How many times has someone told you to “let it go”? This can seem like the most challenging thing to do at times but what if i told you it didn’t have to be? Here is an activity for you to practice letting go of tensions in your body. The more your body adjusts to feeling this release, the easier it will be to let things go in your everyday life. Invite your partner or children to do this with you daily or even multiple times a day, if you’d like.
Begin by laying down in a comfortable position. Spend a few moments paying attention to your breath. Without changing it, just listen to it’s natural rhythm and allow it to help you settle into the ground (or bed). Now you are going to bring your attention to each part of your body, starting at the tips of your toes and ending at the crown of your head. As you think of each part, tense the muscles in that body part, and then let them relax, until you have invited your full body to relax.
First bring your awareness to your toes. Scrunch them up as tight as you can, hold them there for a few seconds, and then let them rest. Now tense up both of your feet, and when you release them, imagine that they are very heavy.
Begin to tighten the muscles in your calves and around your knees. Try counting to five before letting them relax. Next squeeze all the muscles in your legs. You may squeeze so hard that your legs may lift off the ground a little bit. Relax your muscles and feel your legs settle into the ground.
How is your breath right now? You might notice that you’re holding onto it when you squeeze and exhaling as you release your muscles. Start bringing awareness to how your exhales may bring you deeper into relaxation. Next, hug your belly in towards your spine for a few seconds, and then let your belly get soft. Relax your back into the floor.
Scrunch your shoulders up to your ears, then release them down your spine, creating space in between your shoulders and ears. Make your hands into super tight fists, and squeeze all of the muscles in your arms. Just like your legs, they may lift off the ground. Release your arms and hands, letting them rest by your sides with palms up.
Close your eyes tightly and squeeze your lips together. Hold your face in this tense position for your count of five, and then let your whole face relax. Release your jaw and your tongue, like you have a mouth full of water. Take a breath in, and when you exhale, let out a sigh through your mouth
Take a minute to pay attention to your whole body. Are there any parts that still feel tense or not very relaxed? Tense that spot up, and then let go, until you’ve relaxed each part of you. Rest for as long as you’d like.
Have you ever been so busy that you ate a full meal without actually tasting it? Everyday we think about food, preparing food, spending money on food, and eating food. But sometimes, our minds are so full that we eat without fully experiencing what is going into our bodies. In this activity, we will explore all of the sensations of eating a piece of dried fruit. We’ll talk about a raisin, but you can try this with any food you’d like.
Pick up your raisin. You will eat it but not just yet. First explore the raisin with your hands. What does it feel like? Wrinkly? Sticky? Is it heavy or light? Feel the texture of it’s skin and notice it’s temperature.
After you’ve explored it with touch, start to explore it with your sense of sight. Notice the color- is it even all the way around? Is it shiny or dull? Now see if you can smell your raisin. First, just hold it up to your nose. Then slowly move it away from your nose. How strong is it’s smell? Can you still smell it a foot away?
Our next sense to explore with, is listening. To listen, hold the raisin up to your ear, and lightly move it in between your fingers. Does it make any sounds?
Now it’s time to use your sense of taste! Go ahead and put the raisin in your mouth. Try not to chew at first. Notice what the raisin feels like on your tongue and if you can taste it without even chewing it. When you are ready, start chewing slowly and notice everything- the taste, the texture, and your thoughts (maybe you can hear more sounds?). When you are finished have another raisin and notice if there is a difference between the two.
This is a great activity to do for snack time or the beginning of meal time. It will bring more connection between you and your food but also help you slow down around meal time. This also teaches children about their senses and how to use them to find presence in their day. Notice how you begin to fully experience your food and don’t be so surprised when you discover a love for a food you thought you didn’t like. Bon appetit!