December's Topic of the Month - Relaxation (We want to hear your tips and experiences)

December's Topic of the Month - Relaxation (We want to hear your tips and experiences)

Our ‘Topic of the Month’ in December will be, ‘Relaxation’

We have reached that time of the year when stress levels can reach a peak - the festive season! There couldn't be a better time for us to collect tips and advice about relaxation for some essential stress management.

Relaxation is one of the most important and effective self-help activities for people with lupus. It can be a very useful measure to prevent the development of stress and anxiety, and at the end of the day to help you sleep. Stress is well known to worsen the symptoms of lupus and can result in a flare, so by controlling your exposure, you are likely to feel better in mind and body.

We’d really love to hear if you have any tips for relaxing and managing stress. Do you have any good techniques or activities that help you to relax better? Have you made any lifestyle changes which have allowed you to manage your stress more effectively?

We would like to hear all of your tips and experiences and we’ll compile them towards the end of the month for an article. Please share in the comments section below, or email paul@lupusuk.org.uk

The article itself will be posted on the LUPUS UK Blog at lupusuk.org.uk/category/blog/

All submissions will be anonymised.

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  • This is what I need I can't wait for this article to be ready😀.

  • A warm bath with Epsom salts followed by a good Nordic Noir, dogs cuddled up with me on sofa and a large g&t - but failing that (alcohol not allowed on my new med regime) a cup of Green & Black's hot chocolate made with almond milk. It helps if I have managed a good walk earlier too.

  • Thanks for sharing your tips Twitchytoes :)

  • If I am so lucky as to be able to go for a walk along the beach, especially when the UV light is not strong, which is now in winter months...or listening to Windam Hill - great guitar and acoustic music or I will burn some lavender oil or use a roll on with various oils, those that are uplifting during the day and those for stress, very effective....no alcohol for me, just de-caff tea...ML

  • For me meditation is first in my stress management techniques. Be at peace with myself. Religious activities such as prayers and retreats when possible. And when it is not possible due to pain then giving me permission to rest and take care of me.

    A good attitude towards illness is of benefit, only my body has an illness, not "me", this disease is not me. I am the same as before the diagnosis.

    And at the same time I acknowledge that sometimes I need extra hours of sleep or not going to some parties, and it is ok, and I won't let anyone to shame me into attending all of them. Social pressure doesn't mix with my meds.

    Hugs, laughs and massages are most welcome!

    Sam

  • Thanks for sharing your tips and experiences 1sam. Did you learn meditation from a practitioner, or were you self-taught? Are there particular types of meditation that you find the most helpful?

  • From a couple of buddhist teachers, but also there are some apps for that (Headspace, Insight timer

    Mindfulness, shamatha, anapanasati and loving-kindness are my favorites.

    Basically you breathe, relax and focus on 1 thing at a time, either object or feeling. They say it rewires your brain, I am no expert but it is really soothing. Enjoy!

  • Hi 1sam,

    That's great. Thank you for sharing the names of some of your favourite apps. I'm sure they'll be helpful.

  • Hi Paul

    Looking forward to this article. I can add that mindfulness practice each day has helped me greatly and listening to my favourite music. Relaxation CD's are also a good de- stresser.

  • Thanks misty14. Were you taught mindfulness by anyone, or did you learn it yourself?

  • Hi Paul

    I read an article about it by Andy Puddicombe as had been wanting to learn relaxation techniques. He does Headspace.com. I tried the free trial for ten days and have never looked back.

    Thank you to you and all staff at Lupus Uk for your hard work. Hope you all have a lovely Christmas. Misty.

  • Great, thanks misty14. Somebody else has recommended Headspace too. I hope you have a really lovely Christmas too.

  • Hi, i find writing and art journalling a very good way to unwind. Sometimes when the pain gets too much to bear i write all the negative words to do with the pain down in my journal,maybe do some drawing, doodling because once written in ink for me it is a kind of release. I can do this any time of day or night, infact i find that being awake at three in the morning because i want to cut away my itchy skin or self-harm because the medication for pain relief is not working - just picking up a pen, opening a double clean cream page and filling it with all i am feeling is wonderful. I have many journals/diaries that hold a wealth of thoughts, dreams, ideas, words and art and miraculously i am still here,living a vague kind of life.

