Real Relaxation on Bed Rest
BREATHING There are lots of fabulous ways to calm the body and mind through breathing. Here are two.
1) Take a deep inhale through your nose. Pause slightly at the end of the inhale, and then exhale through the nose, making the exhale last twice as long as the inhale. Think about sipping air in and out—long actions that engage the deep muscles of the core and that fill the lungs with as much air as possible. Slow and steady. Visualize oxygen penetrating every cell of your body, bringing life and health. Not only will this calm your body and ease tension, it will also help to improve your lung capacity.
2) If sleep is not coming easily, or if your body is tense, begin this breathing exercise by slowing and lengthening your breath (nose breathing). Take a few cleansing breaths, and then start sending breath to your toes—asking them to relax. Every exhale, let a body part relax, slowly moving up your body until you reach your forehead. Yes, it is the mental visualization as much as the physical relaxation of your breath that will calm you. Chances are you will be asleep before you reach your head.
MASSAGE Whether at the spa or in home, massage can be a great way to relax. It is excellent for increasing circulation and easing muscle tension, which will make lying down seem luxurious, rather than binding. If a full massage is not an option, try lying on your back with your legs and feet in the air (knees bent, legs to either side of body), and give yourself a foot and calf massage. Just having the feet in the air will improve circulation, and you may be surprised at the tension you can work out of your own feet, and how that will penetrate up the body.
STRETCHES Do ask your doctor if these stretches/exercises are right for you while on bed rest, but don’t be surprised when she looks at you as if you’re an A+ student going above and beyond. These stretches are simple, but will help to ease out the kinks of being sedentary, and therefore, will make you feel a little better! Remember, a good stretch is always accompanied with deep and steady breathing. Check out “Stretches For Bed Rest.”