Emotional Wellbeing

Health Empowerment Tools for Stress Relief

There is no single relaxation technique that is best for everyone. How you react to stress may influence the relaxation technique that works best for you.

BWell has developed a collection of health empowerment tools specifically for stress relief.   Each tool is evidence informed and created to address some of the social determinants of health as well as safety practices that are currently impacting individual and community wellbeing.  You will find worksheets (all downloadable as fillable pdfs), infographics, videos, an online assessment, and links to additional resources. Click on anything that appeals to you to try it out!

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Safety Planning Worksheet for Self and Community

This safety planning tool is a resource to help you proactively consider ways to care for yourself and your community in times of distress. Consider setting aside time to map out the people, practices, and resources that ground you and help to keep you and your community safe.

PDF iconTapping in to Self & Community Care.pdf

Self-care assessment and planning worksheet

Daily practice development worksheet

Mindful journaling worksheet

Social support network mapping worksheet

Coping with worry video

Breathing technique videos

Simple breathing techniques are an effective stress management technique which can be practiced almost anywhere at anytime. Try these two videos for two simple guided breathing practices:

Box breathing

Breathe

 

 

5 simple skills to "reset" video

Sleep hygiene assessment tool

Self-massage

You’re probably already aware how much a professional massage at a spa or health club can help reduce stress, relieve pain, and ease muscle tension. What you may not be aware of is that you can experience many of the same benefits at home or work by practicing self-massage—or trading massages with a loved one.
Try taking a few minutes to massage yourself at your desk between tasks, on the couch at the end of a hectic day, or in bed to help you unwind before sleep. To enhance relaxation, you can use aromatic oil, scented lotion, or combine self-message with mindfulness or deep breathing techniques.

A five minute self-massage to relieve stress:

A combination of strokes works well to relieve muscle tension. Try gentle chops with the edge of your hands or tapping with fingers or cupped palms. Put fingertip pressure on muscle knots. Knead across muscles, and try long, light, gliding strokes. You can apply these strokes to any part of the body that you can reach easily.

For a short session like this, try focusing on your neck and head:

  • Start by kneading the muscles at the back of your neck and shoulders. Make a loose fist and drum swiftly up and down the sides and back of your neck. Next, use your thumbs to work tiny circles around the base of your skull. Slowly massage the rest of your scalp with your fingertips. Then tap your fingers against your scalp, moving from the front to the back and then over the sides.
  • Now massage your face. Make a series of tiny circles with your thumbs or fingertips. Pay particular attention to your temples, forehead, and jaw muscles. Use your middle fingers to massage the bridge of your nose and work outward over your eyebrows to your temples.
  • Finally, close your eyes. Cup your hands loosely over your face and inhale and exhale easily for a short while.
     

Visualization

Visualization, or guided imagery, is a variation on traditional meditation that involves imagining a scene in which you feel at peace, free to let go of all tension and anxiety. Choose whatever setting is most calming to you, whether it’s a tropical beach, a favorite childhood spot, or a quiet wooded glen.

You can practice visualization on your own or with a therapist (or an audio recording of a therapist) guiding you through the imagery. You can also choose to do your visualization in silence or use listening aids, such as soothing music or a sound machine or recording that matches your chosen setting—the sound of ocean waves if you’ve chosen a beach, for example.

How to practice visualization: 

Close your eyes and imagine your restful place. Picture it as vividly as you can—everything you can see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. Just “looking” at it like you would a photograph is not enough. Visualization works best if you incorporate as many sensory details as possible.

For example, if you are thinking about a dock on a quiet lake:

  • See the sun setting over the water
  • Hear the birds singing
  • Smell the pine trees
  • Feel the cool water on your bare feet
  • Taste the fresh, clean air

Enjoy the feeling of your worries drifting away as you slowly explore your restful place. When you are ready, gently open your eyes and come back to the present.

Don’t worry if you sometimes zone out or lose track of where you are during a visualization session. This is normal. You may also experience feelings of heaviness in your limbs, muscle twitches, or yawning. Again, these are normal responses.

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