Mindfulness and Self-Care Strategies 

 

1. Progressive Muscle Relaxation

We are pleased to offer a free Progressive Muscle Relaxation audio. This is a free tool to decrease your body’s physiological response to stress. To access this audio file hit the play button below. 

Progressive Muscle Relaxation - Dr. Scott Sautter
00:00 / 00:00

2. Mindfulness Coach

Mindfulness Coach is a free training program created by the U.S Department of Veteran Affairs. This program offers beginner and advanced training in mindfulness and allows you to track your progress over time. It is an application that can be downloaded for free on your smartphone, tablet or iPad. Click here to download this free application.

3. HEADSPACE

Headspace is a mindfulness and relaxation tool which is available online (click here). This tool is also available as an application that can be downloaded onto your smartphone, tablet, or iPad. This program is free to download but offers in-app purchases after a two-week free trial.

4. CALM

CALM is a mindfulness and relaxation tool which is available online (click here). Alternatively, this tool is available as an application that can be downloaded onto your smartphone, tablet, or iPad. This program is free to download but offers in-app purchases after a two-week trial.

5. Breathe2Relax

Breathe2Relax is a free stress reduction tool. It is an application that can be downloaded for free on your smartphone, tablet or iPad. Breathe2Relax includes several breathing exercises which can decrease your body’s physiological response to stress.

6. Mindshift

Mindshift is a free cognitive-behavioral relaxation tool. It is an application that can be downloaded for free on your smartphone, tablet or iPad. Mindshift includes several breathing exercises, anxiety-reduction tools, and guided meditations which can decrease your body’s physiological response to stress.

 

7. Happify

Happify is a tool based on positive psychology. It is designed to help you track your mood over time, with the goal of improving your mood. This tool can aid you in building optimism and restructuring negative thoughts. To access this tool click here. 

 

8. Deep Breathing/Diaphragmatic Breathing

Deep breathing or diaphragmatic breathing is a strategy to decrease your body’s physiological response to stress. Taking slow deep breathes can decrease your body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. For free training on how to perform this relaxation technique click here or press the play button on the videos below.

 

 

 

 

9. Guided Imagery

Guided Imagery is a relaxation technique to help you to relax your mind and body. This free imagery technique can be downloaded as an audio file. Click on the tracks below to access this free tool.

01 Track 1Guided Imagery
00:00 / 12:38
02 Track 2Guided Imagery
00:00 / 10:24

 

Free Self-Care Strategies

There are several free self-care strategies you can engage in to improve your physical and mental health. Consider incorporating the following strategies into your daily routine:

1. Exercise

  • Engaging in regular light aerobic exercise can reduce feelings of restlessness, and improve your mood.

  • Consider walking at a brisk pace, playing ping-pong, or engaging in yoga for 20-30 minutes 3-5 times a week.

2. Sleep

  • The amount and quality of sleep you receive is directly related to your energy level, mood, and cognitive function.

  • Consider setting good sleep routines, and adapt your environment to promote quality sleep (e.g. avoid stimulating activities in the evening).

  • For tips and strategies to improve sleep during times of unrest click here.

  • Click here for a free sleep hygiene training offered by the National Institute of Health.

3. Social Engagement

  • Increasing your social engagement can decrease feelings of loneliness and can increase your social support.

  • Consider routinely calling friends or family, or joining virtual support groups.

  • Whatsapp is a free communication platform to message and call friends, and Zoom is a free video platform.

 

4. Leisure Activities

  • Increase positive activities which bring you joy and make you laugh.

  • Consider painting, drawing, writing, cooking, or gardening.

 

5. Nutrition

  • Maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet is encouraged.

  • Consider limiting caffeine and substance use.

6. Set Boundaries

  • Avoid getting overwhelmed with work by setting boundaries.

  • Consider delegating tasks, scheduling breaks, and planning ahead to avoid being overloaded.

 

7. Music

  • Listening to music can boost your mood and increase your motivation.

  • Consider creating a playlist of your favorite songs, or learning to play an instrument.

  • Click here to access Pandora, a free music platform. Click here to access Spotify, available by subscription.

 

8. Journal

  • Get worries out of your mind and into a book.

  • Consider making time for self-reflection. Be intentional by making a concerted effort to focus on positive things that you are grateful for.

*If you or a loved one are experiencing extreme stress or an emergency situation, seek immediate

help by calling:

Depression Hotline: 1-630-482-9696

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Adult Protective Services: 1-757-437-3550