all of you out there who are supporting black-owned businesses in some way, we’d like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Speaking of hearts, how have you all been doing lately? We were already going through some hardships with COVID but most of us adapted and got the hang of things. Now, we’ve been given more challenges to rise up against. Our stress levels, emotions, and sanity is at an all-time high. We thought it would be a good idea to provide some simple relaxation techniques that might help to relax and calm your mind and heart.
As you’ll see, a lot of these techniques overlap with meditation techniques. But don’t let that dissuade you if you don’t meditate.
Many of us have seen or experienced someone hyperventilating when they’re panicking. If you ever find yourself in this situation, breath focus is key. Focus on taking long and slow breaths, holding them for a few seconds, and then releasing your breath in a controlled manner. It’s helpful to count while you do this. There are different techniques but they all boil down to the same theory. A suggestion to start off with would be to breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds, release for 6 seconds. Rinse and repeat. You’ll find that doing something as simple as focusing on your breath can help bring forth your “inner calm” almost immediately. If it helps, you can also find some playlists and listen to calming music while you do this as well.
Progressive muscle relaxation:
We all tend to tense our muscles when we get stressed. The idea of this is to sit or lay down and focus on tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups in your body. When you experience this conscious and intentional tightening of muscles and then releasing them, you’ll also feel the release of that tension and your mind will react accordingly as well.
When you’re doing this, remember to take some slow and deep breaths before getting started. Begin at your feet and work up through your body as you tense and hold muscles in your body for a count (say 10 seconds) and then release.
Mindful meditation, visualization:
You ever hear someone say, “Go to your happy place”? Well, that’s what visualization is. It’s not always an easy thing to do, actually. But the more you practice visualization or meditation, the more you’ll benefit from them. I won’t get into meditation since we covered that recently. But seriously, meditation can be a solution to your problem and it can also prevent future problems. Don’t underestimate it. (By the way, meditation, like all of the other relaxation techniques here, involves a lot of breath focus too.)
We know yoga’s not always calming and slow…you can really work up a sweat doing yoga depending on the type of yoga. But yoga can also be very relaxing and stress-relieving. The nice thing about it is that your mind should be focused on your deliberate movements while you stretch out the tension in your body. It’s up to you whether you’re looking for a workout or just hoping to de-stress. (Yoga is also good for that muscle tension you might be experiencing while you’re busy at work.) Lucky for you, we provide live yoga classes every weekday!
Obviously your mental health is important to us. But there are also physical benefits to relaxation techniques. When you’re under high stress, your body will react by elevating your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, etc. As a result, things like sleep quality can be affected, and you can see how that can all snowball into a bad day. So having some tools to help you (and those around you) to navigate and handle high-stress situations will come in handy, especially during times like these. Stay safe and take care of yourselves.