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IN IT TOGETHER: It’s time to relax, let stress fade away

Maple Ridge mom offers series of wellness columns aimed at helping navigate through COVID-19
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By Alex Bruce/Special to The News

We’ve spent a lifetime learning how to be tense and during a pandemic is as good a time as any to learn how to be relaxed.

Choosing to consciously relax your muscles is conducive to your emotional, mental, and physical health and is another excellent way of promoting healthy and strong immune functioning.

Check in with your body right now.

How is that spot between your eyebrows?

If it’s tense, you’re not alone.

Have a headache? I can guarantee that you’re not the only one.

What about your shoulders, neck or back? Feeling tense?

This next question is directed to everyone, and especially the females in the group – are you holding in your belly? Most of us females were taught to do that from when we were children. Even if you can’t feel your muscles contracting on the outside, they may be doing it on the inside.

Are you constipated? Do you have a stomach ache? Do you wake in the morning to a sore jaw? Those could all be representative of tight muscles, often due to stress.

Eating right reduces stress.

Practising positivity reduces stress.

Drinking water, getting exercise, and meditation all reduce stress.

Taking proper health precautions and treating others with kindness and compassion all reduce stress.

The point of these articles is to reduce stress.

Hopefully all of the things you have already chosen to do are helping, but sometimes we need a little more.

Conscious relaxation is a little more.

It’s easy, it promotes health, it’s great for your brain and immunity and it feels good.

Oh yeah, and like everything else in this series, it’s free.

If it’s comfortable, allow your eyes to close or gaze softly at something.

Breathe slowly and deeply, allowing your belly to fully extend and contract with each full breath.

Gently bringing your awareness to the top of your head, invite your scalp to just relax.

Let go of the tension in your cheeks and jaw. Invite your tongue to float up to the roof of your mouth and allow your mouth to open a little.

Imagine your nose and ears relaxing.

Envision that you’re becoming so relaxed that even your hair is happy to let go and become limp.

Allowing gravity to gently pull on your body, let go of your shoulders as they hang loosely and heavily beside you.

Still breathing slowly, deeply and calmly, allow the muscles in your arms to soften all the way from your shoulders to your fingers.

Feel each finger relaxing.

With your next outbreath, let go of the tension in your chest.

Acknowledge to yourself how good it feels to just release right now. You are safe. Everything is okay.

Releasing your belly, feel it fill more easily with air as you practise your deep breathing.

Relax your hips and let go of any muscle tension or tightness from the top of your legs to your feet.

Imagine any tension in your toes melting away like butter.

While still breathing slowly and deeply, allow all of your body to feel like butter as the tension melts away. If it’s helpful, imagine that you are relaxing in a warm bath or hot tub. Memorize feeling relaxed and tension free.

When you are ready to finish this exercise, shift your focus from purposely relaxing your muscles to how you feel emotionally and mentally after allowing for your muscles to relax.

Often, the mind controls the body and the body controls the mind.

As soon as we gain control of one, we can control the other.

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FIRST COLUMN: Maple Ridge woman offers series of wellness tips amid COVID crisis

2nd: We mammals are in this together and will thrive together

3rd: Trying something new can help

4th: Celebrating inclusion in team humanity

5th: Learning to learn at home

6th: Take good care of yourself, so you can care for others

7th: Important to move your butt

8th: Join together in sharing gratitude for Canadians

9th: Ponder a mini vacation and make the best of what’s happening

10th: Taking time to focus on the good in your world

11th: Keeping the faith will make us all stronger in the end

12th: Picturing yourself strong

13th: Taking a few deep breaths

14th: Smile at life and share it around

15th: Naming emotions help free people from those feelings

16th: Send positive thoughts to family, friends, strangers, even pets

17th: Come on back to the present – stop time travelling

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– Alex Bruce is a health and wellness author and accredited meditation and mindfulness instructor, and this is excerpt from her: “Let’s Be Calm: The Mental Health Handbook for Surviving and Thriving Through Pandemic”

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• Stay tuned tomorrow for the next COVID-19: In It Together column

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• If there is more to this column, please let us know about it. Email us at editor@mapleridgenews.com. We look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.



About the Author: Black Press Media Staff

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