While many burnout risk factors have to do with work conditions and lifestyle, your response to stress can intensify your experience, making you more inclined to burn out. As each of us reacts differently to stress, it also stands to reason that each person will respond differently to relaxation techniques, making some more effective than others.
Whether it’s yoga, meditation, focused deep breathing or rhythmic walking, finding consistent ways to fit relaxation techniques into your busy life is key.
So what techniques work best for your personality type? Here are a few tips to see which relaxation exercises better fit your needs...
1) Are you easily agitated and high strung in stressful situations? You may respond better to techniques that soothe and calm such as meditation or deep breathing exercises. Try this easy breathing technique...
1. Put yourself in a comfortable position, and place your hands on your stomach.
2. Inhale slowly and deeply, you will feel your stomach expand like a balloon.
3. Let the stomach fall as you release old, stale air by exhaling slowly.
4. Inhale easily. Feel your stomach expand again.
5. As you exhale, press the air out of your stomach.
This is the natural way of breathing, like a baby’s breath.
2) If you tend to become withdrawn under stress, you may need to find ways to incorporate more energetic techniques such as mindful walking or jogging. Try incorporating mindfulness into your sessions with these techniques...
As you walk or jog, place your attention on each step. Feel the sensations of your feet on the earth. Notice the constant rhythm of your breath as you inhale and exhale. Listen to sounds of your surroundings as well as the silence between each sound. Feel your clothing on your skin and the breeze on your face. Use all your senses to be fully present.
3) Do you prefer solitude when dealing with frustration? Guided imagery can help support your time to rejuvenate and relax. For a simple guided relaxation exercise try this...
Find a comfortable position to sit. Close your eyes and imagine yourself walking through a woods. Feel your feet on the earth as each step takes you deeper into the woods. In your mind's eye, notice the sights and colors...the earthy shades of green and the vibrancy of the sun. Listen to the the birds flitting through the trees and the complete silence between the sounds. Now see yourself taking a seat, feeling the earth beneath you. Feel the embrace of the earth and the warmth of the sun on your face. Feel your body relax as you breathe deep and slow. Breath in the fresh, crisp air and the smell of the pine trees. Feel how the earth completely restores and rejuvenates your body as you rest. When you’re ready, gently open your eyes, slowly move your hands and feet as you come back to the present moment.
4) Maybe you’re a social butterfly and enjoy the assurance of others company. Perhaps joining a yoga class or meditation group would fortify your relaxation time best. As you begin your yoga practice, keep these easy tips in mind...
Take time to connect to your body. Notice any areas that may feel tight and be mindful of these areas as you move through your practice. Honor your body and if you feel increased tension, back off or take time to rest. Allow your breath to be your teacher. Listen to your body’s feedback. If you’re breath becomes short and choppy, it’s a cue to slow down. If you find you’ve lost your breath altogether, it’s time to back off and take an easier version of the pose or rest. Let go of the urge to compete or judge yourself against other students. As you let go of judgment you can allow yourself to receive the benefits of reduced anxiety, improved flexibility, strength and balance.
The key is to find a technique that resonates with your lifestyle and your needs. Explore combining a few different practices and see what keeps you inspired. Remember, the best and most effective relaxation practice may not be the same from day to day, but is one that you will do every day!