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Living Well With MBC > Looking After Yourself > Relax

 

Relax     |     Get physical     |     Sleep well     |     Be comfortable with your body     |    Sex & intimacy     |    Eating well

 

Relax

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    Taking time to relax can be a good way to manage the challenges of everyday life and living with metastatic breast cancer.2

    When it comes to relaxing, sometimes it’s easier said than done. But just like anything else, relaxation is a skill that we can learn by practicing it. Give a few things a try and see what works best for you.

    There are a lot of ways to relax. Some ways are designed to relax your mind, and some focus on relaxing your body. Because the mind and body are connected, many help relax both. Here are a few you can try. Aim to schedule at least one relaxing activity each day. Most of these activities take as little as 15 minutes to do—but why stop there? If you continue longer, your mind and your body will thank you for it!

    Relaxing your mind

    • Listen to soothing music. Find a comfortable position. Close your eyes and notice the different musical instruments, the melodies, the chorus, and the different verses.
    • Practice mindful meditation by focusing on things that are happening right now. Pay attention to your breathing: is it fast, slow, deep, or shallow? Notice your muscles: are they tense or are they relaxed? You could also listen to the sounds in your environment. Do you hear traffic, children, birds, or nothing at all? Be aware of these noises as they come and go.3
    • Use visualization to take yourself somewhere else. Imagine yourself in a place that helps you feel calm and relaxed—maybe a favorite beach, a forest, or a garden. Tune in to your senses. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What can you feel? What can you taste?4

    Focus on your breathing7,8

    When you feel anxious, worried, or fearful, your breathing may become fast and shallow. This exercise may help control your breathing and make you feel more relaxed.

    Practice this breathing exercise regularly. Then, once you’re comfortable with it, you can use it anywhere and at any time. 

    • Find a comfortable position, such as lying in bed on your back or on the floor with a pillow under your head. You may choose to sit in a chair with your shoulders, head, and neck supported.
    • Take a deep breath through your nose. Let your belly fill with air.
    • Slowly release the air through your nose.
    • Place one hand on your stomach; the other on your chest.
    • As you inhale, feel your stomach rise. As you exhale, feel it sink. The hand on your stomach should move more than the hand on your chest.
    • Repeat this 3 more times, inhaling deeply each time. Feel your belly rise and fall with each breath.

    Relaxing your body

    • Select a few yoga poses you enjoy and practice them regularly.2
    • Do some light stretching. You can stretch your fingers and toes, your arms and legs, or your torso. You can do it in a chair, on the floor, or wherever you’re most comfortable.2
    • Take a stroll around your neighborhood or do some other light physical activity—gardening and housework count too!
    • Get a massage or have someone give you a back rub.
    • Soak in a warm bath; add bubbles or an essential oil if you’d like. Pay attention to the water as it surrounds your body. Feel the bubbles, and smell the oil.
    • Have a warm drink that doesn’t have alcohol or caffeine in it, like herbal tea or warm milk. Focus on how it feels as you drink it.