1. Semi-Supine Lay Down
Start to become aware of what is around you. Take in the sounds of your breath or birds chirping, see the light dancing on the ceiling, feel your back release and deepen into the floor.
This process is about non-doing, so avoid the temptation to make yourself actively do anything. Simply let yourself be and see if you are able to notice the changes that are happening.
Allow yourself to be how you are. Think of softening into the floor, allowing your breath to deepen, your neck to be free. Wish your back to be lengthening and widening. Your spine decompressing. Allow your knees, fully supported by hips and feet on the floor, to free and feel as if they are suspended by balloons.
Leave your mind to be in the present. If you notice you are starting to plan or worry, gently bring yourself back to the present by noticing what it is you see, hear, and feel.
Stay in this position for 5-20 minutes and feel free to visit it several times a day.
As you decide to return to your activities, roll to one side and gently come to sitting before resuming your day.
2. Make A List of Things You Are Worried About
Take a piece of paper and a pen and write down what is concerning you right now. Write it numerically and go until you cannot think of anything else that could possibly worry you.
Go through that list and look for things that are out of your control. You cannot control the weather, what someone else is thinking or doing, the quarantines, the economy, or the state of the world. We need to be prepared for these things, but continuing to worry or stress about them when there is nothing you can do, is not helpful for your overall health. If there’s anything you have been putting off to prepare for these events, do it! Otherwise, have a quiet thought, a prayer, and move on.
Part of being able to let go of stress and worry, is to understand where it is coming from.
Now look at your list. What is left should be things that are directly in your control.
Prioritize these items by what gives you the most anxiety or stress. Make a plan and write it down. If you are stressed about your health perhaps you need to schedule an appointment with your doctor, adjust your diet to foods that are better suited to fuel your health, implement a body practice that allows you to fully inhabit and appreciate your physicality.
Some of these changes may be big, lifestyle changes, so feel free to start small, by decluttering your email or junk drawer. Do the small things that you have been avoiding.
Remember, every single thing you do, little or otherwise, is something you hadn’t done before. It’s all about taking the next step, doing the next right thing. Try not to judge yourself if you make a misstep and instead take the next step in the direction you’d like to go.
3. Write Down Your Hopes, Dreams, and What You Are Grateful For
4. Whispered "Ahh"
Think of something that makes you genuinely smile.
Let your jaw release to open your mouth. What you don’t want is your head to pull back and down to open your mouth.
Put the tip of your tongue at the top of your lower teeth.
Wherever you are in your breath cycle simply, whisper “ah.” The stimulus will be strong to take a breath before whispering, but don’t! Also remember your genuine smile!
When you’ve finished your “ah” before you start to squeeze or add tension let your mouth close.
Let the reflex expansion of your ribs bring in breath through your nose.
Repeat! Do as many times as you like. Notice each time the sound the “ah” makes and the ease of the breath. You are looking to make a clear, bright and open sound with a reflexive, easy breath.
5. Fish Arms
You can do fish arms while sitting, standing, or lying down. To do them lying down, lay on your back or stomach with your arms down at your sides.
Feel your hands on the ground. Letting either the thumb or pinky lead, roll the hands palm to the floor, palm to the ceiling, floor, ceiling, until you’ve reached to above your head. Let the backs of your hands meet with your elbows bent. Draw your hands to your sides to repeat.
The pronation of your hands and arms is led by the thumb. This is an internal rotation rolling your arms in towards your body as you are lying down arms at your sides. The opposite then is supination, led by the pinky. This is an external rotation that if continued would raise the arms.
Notice as you are doing this, if your back and torso are changing in relation to pronation or supination.
If you are doing this while standing or sitting feel free to let pronation bring your arms forward a bit as if you were pushing on something and let supination bring your arms in line with your torso opening the front body. During this oscillation, again notice how your back, head, and neck are responding to the organization of your hands and arms. Keep in your thoughts a wish for the neck to be free, the head to go forward and up, and the back to lengthen and widen.
This is a good example of supine!
Kowtow is a place of rest. Come to all fours on the ground. Gently send your hips back allowing your knees and ankles to bend and your arms to extend out in front of you as you continue to send your hips back, softening your chest to your knees and your head to the floor. If your head does not reach the floor in this positon, you can rest it on a rolled up towel or blanket. Feel free also to place a mat or blanket beneath your knees and ankles.
Release any unnecessary tension. Let your back round and soften. You may even tuck your head so that the crown in now on the ground bring your arms in towards your torso, or hugging them to your chest.
Notice your breath. Let it deepen and allow the movements to continue to soften your back.
When you are ready to leave kowtow, pull to your elbows to come back onto your hands and knees. Raise one hip to bring its foot to the floor and then the other. Wishing again for the neck to remain free, allow a gentle look forward bring you to standing.
7. Take a Short Walk
Fairly self-explanatory here! Grab a sweater and some comfortable shoes and take a stroll. Let your mind be aware of the here and now, notice the things around you, what you hear, see, feel, and smell.
Find things to be grateful for, the ability to be out walking, the sun on your face or the breeze at your back.
8. Have a Laugh
There’s nothing quite as therapeutic as a good laugh. Watch a comedy sketch, a video of puppies playing, goat yoga, or anything that brings you joy!
If you’re looking for a challenge, because it is not easy to find when you are feeling stressed or worried, but start laughing. Laugh at nothing. Laugh even though you may not want to. Laugh until it begins to bubble up from inside of you.
You can create your own joy! You simply must start. Joy will follow.
Worry and stress can make you feel trapped in life and in your body. Take some time to stretch and awaken your body.
Take this time to get reacquainted with your body and it's needs.
Take a cue from your fur friend and stretch in the morning, regularly throughout the day, and before bed.
10. Play "Dead"
This one is a bit tricky, but is really great especially in conjunction with the Semi-Supine Lay Down/Constructive Rest.
Starting with one leg, imagine the toes as completely dead, release all muscular activity and tension, move up to include the foot and heel, then ankle, calf, knee, thigh, deep connective muscles between the leg and pelvis. Do this for both legs, both arms, the head, neck, back, and torso.
We hold a LOT of excess tension, especially when we are stressed or in pain. It's our body's way of trying to protect ourselves, but it doesn't do a whole lot of good. Learning to release and let go is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your body, your overall health, pain management, and stress relief.
BONUS: Take A Nap!