Easy Ways to Deeply Relax

how to deeply relax as mothers

A common theme that runs through many conversations with clients is the sheer busyness of life throughout the season of pregnancy, newborn stage, and into the far reaches of motherhood. Add to that work outside the home, managing the details of family, and minimal – if any – space to attend to one’s most basic needs.

When a client does have a few moments to settle in and care for herself, relaxation is not typically at the forefront; yet we learn repeatedly that countering life’s stresses with deep relaxation is quintessential for our wellbeing. If there is a moment to actually settle in, the question arises: Where do I start? We wonder how we can actually and deeply relax with such little time and space.

Knowing that “motherhood requires simplicity”, we want to provide you with accessible relaxation tools that bring positive results – small ideas, big impact.

So what relaxation strategies can we practice that fit into a busy life and truly help our bodies and nervous systems to settle and rest?

What we learn from the ancient study of yoga, and from the field of psychology, is that our bodies know how to elicit the stress response to keep ourselves safe from threat. We, as humans, have this strategy down. We also know that the relaxation response is different. It is a learned response that needs to be tended to, like building muscle or practicing to ride a bike. In order for it to become habitual and part of our required routine, we need to learn – and then practice – relaxation.

So, in our busy lives, where do we begin?

There are a few great options to help our bodies remember (or learn how) to settle and relax. It is likely that you are already using some of these tools. Take a moment to celebrate that! The more we bring our awareness to what we are already doing to nurture ourselves, the more we can feel connected to a sense of calm and wellness.

We can separate relaxation strategies into three categories.

Relaxing Basics:

These are things you are probably already doing in your life that may have relaxing outcomes. These experiences vary for each individual and may include:

The feeling after a very hot shower or a soak in the bath or hot tub.
The cool down after vigorous exercise.
Savasana (final relaxation) after a yoga practice.
The feeling after satisfying intercourse.

It is likely that these strategies have helped you to soften your muscles and your mind for a period of time and are quite ordinary and accessible.

Relaxation Tools:

This next category includes tools that when learned and practiced can help your body to drop into relaxation. They help to create muscle memory, result in feeling great, and become automatic with practice. You can access audio versions on our website as well as many other platforms.

Strategies to Help us Relax:

Finally, there are folks who are trained in helping us deepen into our bodies and support our bodies to heal and relax. Using these strategies occasionally can help our nervous systems down regulate and help our bodies to deeply relax. This last group includes:

  • Body work
  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Cranial Sacral

Of the strategies listed, which are most accessible to you? Which are you drawn to, and which have you tried, or do you make it a practice to do? What did we leave out? How else do you relax?

The intention is to choose a simple strategy – one that you can make time for or that naturally fits your schedule – and attend to the feeling of relaxation that it creates in your body, mind, and spirit when you engage in this experience. Then enjoy, notice, and repeat…

With time, practice, and awareness, your body will be able to drop into relaxation with ease, rather than responding with tightness or constriction at the complexities of motherhood and life.

So for this month, I invite you to focus on creating a gentle practice of relaxation. Perhaps you will linger after a long soak in the tub or practice the progressive muscle relaxation… maybe you will do a body scan in the evening before bed, or notice the way your muscles and nervous system feel after a massage or yoga practice. Enjoy, notice, repeat…

Then grab a sticky note and write down this sound bite: “Deepening into Relaxation as my practice.”

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