Relaxation & Mental Health First Aid
Relaxation, taking time to be kind to yourself, is a huge part of keeping mentally healthy. Not long ago I went on a Mental Health First Aid course. Its a bit like your usual First Aid course, but it focuses on people’s mental health. Each participant is taught, over 2 days, awareness of the signs that a friend or colleague may be suffering and what to do to help them. No organisation would dream of opening without a trained First Aider, so why not have someone there who can help when you are feeling anxious, depressed or undergoing mental health issues? The course was fantastic and I would highly recommend it. I hasten to add that we were not trained to be the ultimate help point, rather that we could direct people to the help they needed, calm people undergoing panic attacks and so on. It gave me an excellent understanding of situations I might meet and how I could help people.
Our homework task on the first night was to spend an hour doing something relaxing and enjoyable. I went home and, being the swot I am, threw myself wholeheartedly into the task. My Happy Hour was spent in the garden reading and drinking wine with my husband (one glass, chilled!). It wasn’t the trickiest homework I have ever had!
It was , however, rather enjoyable. I arrived the next morning to attend Day 2 and our instructor asked us all if we had done our homework task. I smiled and put my hand up, ever keen to be the teacher’s pet. To my surprise I was about the only one. The other participants had found it difficult to spend a whole hour relaxing. Some had managed to spend a little bit of time chilling. I don’t think more than 2 of us did so on a regular basis.
Taking Time for You
It surprised me. For me, my mental health is every bit as important as my physical health. Relaxation is a huge part of this. Over the years I have come to understand that if I am ok in my head I will be ok everywhere else. Taking time each day, for me, is not a luxury, but a necessity. Getting enough sleep, spending time each and every day doing something I really enjoy, like reading, walking, just sitting watching telly, being with my husband … its essential for me.
People tend to tell me that I am a calm, relaxed person and I think that this “Time for Me” is one of the keys. Yet not everyone does this. I have friends who tell me that they have absolutely no time for themselves. Their lives are so busy, so stressful. Whether its with work or their children, or the ironing, life, for them, is one long whirlwind of white noise and forward momentum.
And yet… surely there is some time in everyone’s day where they can find peace? Does the ironing really need doing? Will the world fall to pieces if you don’t hoover the lounge? It has occurred to me that so many people just don’t know how to relax, don’t know how to give themselves time. I know that it can be difficult, especially if you have a full time job, a family… but if you can take time to think of your physical health, then why not take time to think of your mental health? People try to eat healthily, or go to the gym, but then burn themselves out when they could spend time just being kind to themselves, calming themselves…
How to Relax
Do you know how to relax? Do you spend time letting yourself totally become calm? I had a client recently who was very honest and told me that he found it nearly impossible to relax. I realised that he had probably never really learnt how. On my “How Can I Help You?” page there is a short audio recording that could help you begin. Its completely free and gives you a taste of what one of my Wordweaving downloads is like.
Also, if you scroll down you can subscribe and receive a relaxation MP3 download, completely free of charge.
You can relax by distracting your mind from the maelstrom of every day – taking time to do something you love, whether that’s running, baking, knitting, reading…. everyone’s different. You can also relax by taking time to be comfortable, undisturbed, thinking of your breathing. If you can breathe in from your tummy, as if you were taking air in through your belly button, breathing in for the count of 7, and then breathe out for the count of 11. If this is hard then try 5 and 9 ( or count faster….). This distracts your mind…. Then imagine, as you lie comfortably with your eyes closed, a warm light slowly moving along your body….starting at the top of your head…..moving slowly down through every part, every muscle. Sometimes its easier to tense your muscles, then let go. Tense and let go… all the way to the tip of your toes…each tiny muscle.
How Can I Help You?
Relaxation is a skill that improves the more you practise. The therapy I use can help you to relax, help you to get back to the person you want to be. We all can benefit from having a healthy mind and spending time for you each day, putting it in your diary, is so important.
If you would like more information or help do please contact me for a complimentary consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org