Be proactive: Mindfulness and relaxation

It is very important to be attentive to yourself, to keep checking yourself to notice any minute change.  At least once a day do a complete check of your general wellbeing with a mindfulness technique, like meditation, to see how you are doing.  You can do a shorter simplified version of this exercise several times a day to measure how you are feeling, and to give yourself a little relaxation and rest during the day. Here is an exercise you can do that checks the whole body while relaxing you:

Progresive relaxation technique:

  • Get into a comfortable position, preferably sitting or lying down.  You can do this already in bed, it will help you sleep.
  • Close your eyes and take three deep breaths, inhaling though your nose and exhaling through your mouth, exhale with an “Aaaahhh” sound, letting go of tension.
  • Breathe deeply and slowly through your nose.  Focus your attention on your feet.  Wiggle your toes, make circles with your ankles, tense your toes opening them as far as they will go, and release them, relaxing them completely.  Check to see if any joint is sensitive, or if there is pain anywhere on your feet.  Make a mental note if anything comes up.
  • Now focus your attention on your calves, move them, tense them, and then relax them.  Check if they are painful or sensitive, if you notice anything make a mental note of it.
  • Continue going up your knees, your thighs, your buttocks doing the same  tensing and relaxing and check up of every part, and noting anything painful or sensitive.
  • Focus on your abdomen, inhale deeply and make it a balloon, as far as it will go.  Exhale all the air, tucking in your belly and compressing your chest to get out all the air.  Check if this movement makes anything hurt.  Then get back to deep slow breahthing and check all your organs, feel if any part of your belly is tender or painful.  You can help yourself with your hands, pessing down gently on your abdomen, in all its area.  Make a note if anything is painful.
  • Now concentrate on your back.  Tense all the muscles of your back and then release them.  Note if anything is uncomfortable.  Be especially aware of the kidney area, feel for pain or tenderness.  Also make a mental note of any aches in your back.
  • Tense your arms and shoulders, rotate your shoulders, your elbows and your wrists, extend your fingers and make a fist.  See if any movement is uncomfortable.  Make a mental note and then let go.  Relax them completely.
  • Then go up to your face and neck.  Tense all of it, scrunch up your face and let go, relax.
  • Have a notebook by your side.  Write down anything that came up, any aches or pains you noticed.  This will be your record of your daily wellbeing.  Keeping up with your syptoms is vitally important to be on top of the illness.
  • After jotting everything down, go back to your comfortable position, close your eyes again and scan your whole body, relaxing it completely.
  • Now focus your attention on your emotions.  Did any emotions come up for you today.  Which? Where in your body did you feel them?  Are they gone or still lingering?  Also make a note of them in your notebook.
  • Take a minuet to review your day, and write down anything significant that happened, any circumstances, feelings, news, anything out of the ordinary that ocurred.  After this entry, let everything go.  Just close your eyes and let the day go while you relax. 
  • If you are in bed, go to sleep, if not, open your eyes and continue with your day.