Tools for rest and relaxation
Tools for rest and relaxation
Experiencing grief, loss or associated trauma can greatly impact our emotional and mental state. Often this can include trouble sleeping or simply trouble switching off and allowing our minds and bodies to properly rest, relax and recover. Not being able to properly sleep and rest is not only frustrating, it can also impact your immune system, mood and ability to handle everyday tasks.
If you are struggling with sleep, click here to learn more about how grief, loss and trauma can affect your sleep and find a three step process to improve your sleeping patterns. The tools below will help you when you are trying to calm your mind and body, whether you are preparing for sleep or simply looking to rest and relax through the day.
Sometimes closing your eyes and concentrating on a simple, calming story can help to distract you from what is causing you stress and anxiety. Stories read at a slow pace, with a gentle voice, can hold the mind’s attention without introducing any fear or tension. It’s important that the narrative is simple, without too much excitement.
Try sitting or lying in a comfortable position, without too much noise or bright lights, and playing the short audio story below. It’s titled The Canary and goes for about 20 minutes. If it’s your bed time, you can try playing it as you look to prepare for bed or even as you try to fall asleep.
Reflecting on Positive Experiences
This exercise focuses on a time in your life where you felt happy, content, relaxed and safe. When we revisit these feelings it can induce muscle relaxation and even trigger sleep.
You’ll need to find a quiet place, sit or lie down in a comfortable position, and listen to the exercise below. Don’t worry if you find your mind wandering, this is to be expected the first few times you try, just gently bring yourself back to the beginning of the exercise and start again. It might feel frustrating to have to start again, but be aware that frustration can make your body even tenser. Simply acknowledge the frustration, know that it will pass, and refocus on the exercise with a goal of letting go any tension you feel.
Practice this technique as many times as you require during the day until you remember all the steps. Once you remember all the steps, you can start using the technique as soon as you are in bed and ready to go to sleep.
Mindfulness has been practiced for centuries as a tool that can help with depression, anxiety, smoking, overeating, self-esteem, chronic pain and grief. Mindfulness allows you to stay present, make space for the emotions you are feeling, and appreciate yourself and the world around you.
Mindfulness practices often include mindful breathing, where you focus your attention on where your breath enters and exits your body to calm the mind and alleviate tension. Themes of gratitude and loving kindness are common in mindfulness, encouraging self-acceptance and critical thinking through journalling and meditation.
If you’d like to try a mindfulness practice, find a quiet and comfortable place to sit or lie down and play the audio below that guides you through an exercise focussing on breathing and body awareness.