Sometimes a horrible day is made a bit better with self-care: a little time by yourself to recharge or maybe change your perspective.
A good way to start off your week is to be intuned with your thoughts, feelings and how you move throughout the world.
Read on for a few strategies we find helpful to turn a horrid day around.
Please note: Stop any of our mindful suggestions if you become light headed or dizzy. Make sure to practice within your own range of abilities and limits. Please consult with a doctor before practicing if you have any medical concerns.
PROGRESSIVE MUSCLE RELAXATION
Progressive muscle relaxation can help alleviate tension because as your body begins to relax then so will your mind.
Find a quite and calm spot to lie down on your back and stretch out comfortably. Start with the muscles in your feet and then slowly move up through the body tensing and relaxing the intended muscles. Remember you should feel tightness in the muscle but not pain.
- For a few minutes take slow deep breaths through your nose
- Still breathing deeply begin to focus on your right foot and how it feels then squeeze it tightly for 4 – 10 seconds. Try to only squeeze your right foot muscles.
- Relax your right foot and focus on the tension flowing away
- In this relaxed state take a few slow deep breaths
- Now shift your attention to your left foot and use an identical sequence on it
- Systematically move up through the body tensing and releasing muscle groups
Order for Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Right then Left Foot
- Right then Left Calf
- Right then Left Thigh
- Hips & Buttocks
- Right then Left Arm & Hand
- Neck & Shoulders
For more detailed list of muscle group and how to specifically tense them then refer to WebMD’s Progressive Muscle Relaxation reference
Ahimsa is the practice of non-harming in all aspects of life: physical, mental, or emotional.
It not only refers to your actions towards other people and things, but your actions toward your own self.
Think about how you go about your day usually and how you can act with more kindness to others, yourself, and your surroundings.
You can practice ahimsa by:
- trying to be open to another person’s opinions (maybe one that you had shut down in the past)
- allow yourself latitude to make a mistake
- riding your bike or walking instead of driving your car
Notice any positive changes in yourself once you start actively practicing ahimsa.
Refer to YD’s previous MLK day blog post for more information about practicing Ahisma and other forms of nonviolent communication.
Reading a Good Book
There is nothing like a few minutes spent without the distraction of any screens to help calm the mind and make you feel a bit better.
If you don’t have time to for yoga but want to deepen your practice in other ways, Heather Honstein, a beloved Yoga District teacher, shares some of her picks for yoga-related books:
- Light on Pranayama by BKS Iyengar
- Freud and Yoga: Two Philosophies of Mind Compared by Hellfried Krusche, T.K.V. Desikachar & Marie Hodges
- Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Yogi Swatmarama and Muktibodhananda Saraswati
- The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami by Radhanath Swami
- Yoga and Psychotherapy: The Evolution of Consciousness by Swami Rama, Swami Ajaya, and Rudolpy Ballentine
You can find Heather’s other book recommendations at YD’s previous Self-Care during the Holidays blog post.
If you are interested in more self-care & relaxation tips then check out our Mindful Tips for Dealing with Thanksgiving Stress blog post.