- Count backwards: Slowly, while lying in bed, count backwards from 100. Take your time – if you forget or hesitate about what number you’re on, start over from 100. Don’t allow yourself to get frustrated. Doing a monotonous activity like this can have the effect of making you sleepy.
- Analyze your sleep cycle: Record your sleep data, perhaps by tracking it in a journal or using an app on an electronic device. Once you identify your sleeping pattern, you can potentially identify problems and find ways to mediate them.
- Guided visualization: Relax your body from head to toe, and imagine yourself in a calming location (e.g. a beach). Go through each of the senses that you would imagine in that place: the smell, the sights, the sounds.
- Find ways to reduce anxiety: Subconscious anxiety or stress can impede on sleep. Check out your EFAP resources for ideas (enter “dalhousie” in the search bar) on how to reduce stress, such as mindfulness exercises, yoga or medication.
- Alternate nostril breathing: Using your finger to press on each of your nostrils while slowly breathing out of the adjacent open nostril can relax your nervous system.
- Improve your diet or exercise routine: Exercise can release endorphins that balance stress and releasing that energy throughout the day can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Eating a healthier diet, and changing up when you eat (e.g. not eating right before sleep) can also mediate uneasiness or insomnia.
- Take a deep breath. Stress causes our breathing to become shallow and allows for less oxygen to be pumped into the body, which can reduce energy levels and mental clarity. Close your eyes and focus on the rhythm of your breathing. Breathe in for 3 counts (1-2-3) and hold the breath before slowly exhaling for 3 counts 1-2-3). Pause and count to 3 before inhaling again, and repeat. You should feel your abdomen expanding when you inhale, and emptying when you exhale.
- Leave the tension behind. Sometimes, muscle tension can be difficult to consciously notice, but it is one of our bodies’ most common responses to stress. Choose a comfortable position, and gently close your eyes and slowly tense the mucsles of the face. Hold for a few seconds before slowly and gently relaxing the mucsles, letting go of the tension. Continue this with other muscle groups, and work your way down to your feet.
- Meditate. Achieving peace of mind can be accomplished by the popular method of meditation. Choose a quiet spot, sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Relax your muscles from head to feet and become aware of the tension as you breathe in and let it go as out breathe out. Continue for 5-15 minutes.
Stress Coach Connects is an interactive program designed to help you assess, understand and manage your stress, on your time, at your pace.
Learn more at https://www.workhealthlife.com/Article/Read/stress-coach-connects
(search “Dalhousie” on the landing page to access all that Dal’s EFAP has to offer.)
NOTE: No one at Dalhousie will know you have used any EFAP services – confidentiality is assured.
July is relaxation month, why not take a break from your busy schedule and book yourself a massage.
There are many health advantages to recharging your body, mind and soul – you owe it to yourself and family to take some time out for you.
Registered massage therapists are eligible practitioners under Dalhousie’s health spending account: http://web.medavie.bluecross.ca/en/groups/additional-options/health-spending-accounts-hsa
To find a registered massage therapist visit: http://www.mtans.ca/member-directory/
Test your limits or find a quiet spot to reflect: