This week, before you go to sleep every night, do the following:
Lie comfortably on your back in bed with your eyes closed. Starting at your toes, you are going to tense up and then relax all the muscles in your body. So, scrunch the toes and feet up as tight as you can, hold them like that for a minute and then just release them and let them relax completely. Then tense up your calf muscles, as tight as you can without tensing up the rest of your body, and then release. Then your knees, then your thighs, then your buttocks. Feel now how your entire legs are completely relaxed and your feet are flopping out to the sides. Then move on to your stomach muscles, your back, and chest. Feel your whole torso sinking into the bed, completely at ease. The tense and relax your upper arms, and then your forearms. Pull your hands into tight fists and then release them. Feel how your arms have totally relaxed. Now tense all the muscles in your neck – push your neck back into the bed below you. Then relax. Now tense up your face and head. Pull your face into a grimace, clench your teeth, scrunch your eyes up. Hold and then relax. Feel that the skin on your face is sliding off your skull and into the bed. Do a mental scan of your body now and see if there are any areas of tension that you are still hanging on to. Let them slip away. Feel your entire body now sinking into the bed. Sinking sinking. Relaxing into the darkness. Now sleep.
With each section of your body that you are tensing and relaxing, try to isolate just that part of the body and keep the rest still. And make sure that you really do tense it up, until its almost painful – it is the contrast between the tension and relaxation that will assist you in going deeper into the relaxation and allowing you to let go of the tension properly. If you so choose, and are not too tired, instead of going to sleep at the end, use this complete body relaxation as a good starting point for a short meditation.
Wishing you a relaxing, tension free week!