6. Support for you the carer > Looking after your own health and wellbeing

Looking after your own health and wellbeing

7) Relaxation techniques

Visualisation techniques

  • Visualisation– This means using your imagination to help you focus on something you find peaceful. Once you have mastered the deep breathing technique you can add visualisation for deeper relaxation. Start with the deep breathing exercise as before and once your breathing has slowed down and you feel comfortable, close your eyes and think of a place special to you. This may be a beach, at a picturesque view, in woodland, in a garden or beside a log fire, it’s your choice. Try to picture what is around you. What do you hear, what can you smell? The more vivid the recollection the better as you will be come immersed in the details. A relaxation CD played quietly in the background can help. Choose one with no recognisable tunes and no lyrics as this may act as a distraction. Once you have been in a relaxed state for 10 to 20 minutes, slowly open your eyes and stretch your muscles.
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation– Some people find it difficult to realise when their muscles are tense. This technique can help you by focusing on what the muscle groups feel like when extra tense and then extra relaxed. Start in the same way with the deep breathing technique until your breathing rate is slow and controlled. Place your arms by your side. Starting at your feet tense your foot muscles- hold the tension for a silent count of ten and then release the tension. Notice the difference in the tension and the relaxation. As you relax imagine each area of your body in turn becoming warm, comfortable and heavy. Move up the areas of the body, each time tensing then relaxing. From feet, calf, thigh, buttocks, lower back. Arms from hands, forearms and upper arms, shoulders, neck and face. Rest for a while as you feel the difference between feeling tense and feeling relaxed. There are audio tapes and CD’s with progressive relaxation method available to buy. Ask your practice nurse if they have relaxation information. Or go to Steps for Stress website for a free relaxation CD.

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