How To Practice Self-Care With Faith-Filled Relaxation

faith-filled relaxation

Our modern lives often feel filled to the brim with activities and technology.  How often do you hear, “Oh!  I’m just so busy!  I never have time to stop!”?  Never-ending to-do lists, coupled with multiple tech devices, leave many feeling overwhelmed and stress.

As a homeschool soccer mom to 5 boys who also volunteers as soccer coach and at church, I know what it means to be busy!  I often feel like a chicken with its head cut off-dashing about and just feeling the tension build.  As I lay my weary head upon my pillow each night, more times than not I wonder…wow! where did today even go?

With constant motion and responsibilities, I often don’t even realize how much my stress levels affect my body and my whole life!  Muscle tension in my shoulders and back (okay, my whole body!) increase until pain and even migraines result.  My appetite is affected-either ravenous or little to none.  Fatigue never seems to lift and I find myself snapping at everyone-even myself!

Do you ever feel this way?  I would wager a pretty big bet (well, not really!  I’m not a gambling woman.  So, let’s say that I would hypothesize…) that many adults (and even kids!) experience similar thoughts and feelings.

How does this former mental health therapist cope with a mountain of stress?  Faith-Filled Relaxation!

What is Faith-Filled Relaxation?

I coined the term “Faith-Filled Relaxation” after a scope I did on self-guided relaxation for homeschoolers.  I had written this post and recalled resistance from some clients as a mental health therapist.  To help others know that relaxation can be a part of your faith journey, I realized that I needed to share my form of {Catholic} Christian relaxation.

Relaxation techniques, with methods of breathing and body awareness, are often misunderstood.  Some fear “letting go”; others shirk what may result when the “busy” or chaos is gone.  Others associate relaxation techniques with yoga and argue against its Eastern philosophy.  I am not looking for a debate on should Christians do yoga here.  I am merely sharing my approach to relaxation through faith-filled thoughts and body awareness.

I have had others tell me that they believe relaxation to be a way “to let the devil in”.  Honestly, with the form of relaxation that I practice, I believe that I am building myself up in protection from the enemy!

Faith-Filled Relaxation is a self-care tool that combines breathing techniques, body awareness, and personal faith-that all can use!

To get a full description of my approach to self-guided relaxation, make sure to read this post.  In a nutshell, self-guided relaxation includes:

  1. breathing
  2. muscle tension
  3. imagery
  4. self-permission
  5. setting
  6. acceptance
  7. time
  8. willingness to try different approaches
  9. openness to help

 

How Do I Infuse My Faith Into Relaxation?

Before I get into more detail of Faith-Filled Relaxation, I need to state that I truly believe that all can benefit from this practice-no matter what your faith!  As you probably know, I am a Catholic convert.  However, I believe that all Christians (and faiths!) can incorporate these tips into their approach to stress reduction.

To infuse your relaxation practice with your faith, I suggest the following tips:

 (Please note that I write this from a Catholic Christian perspective.  Please substitute your faith’s texts and prayers where necessary. Also, I am not a trained medical professional.  These tips come from my personal experience.)

 

  1. Determine your faith:  Closely examine your beliefs.  Are you an active participant in your faith?  What do you need to learn or do to grow in your faith?
  2. Learn as  much as you can about your faith:  Use resources that explain our faith.  As a Catholic, the Bible, Catechism, books on the lives of saints, and daily Mass readings help me grow in my faith. Talk to a leader of your faith or friend who shares your beliefs.
  3. Determine your {faith} strengths:  Are you an avid reader?  Do you Bible journal?  Are you blessed with a beautiful voice?  Bible verse memorization?  Consistency?
  4. Determine your {faith} weaknesses:  What areas are you struggling with in your faith?  Do you suffer from doubts (like so many do!)?  Is it a struggle to focus on your Bible reading?  Do you struggle with being consistent in prayer?  If so, consider talking with a faith leader and determining ways to grow in these areas.  You must decide if focusing on these areas during your Faith-Filled Relaxation will help or distract.  You may need to postpone focusing on these areas until you have worked on them at other times-and that’s okay!
  5. Find a favorite (or two!):  What is your favorite Bible verse?  Prayer?  Commandment?  Virute?  Select one or two to focus on!
  6. Faith accessories:  Yes, accessorize your Faith-Filled Relaxation!  Does your faith include any inspirational images?  Helpful, hands-on tools (like a rosary)?  Candles?  Music?

Once you have considered these tips and prepared accordingly, you are ready to begin your Faith-Filled Relaxation practice!  (Another note:  See the word “practice”?  That’s just what it takes!  This is a process-stress management is not learned overnight!)


 

faith-filled relaxation

How Do I Practice Faith-Filled Relaxation?

Faith-Filled Relaxation might sound like a lofty ideal.  Trust me, it is doable!

When you follow the steps listed in this post, you merely add prayer/Bible verse recitation/song (whatever favorites you have chosen!) to your breathing, thoughts, and muscle relaxation.

Your focus is on your center of belief.  As a Catholic Christian, I focus on God.  My every thought and breath centers on God.  My prayers are common to my faith-or a personal prayer that is significant to me in my faith growth process.

If I feel my thoughts drifting and muscles tensing, I gently bring myself (without judgement or emotion) back to my focus-God.

I let go and let God.  I turn over my stress, my concerns, my troubles to God.

Developing this Faith-Filled Relaxation practice has helped me become closer in relationship with God.  Instead of thinking that it’s all on me-all on my shoulders-I know that I can turn to Him for strength, guidance, and support.  I can release my cares and troubles to Him-and know that I am not alone.

faith-filled relaxation Isaiah 41:10

 

With every breath in, I breathe in God and His love.  With every breath out, I release my troubles, cares, and concerns to Him and His all mighty power.

 

I focus on my God-and the love that He has for me.  I remind myself of the blessing of my body that He gave me and my responsibility for self-care.Faith-Filled Relaxation 1 Corinthians 6:19

 

God wants us to make time to take care of ourselves!  He wants us at our best so we can best serve Him!


When To Practice Faith-Filled Relaxation?

I have found that practicing Faith-Filled Relaxation depends on where you are in your faith journey, as well as your current life situation.

When I was a new mom, my life was certainly different than it is now with 5 boys!

Accordingly, my Faith-Filled Relaxation is much different now.  I find the best time to practice this approach to stress management is at night when I lay down in bed.  My day is jam-packed with activities-not much time to let it all go!  The stillness of night plus chance to focus on just my body (and not 6 others!) allows me to fully benefit.

I do a modified approach throughout my day-mostly to redirect my thoughts.  Breathing techniques are always helpful.  For quick muscle tension relief, I do gentle stretches and rest when I can.

I will be hosting a Faith-Filled Relaxation scope on Monday October 12, 2015 at 9 pm EST. I will be talking about Faith-Filled Relaxation and leading you on your very own Faith-Filled Relaxation experience!  I would love for you to join me @AmyMilcic-or catch the replay at katch.me.  I will also upload the scope to my You Tube channel.

[bctt tweet=”Join @AmyMilcic on Periscope at 9 pm EST Mon. Oct 12 for Faith-Filled Relaxation! Intro & demo!”]


I pray that this introduction to Faith-Filled Relaxation blesses your life!  Be on the lookout for these future posts on Faith-Filled Relaxation:

  • relaxation in your homeschool
  • breathing techniques for relaxation
  • relaxation and kids

As with any of my posts, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.  Also, please comment with what you find to be your faith “favorites” in your relaxation!

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