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Care Series | Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercise

Caring.

In this series starting on R U OK? day, we look at ways you can support your family members or friend managing fertility struggles.

We recognise that the decision to pursue fertility treatment can be an emotive and difficult one. However, it can be really hard to understand the distress of infertility diagnosis, and impact infertility treatment and loss unless you’ve’ lived it yourself. If someone you love is going through fertility struggles right now there are some things you can do to support them.
Be mindful of important dates. Take time to check in.
Remind your friend or family member that our counsellors, Brooke Calo and Julie Potts, are available free of charge and in total confidence throughout your journey with Fertility SA. It can be a huge relief to talk to someone who fully understands the ups and downs associated with infertility, as well as the unique aspects of your treatment, and dealing with pregnancy loss.
Find us on Instagram or Facebook with more care shares from the series.
Brooke suggested a mindful relaxation exercise to all FertilitySA staff, however it can help anyone through a stressful period.
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Here is Brooke’s suggested exercise:

Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight; eyes can be closed or open.

Notice your breath, pay attention for at least 10 breaths in and out.

Inhale through your nose for a counts of 5-8 exhale through your mouth for a count of 5-8.

Continue this breathing throughout.

Tense each of your muscle groups for 10 seconds then relax for 10 seconds:

  • Feet – curl your toes then relax
  • Calves – flex your toes towards your body then relax
  • Thighs – push your feet firmly to the floor or flex outwards then relax
  • Buttocks – tighten then relax
  • Lower back – roll your back into a smooth arc then relax
  • Upper back – pull your shoulders forward then relax
  • Stomach – pull your stomach muscle in then relax
  • Hands – clench into fists then relax
  • Lower arms – bend your hands at the wrists then relax
  • Upper arms – bend your arms at the elbow then relax
  • Chest – breathe in deeply then breathe out and relax
  • Shoulders – lift then relax
  • Jaw – clench then relax
  • Eyes – if you have kept them closed squeeze shut tightly then relax if open close tightly then open and relax.
  • Neck – stretch your neck gently to the left then forward then to the right then forward then up and down then forward then in a slow rolling motion then relax
  • Forehead and scalp – rise your eyebrows then relax

Return to your breath for at least 5 more breaths in and out up to 5 minutes

As you become better at relaxation combine this exercise with pleasant memories or thoughts of relaxing situations.

Once you become more practiced, use this exercise on tense parts of your body when you notice you are holding tension when you are going about your daily activities.

Enjoy the sunshine.

References
Mindfulness Body Scan Acceptance and Commitment therapy
Beyond Blue
Centre for Clinical Interventions WA

 

“We support you every step of the way towards achieving your dream of having a baby. We recognise that the decision to pursue fertility treatment can be an emotive and difficult one. It is our goal to guide and support you through the highs and the lows. Our counsellors are available free of charge and in total confidence throughout your journey with Fertility SA. They are here to help you weather the emotional storms associated with treatment, to help with pre-treatment planning, or to talk to you about any other concerns you might have. Contact us today.

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