Therapist's top tips to help us relax in lockdown
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"Life is busier than ever even during lockdown, if not physically then mentally."
Being able to relax is a skill that we seem to have forgotten, says Karen Lee of Blossom Therapy Swaffham.
But she said it has many health benefits as well as helping us to "disconnect from reality for a while".
The clinical hypnotherapist and EMDR therapist said one of the hardest things for people to do in extreme situations is relax, and that may be something many have been able to relate to this past year.
But she has offered some tips to help us switch off.
She said: "Even before lockdown, I noticed how fraught people seemed to be in everyday life, no time to stop and take five for a rest let alone any longer to completely relax down.
"Since lockdown these issues seem to have intensified with fear of many things that are out of our control.
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"We can, however, control how we respond. This above anything else is the most important lesson you ever relearn."
Listen to soothing music
"It might help to have soothing music designed for relaxation playing or white noise like a dishwasher going."
"In for the count of five, hold for the count of four and breathe out for the count of six - do this three times.
"Close your eyes. If you struggle to slow your thinking say inwardly to yourself 'don’t think, don’t think, don’t think' 10 times - this tells your subconscious that it's time to rest. Try it on its own sometime, it works.
"Starting from the top of your head working downwards relax each set of muscles as you reach them - we call this the 'wave of relaxation'.
"If you notice any tension anywhere, concentrate on that place and take another deep breath and slowly exhale releasing the tension in that spot and carry on all the way down to your toes.
"Allow yourself to remain passive for a while and when you are ready return back, slowly wriggle your fingers and toes and having a nice stretch.
"Practice this daily for a week to get into the habit of allowing yourself some 'you' time, you will begin to look forward to this wonderful time you have invested in your wellbeing."
"I always recommend clients get outside for at least 20 minutes every day, even if its just pottering in the garden.
"The fresh air helps us clear our minds and any time spent in nature is relaxing as the colours and sounds are usually quite soothing."
Find something interesting to watch
"I recommend TEDx talks - it has something for everyone from funny to inspirational.
"Keeping your mind active during the right times of day will enable you to slow your thinking when you want it to be quieter."
"Spend a little time raising your heart rate if it is safe for you to do so.
"This releases endorphins which help you feel good, when they start to decrease the body naturally relaxes.
"Plus exercise will help you sleep better as you will be more physically tired than had you been sat inside all day."
"Start spring cleaning early this year, not only will the physical exercise help you feel good, a clean house will always help you to settle down and relax when you have finished."
"Finally, something many people find relaxing, especially after any physical exertion - a warm bath with Epsom salts."