Lara Stewart-Panko

The Goodness of Guided Relaxations

Let’s think about this rationally:

Q - When do we most need to relax?

A - When we’re tense, stressed and overtaxed.

Q - When we’re tense, stressed and overtaxed, are we well-positioned to care for ourselves?

A - Nope.

Q - So when we’re in need of relaxation, could we benefit from some external TLC?

A - Absolutely!

Q - Do most of us have ready access to someone who’s going to spend 5, 10, 20 minutes soothing us?

A - Rarely. Friends and family members can be wonderful in many ways (or not), but it would certainly be an unusual occasion if one of them talked us into a zen state of body and mind. Most of us are left with yoga classes or a massage now and then when we want to reach deep states of relaxation.

Q - So, how can we easily rest and recharge in the context of our demanding lives?

A - Guided relaxations! When nap time rolls around, you can refresh yourself with 20 minutes of deep, supported chill time before you get to the tidying up. When the 10-hour stretch of caring for your children is met with a brief reprieve when your partner arrives home from work, close the door to your bedroom and press play. Gift yourself some minutes of care without even leaving the house! If you’re a single mom, your workload is colossal and your breaks may be few and far between. Nurturing amazing you with kind words backed by tranquil music is a very good thing to do.

Q - Okay, I’m sold. You say “press play”, but how do I actually best use a guided relaxation?

A - If at all possible, minimize distractions. Silence your phone, set boundaries with family members so they don’t disturb you, use ear buds if you wish. Get yourself as physically comfortable as possible, loosen a tight waistband, lay down or sit in a really comfy chair. Enter the experience with no expectations if possible; just listen to my voice and let yourself be soothed.

Q - What if I have trouble relaxing?

A - This can happen sometimes, and while it’s annoying, it’s not a permanent condition. When we’re in a phase of life where our fight or flight system gets stuck in the “on” position, it can take some coaxing to flip the switch over to ease and peace. The first time or two that you use a guided relaxation, you might find your mind wanders or your body gets restless. It’s okay, and you’re wise to accept the fidgeting and just keep coming back to the words in the recording or, intentionally breathe slowly and deeply. If you’re coping with particularly intense anxiety, sometimes other means to lower the anxiety are required first before your system is ready to really work with a guided relaxation. With practice, most of us can experience pleasant levels of rest with the support of a recording.

"I'm not only the president, I'm also a client." ~ Sy Sperling

In addition to providing guided relaxation recordings to clients for the past decade, I regularly make use of them myself. While I have lots of skills to navigate life pretty well as the sensitive person I am, some days I just don’t want to have to “work” at de-stressing. It’s just these occasions when I’ll listen to a recording (a guided relaxation, affirmations or hypnosis) to help myself regain balance and peace of mind as efficiently as possible. 100% of the recordings I offer I either make use of myself, or I certainly would if my life circumstances warranted it…I am done making babies. 😉

To see what guided relaxations I have for you, visit the MP3s page.

And if you have a baby, be sure to listen to Easier Baby Days: A Guided Relaxation. It'll give you some much-needed care. You can stream it free on my YouTube channel!

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