Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is a great tool for reducing tension in your body and mind. By tensing and relaxing muscles, you are signaling to your brain feelings of relaxation. You can focus on the present moment and work on body awareness. This can be done by following a script or watching a video to start and then it can come more naturally. This is a skill that can be done at home or even at work if you are feeling tension.

Warning: Do not overextend yourself or do anything that could cause pain. Do this skill with caution if you have preexisting physical health conditions. Consult your doctor if you have concerns.

Here is a visual to help you get started:

Here is a PMR script to follow:

  • hands (make fists)
  • arms (make fists and tense your forearms, biceps and triceps)
  • shoulders (raise shoulders up as high as possible)
  • forehead (wrinkle your forehead, lowering eyebrows)
  • eyelids (shut them tightly)
  • face (scrunch up nose and raise lips and cheeks)
  • tongue and mouth (distort muscles around mouth, push tongue against roof of mouth)
  • neck (push chin down toward chest)
  • chest (take deep breath and hold it)
  • back (arch your back)
  • stomach (tense abdominal muscles)
  • buttocks/glutes (squeeze together)
  • thighs (tense quads and hamstrings)
  • calves (point toes downward)
  • ankles and feet (curl toes, heels out)

Here is one of my favorite and go-to PMR videos!

Grow your Self-Care Garden

Self-care isn’t just about getting into a bubble bath with a face mask on. It is about being intentional about taking care of all aspects of your health, be it physical, mental, social, and emotional.

Here are some self-care examples:

Physical – Sleep, drinking enough water, regular exercise, physical therapy if needed, going outside for fresh air, stretching, deep breathing, meditation/yoga

Emotional – Lowering stress, being grateful, journaling, me-time, doing hobbies, laughing, smiling

Mental – Reading, putting down technology (digital detoxes!), setting goals, meditating, telling yourself positive affirmations (more information on this in future blog!)

Social – Time with friends and family, being present and mindful in the moment

Health – Less sugar and caffeine, vitamins, taking medication as prescribed, healthy foods, doctor check-ups, hygiene, exercise

An exercise we did in my group one week was to build a “Self-Care Garden”. This consisted of the seeds you want to plant (positive self-care that we are keeping), weeds we want to eliminate (harmful practices and habits), and what we want to grow (what to add in the future).

What are we keeping?
-sleeping well
-going outside
-drinking water
-eating healthy foods
-deep breathing
What don’t we want to keep?
-Not sleeping or eating well
-toxic relationships
-junk food
-not sleeping
What do we want to improve?
-more energy
-more happiness
-feel healthier
-better confidence
-better relationships
Our Self-Care Garden Chart

Here is a picture of our self-care garden!

Now that you have planted your garden, set an intention for self-care one day this week. Comment your intention for this week!