Relaxation Exercises & Techniques You Can Do at Home Over December

An image of three individuals performing meditation exercise.
An image of three individuals performing meditation exercise.
Daily Nation

Every end year over the Christmas period, we all tend to loosen up and indulge in activities that mostly end up slowing down our resolve in starting a new year with zeal and vigour.

Amid all of this excitement, you are going to need some coping strategies for keeping it all together during the holiday season. 

Relaxation techniques are practices to help bring about the body’s “relaxation response,” which is characterized by slower breathing, lower blood pressure, and a reduced heart rate.

What are the different types of relaxation techniques?

An image of a man performing stretches'.
An image of a man performing stretches'.
Know Your Health

Breathing Exercises

For breathing exercises, you might focus on taking slow, deep breaths—also called diaphragmatic breathing.

When you’re anxious, getting your breathing under control can relax both your body and mind.

To get your breathing under control when you’re anxious, follow these steps:

Sit in a quiet and comfortable place. Put one of your hands on your chest and the other on your stomach. Your stomach should move more than your chest when you breathe in deeply.

Take a slow and regular breath through your nose. Watch and sense your hands as you breathe in. The hand on your chest should remain still while the hand on your stomach will move slightly.

Breathe out through your mouth slowly. Repeat this process at least 10 times or until you begin to feel your anxiety lessen.

Guided Imagery

In this relaxation exercise, you’ll use your imagination to help you achieve deep peace.

You may want to do this at the start of your day or before bedtime. 

Try to avoid doing it at times when you need to be fully alert.

It’s also important to choose a time of the day when you won’t get interrupted by people, devices, or loud noises.

Step 1: Sit in a comfortable position or lie down with your eyes closed.

Step 2: Start breathing slowly and deeply.

Step 3: Pick a mental image that soothes you. This can be a pleasant memory or pure imagination.

Step 4: To intensify the experience, try to bring your five senses to the image you have thought of:

  1. What do you see?
  2. What do you hear?
  3. What do you feel?
  4. What do you smell?
  5. What do you taste?

Step 5: Enjoy the environment you’ve created. You can spend a few minutes or as long as you need. If it becomes difficult to stay focused, consider bringing in your senses one more time and breathe slowly.

Minimize screen time in favour of human connection.

Research shows the happiest people are those who connect with others and build meaningful relationships. 

The brain is made up of human connection and therefore, we feel the most fulfilled and at peace when we are valued members of a group.

So as much as possible, pull your face out from behind that screen and forge real connections with loved ones.

This practice might be a more powerful mental health boost than you even realize it.

An image of an individual holding a phone.
An image of an individual holding a phone.
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