News & Resources

News & Resources

Learning to relax again

July 21, 2020

By Sr. Xavier Kozubal, CSFN

With all the stress and tension of the coronavirus pandemic, you may have forgotten how to relax your mind and body. Watching the news each night brings more bad news and this has an effect upon us physically, mentally, and emotionally. It might be good to review how to relax in a stressful environment.

You can focus on relaxing your body or relaxing your mind. Both approaches are effective. To relax your body, you have to also quiet your mind. Taking a comfortable position and focusing on your breathing is a good start. Just taking slow deep breaths and concentrating on your breathing can quiet your mind. Thinking a peaceful word or phrase and synchronizing it with your breathing is helpful.

Now noticing any tension in your body and asking those parts of your body to relax will make you aware of where your tension is. Stretching your muscles, holding, and releasing will ease the tension. Tilt your head down for a moment and then gently bring it up; wrinkle your face like a prune and relax it; let yourself take a gentle yawn. Stretch your shoulders up toward your ears, hold and release.

Ask your back to relax, stretch your stomach muscles in, hold and release. Tighten your buttock muscles and then relax them. Stretch your toes upward and then release. You can feel your body begin to release its tension.

Now just relax, focus on your breath, and think of things in your life that you're grateful for. This will replace anything negative in your mind. Doing these simple exercises for five or ten minutes from time to time throughout the day will help you learn to relax again.

Talking out your feelings with someone you trust will help release negative emotions. You want to relax your body, mind, and heart. Journaling how you feel can also be helpful.

We are living in a tense environment and we absorb that tension. So it's important to realize we need to relax. This will help us physically to be healthier. There are many stressors in our lives right now that we cannot eliminate. We need to show compassion to ourselves and others.

Sr. Xavier earned a PhD in Human Development from the University of Maryland in 1975. She writes a monthly wellness column for CSFNs in the U.S. province. She entered the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in 1960.

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