Relaxation is key. It is the key to so many things we do. The funny thing is that when you hear about meditation and relaxation it might give you anxiety.
"I don't have time for it." "I don't know how to meditate." "I don't know how to slow down." "My mind races too much."
The beautiful thing is that it doesn't have to take long and it doesn't have to be fancy. At all. Seriously. It only takes a few minutes. Not even a few. Just even one.
If you are pregnant, relaxation is key to dealing with opinions and research. It's key to quieting your mind at night when the baby is kicking and your due date is looming. It is key to dealing with a care provider that isn't on the same page as you and you might be stressed about how to get what you want. It is key to dealing with the unknown.
If you are post partum you are tired and feel like all you do is nurse. You are healing and resting and yet want to do things like a normal human being again. You might be stressed about too much milk, not enough milk, latch, and how many wet diapers baby is having. What about the times when you just don't know why baby is crying.
This is where bringing your focus onto your breath and just inhaling and exhaling will serve you.
You can do it right now. Inhale, exhale. Let the other thoughts go and just deeply and purposefully inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Let your exhale be longer than your inhale. Let your body relax, even if it's just a little bit. If you have thoughts racing, that's ok, let them come and go and bring yourself back to the focus of your breath.
That is self love and self care, right there. You are taking time for yourself. It can be in the car, on the subway, on the ferry, in the restroom, on the couch, in a coffee shop. Just stop and focus on your breath. You don't even have to close your eyes. I focus on my breath and purposefully relax often when I am driving and feeling anxious or when I am in public and it all seems so loud and intense and overwhelming.
I always have my breath. It's right there. It reminds me that I am alive and I'm ok and that I can be calm and relaxed even when it seems really hard.
Relaxation is something that we talk about and I teach in each of my Bradley Method childbirth classes. I believe that taking deep belly breathes and purposefully relaxing your body is key to coping with labor and childbirth. But it extends to far beyond that in all of life.
Take a few seconds and breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth, gently and easily. Relax your face and let your shoulders drop, let your hands and fingers relax. If you are pregnant, with your inhale say (aloud or to yourself), "my body contains all the knowledge necessary to birth my baby." exhale, "I choose peace."
If you are postpartum, inhale " I trust my body, my mind, and my heart" exhale, "I choose peace".
For everyone inhale "I am here, right now, alive and breathing" exhale, "I choose peace."
Repeat 10 times.
Do this as many times during the day as you need. Come up with your own mantras or just focus on your breathe. It is also good practice to do it even when you feel good. You are training your mind to relax and slow down and your body will relax as well in response.
Love and light to you!!