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Rest and Relaxation Techniques

When someone you care about is experiencing grief and loss, it can be difficult to know how to support them.
Tools For Rest and Relaxation

Grief and loss can disrupt your sleep, and if you’re having trouble falling asleep, there’s a three-step method you can follow to improve your sleeping habits.

The tools below however 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.

Listen to Sleep Stories

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 slowly, with a gentle voice, can hold the mind’s attention without introducing any fear or tension. The narrative must be simple, without too much excitement.  

Here’s a list of playlists and podcasts from popular subscription platforms such as Calm and Spotify to get you inspire

Calm App currently offer a range of free sleep stories on YouTube, including:

Reflect on Positive Experiences

This exercise focuses on a time in your life when 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. Gently bring yourself back to the beginning of the exercise and start again. It might feel frustrating to start again, but be aware that frustration can make your body even tenser.

Acknowledge the frustration, know that it will pass, and refocus on the exercise with the goal of letting go of any tension you feel.

Practice this technique as often 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.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness has been practised for centuries as a tool to 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 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 journaling and meditation.  

Mindfulness for Grief best practices also help manage and process your grief.  

The EAST Self-care Approach

Eating: Try to eat regularly and healthily throughout the day and increase your water intake to stay hydrated.

Activities: Restart activities, which you enjoyed before a loss, including some type of exercise.

Sleeping: Try to go to bed at a regular time every night (your preferred time before the loss) and try to avoid consuming sugary foods, caffeine or alcohol before bedtime.

Time: Spend time with trusted friends and family and consider reaching out to a counsellor or the Griefline Helpline service to work with you on your experience of loss.

Be Kind to Yourself

Practicing self-care can help you reduce stress, anxiety and negative emotions, while also taking care of your physical body as you heal.

Download our Self Care Tips infographic and keep it with you – or share it with a friend who may benefit from these strategies.

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