Taking time to relax is important for our mental health. Relaxation can be as simple as listening to music or quiet time reading a book. Some children and young people find relaxation quite easy, whereas for others, relaxation needs to be learned and practised.
Some everyday ways children and young people can choose to relax include:
As well as these, it may be helpful for children or young people to use specific relaxation exercises.
Relaxation exercises can help children and young people feel calm and improve their emotional wellbeing. In situations where a child or young person is experiencing difficult emotions, such as anger or anxiety, relaxation exercises can help manage the physical and emotional responses to these feelings. The exercises may help distract them from worrying thoughts and reduce tension in their body. Relaxation can also help children and young people deal with stressful situations, e.g. exams, or cope with a significant change, loss or bereavement.
Some things to think about when trying relaxation exercises with children and young people:
This is one of the simplest types of relaxation exercise, and is sometimes known as deep breathing or belly breathing.
This focuses on the mind rather than the body by using stories describing relaxing places that encourage feelings of calm.
Being mindful is about being fully aware of living in the present moment and can help calm the mind.
This is used to help notice the difference between tension and relaxation in different parts of the body. At first it may feel uncomfortable or strange for the child or young person to be focusing on their body, but this will become easier and can become enjoyable over time.