There are dozens of ways to relax and dozens of reasons why it's so good for you. Relaxation means different things to different people, but one thing's for sure, it is absolutely wonderful for everybody.
It's important to know that relaxing can help you deal with all sorts of difficulties that life throws at you, in this particular case, menopause.
I will write more on the different types of relaxation, but I really just want to begin here with simple breathing techniques, because if you can't stretch the budget to classes or therapies (and let's face it, it's tough for most at the moment), then at least you can contribute to your own well-being. I'll cover other ways in the future, though.
In order to learn how to relax during menopause or any time, for that matter, you should become familiar with your own breathing patterns, then you can learn to change them in ways that will help your path to relaxation. Emotions affect breathing. People who are anxious tend to hold their breath and people who are depressed, tend to sigh. Both these affect tone of voice, too, strangely.
Below are a few relaxation exercises. But first, be sure that you are somewhere quiet, free from distractions. Sit comfortably and, as far as possible, try to block out worries and distracting thoughts. That's easier said than done, I know, but at least try, because even if you manage it for five seconds, it's better than nothing and you can work on that. It'll take a few goes at any of these techniques to get good at them and you'll find a favourite, no doubt.
If your breathing is short and hurried, slow it down by taking long, slow breaths. Inhale slowly then exhale slowly. Count slowly to five as you inhale, and the same as you exhale. As you're exhaling, note how your body relaxes automatically. Recognising this change will help you to relax even more.
Imagine a spot just below your navel. Imagine your abdomen filling with air. Let the air fill you from the abdomen upwards, then let it out, like deflating a balloon. With every long, slow exhalation, you should feel more relaxed.
Find a comfortable place where you can close your eyes, and combine slow breathing with your imagination. Picture relaxation entering your body and tension leaving your body. Breathe deeply, but in a natural rhythm. Visualise your breath coming into your nostrils, going into your lungs and expanding your chest and abdomen. Then, visualise your breath going out the same way. Each time you inhale, imagine that you are breathing in more relaxation. Each time you exhale imagine that you are getting rid of a little more tension.
Progressive muscle relaxation
Switch your thoughts to yourself and your breathing. Take a few deep breaths, exhaling slowly. Mentally scan your body. Notice areas that feel tense or cramped. Quickly loosen up these areas. Let go of as much tension as you can. Rotate your head in a smooth, circular motion once or twice. (Stop any movements that cause pain!) Roll your shoulders forward and backward several times. Let all of your muscles completely relax. Recall a pleasant thought for a few seconds. Take another deep breath and exhale slowly. You should start to feel relaxed.
Relax to music
Combine relaxation exercises with your favorite music in the background. Select the type of music that lifts your mood or that you find soothing or calming. Some people find it easier to relax while listening to specially designed relaxation audio tapes, which provide music and relaxation instructions. I'll be looking at sourcing these, so check the menu.
Mental imagery relaxation
Mental imagery relaxation, or guided imagery, is a proven form of focused relaxation that helps create harmony between the mind and body. Guided imagery coaches you in creating calm, peaceful images in your mind -- a "mental escape". Identify your self-talk, that is, what you are saying to yourself about what is going on within you. It is important to identify negative self-talk and develop healthy, positive self-talk. By making affirmations, you can counteract negative thoughts and emotions. Here are some positive statements you can practice:
o I manage my time perfectly and am in control
o I am healthy, vital, and strong
o There is nothing in the world I cannot handle
o All my needs are met
o I am completely and utterly safe
o Every day in every way I am getting stronger
o I am loving and lovable
I hope you've found something here you can work with. I'll be looking at many other forms of relaxation going forward, so keep watching. But if you can suggest another form, please let me know; this site is all about sharing!