How to Relax
Feelings of anxiety, worries, low mood, irritability and sleep problems are all common after a mild head injury. If you experience any of these symptoms, you might benefit from practising the relaxation exercises below.
There are hundreds of ways to relax. If you have something that works for you then please use it. Some people relax by gardening, walking, swimming, reading a book. However, your symptoms might mean that you have stopped participating in activities that you previously found relaxing.
Relaxation is also a skill that can be learned and becomes easier and easier with practise. The exercises below might help you with this. Initially it is advisable to practise relaxation at least once per day for up to 30 minutes. It can also be helpful to plan times for relaxation into your day.
Breathing exercises can help you calm down when you are feeling stressed, anxious, dizzy or lightheaded, by breathing slowly and steadily.
Imagery training is focused more on mental tension and can help you relax when you are nervous, anxious or worrying a lot.
It involves picturing yourself in a pleasant scene and heightening sensory awareness, allowing yourself to relax and distract you from your worries.
You might like to use the YouTube video below called "the Seat" to guide you.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) involves tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups, one by one. This can help you relax when you are feeling anxious or tense, or if you are experiencing difficulty falling asleep.
Click on the YouTube video below to start the exercise. It will take about 20 minutes. Make sure that you are lying down in a quit and comfortable place before you start.
To switch to full screen, click the full screen icon in the bottom corner of the video player.
How to do it:
You can do the exercise standing up, sitting in a chair that supports your back, or lying on a bed or yoga mat on the floor.
Make yourself as comfortable as you can. If you can, loosen any clothes that restrict your breathing.
If you're lying down, place your arms a little bit away from your sides, with the palms up. Let your legs be straight, or bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor.
If you're sitting, place your arms on the chair arms.
If you’re sitting or standing, place both feet flat on the ground. Whatever position you're in, place your feet roughly hip-width apart.
You can use the YouTube video to guide you.
Let your breath flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable, without forcing it.
Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Breathe in gently and regularly. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from one to five. You may not be able to reach five at first.
Then, without pausing or holding your breath, let it flow out gently, counting from one to five again, if you find this helpful.
Keep doing this for three to five minutes.