  • Thank you so much for sharing your tip and experiences Julymoon. I'm so glad that journaling can be such a positive release for you.

  • I find going for a walk with my family helps. A relaxing bath. Reading. Resting, Time with my friends when I need to relax but have a giggle and company too. The odd glass of wine. But if I have the money I love a Reflexology treatment - I literally fall asleep. Not working since July has also helped me a lot but I am very aware that not everyone has the luxury of that choice. It's really important to find things that work for you, as we are all different.

  • Thank you for sharing your tips Wendy39. What first drew you towards trying reflexology?

  • If you have the time and space a dog is a great friend and will encourage you to walk even on a bad day. When they fetch your slippers....relax.

  • in the morning (when I have a slow a.m.) I lay in bed longer. During the day I meditate & often before going to bed I listen to a relaxation app. If I'm wound up sometimes I'll Color to start the relaxation process. My colouring book has no small prints as that just gives me more stress. When I'm on public transit I put earbuds in whether I am listening to anything or not. That keeps me in my quiet space. Just a couple of my go to's.

  • Thank you for sharing your tips Sheole. What relaxation app do you use?

  • Your welcome Paul. I have downloaded Buddhify. It has many short meditations. The other is Relax & Rest. It has 3 longer meditations. Both Apps are free or minimal one time cost.

  • If you like and can manage a dog, they can really be a best friend. I rescued mine, and now, as the saying goes, he's rescued me (I live on my own). Fortunately he's a 50/50 greyhound/whippet, a breed which are surprisingly couch potatoes. Nearly every day I can let him force me out for a short walk, for him to catch up on doggie sniff twitter. Always the same route, so I know exactly where I can sit on a handy garden wall. Other than that, all he needs is about 20 minutes on his own in the garden, running for his own great pleasure. If it's raining hard he has a horror of going for a walk, which suits me. When I have walked him, it always lifts my spirits. Hard to feel down with a happy dog.

    As my name suggests, I'm a knitter. With special cubic needles which are easy on the hands I can do plenty of mindless knitting, going "knit one, purl one" or counting stitches in my head. I do this and get lost in an audiobook, BBC Radio 4, or, for me, the Bible being read. Eventually I've even produced something after mindlessness. My version of mindfulness.

    My pain management specialist highly approves of me being a compulsive knitter. Occupational therapist approved a lot too. The added benefit is that it helps with the renaud's.

  • Sleep-phones. No, really, these exist. I am such an idiot for not having scored some of these sooner.

    I have a really hard time sleeping, especially in winter when pain gets even worse. As a result, I get tense, overtired, grumpy and stressed. I also have anxiety issues. I've tried listening to music before going to bed, but regular earbuds hurt my ears, and the over-ear headphones are of course impossible to sleep in. Recently, I scored sleep-phones - these are literally small stereos mounted into a type of headband which you can wear while sleeping. Mine are bluetooth enabled so I run sleep apps on my iPhone (with binaural feedback which is supposed to have a almost subliminal effect on the brain for relaxation). They are light, comfortable to wear, headband is washable, and even when I'm lying on my side, I can't really feel the speakers at all. These things are amazing, truly. I'd heartily recommend asking Santa for some if you want to listen to relaxing music at bedtime, or anytime really, but struggle with pain with earbuds or find over-ear phones too heavy.

    The Dutchman's mum has gifted me one of her huge crystal singing bowls, which I use to help me relax. The sound is incredible! Sometimes just sitting with the bowl and listening to the sound is enough to bring my anxiety down a fair bit.

    I do a fair bit of yoga as well. Being a bigger lass, I tend to follow the 'Curvy Yoga' program designed by a yoga instructor in the US - it's not really even about being able to do poses and be a pretzel, but more a state of mind thing in her teachings. If all I can do that day is sit on my yoga ball and take some deep breaths, yay, I'm doing yoga. I usually feel a lot better for it. I still try to do some asanas to keep my joints from seizing up but mostly this time of year I'm about trying to relax, go with the flow, and trying to accept I'm at my lowest ebb in the year. I'll feel more energy in spring. This time of the year I turn into a big kid - this is supposed to be a fun time! Sparkly lights, glitter, and entirely too many minced pies! So I enjoy it. If I'm not enjoying it, I just ...don't do it. Don't force anything. Don't allow for obligations rather than fun. Easier said than done for some, but it's a rule I live by.

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