We all need a little R&R from time to time, and sometimes a good night’s sleep just isn’t in the cards, and other times it just doesn't do the trick. Raise your hands if pregnancy symptoms are keeping you up or hormone-induced fatigue is weighing you down! When you can’t catch some shuteye and need a recharge during your day, try one of these 5 easy fixes to help you relax and reboot.
Sit comfortably in a quiet place. Let yourself settle into the space for at least a minute or two before you start deep breathing. When you’re ready, place your hands on your stomach and inhale slowly through your nose for the count of 8 – letting your lungs fill completely. Feel your chest and abdomen expand under your hands. Once you’ve reached your capacity, hold your breath for 2 counts, and then exhale gently out of your mouth for a count of 8. Continue with this for about 5-10 minutes, or until you feel your whole body relax.
Lie down on your bed or sofa, or wherever you can with your whole body comfortably supported. Starting at the top of your head, focus on each of the muscle groups in your body, all the way down to your toes. First, tense the muscles around your head and next slightly while inhaling. Then, relax that muscle group as fully as possible, exhaling while you do so. Continue down your body – to your arms and upper back, your core, your butt, your thighs, calves, and feet – tensing and releasing each muscle group in turn. Pay attention to how relaxed each muscle group feels as you move down your body. Repeat in the opposite direction – from your toes to your head – if needed.
The best way to get into mindfulness is to get into a rhythmic behavior – such as walking, running, breathing, or knitting – and focus on that repetition. Think about the soles of your feet as you walk. Focus intensely on how your feet feel, the steadiness of every footfall, and the gentle shifting of your weight. Zone in on this rhythm and allow yourself to be wholly present in the action of walking. Let your mind clear itself of everything else and be only in the present moment.
Once again you’ll want a fairly quiet place for visualizations. Let your mind wander to a peaceful scene or situation. Hold this image or event in your mind, close your eyes, and let your breathing regulate. Concentrate on your visualization and let what you imagine become your present reality. Bring all of your senses into the experience – see it, feel it, taste it, hear it! If your mind wanders, bring yourself back to your starting scene and focus on finding peace within it.
If you’re struggling to settle into meditations or visualizations, all you have to do is take a walk. Studies have shown that leisurely strolls in wide-open green spaces can actually put your mind into a meditative state, without you even trying! If you need an easy recharge, spend 15 minutes walking in a nearby park – and even better if the sun is shining for an added Vitamin D boost! Put your phone on silent to minimize distractions and let Mother Nature do the rest.