Are you too busy for self care?  Think again.

The pressures and obligations of being in college are huge. It’s no wonder that that the one thing it’s easy to neglect is ourselves.

Yet taking care of ourselves is crucial to being successful and having a fulfilling life.

If you’re too busy for self care, then NOW is the time you need it more than ever. YOU are your most important asset. Taking care of yourself first, therefore, is crucial to being able to study and do your work—not to mention everything else—to the best of your abilities, and so you can be fully present for the things that matter most.

From experience I know when I take care of myself and make time for self care, I work better, feel better, and am more fun to be around!  The BodyIntelligence approach means looking after yourself so you can best serve others. Through my experience studying and teaching the Alexander Technique, I have learned to prioritize myself to function at my best, as well as specific self-care practices to both restore and energize. And my favorite self-care practice of all, is Constructive Rest.

Constructive Rest

Alexander Technique Constructive RestConstructive Rest is a simple, yet powerful self-care practice to energize and restore body and mind. It helps you to improve your posture, release tension and calm your nervous system so you can be your most efficient, energetic and productive self. All you need are a few minutes of time, a couple of books, and a quiet place to lie down.

A regular Constructive Rest practice is the most beneficial. I have free tools to help you try it for 30 days, and feel the benefits in your life. Click here for details.

Take the free 30-Day Constructive Challenge >>


Below find information and tips on how and why to practice lying down in Constructive Rest.

What is the Constructive Rest?

Constructive Rest is a way of lying down in a semi-supine position (on the back with the knees bent, and feet flat on the floor) that promotes good spinal alignment and release of excess tension. It is also known as “Active Rest,” “Semi-Supine” or simply an “Alexander Lie Down.”

Why do it?

Lying down in Constructive Rest is one of the quickest and simplest ways to restore our natural shape, and can be invaluable for people suffering from neck or back pain. By taking the time to lie down for just a few minutes once or twice a day you will:

  • allow muscles and joints to release excess tension.
  • take pressure off the spine, allowing displaced spinal fluid to be reabsorbed, easing compression and giving you back your full height.
  • become calmer as you take time away from the stresses of the day.
  • allow your breathing to become more regular.
  • give your digestive system time to release.
  • regain energy and ease for life in the upright.

When should I lie down?

At least once every day! Although any time of day is helpful as suits your schedule, the best time for most people is early afternoon, so as to give your body a chance to restore itself before the second half of the day begins. It can also be valuable to make time to lie in the balanced resting state before and/or after participating in any strenuous or stressful activity (such as giving a presentation or doing some gardening).

How long should I lie down?

Lying down for 10 to 20 minutes will be most beneficial at least once or twice a day. If, however, five minutes is all you can do, the benefits will still be valuable.

How do I lie down in Constructive Rest?

  • First find a quiet, warm, carpeted floor space where you can lie down undisturbed.
  • Place a small pile of books under your head for support – this should be high enough to stop your head pulling back, but not so high that your chin is pushed toward your chest, constricting your throat.
  • Bend your knees so they point up toward the ceiling, with your feet flat on the floor about shoulder-width apart.
  • Let your hands rest on your abdomen, fingers released and elbows out to the side, allowing width in your upper body.
  • Aim to be almost completely passive physically.
  • During your lie down be aware of the ground supporting your back, allowing your shoulders to rest as your back widens and your whole body lengthens and expands.
  • As you move back into your daily activities, notice your body’s regained ease and expansion.

Tips

  • If your head feels uncomfortable on the book/s, make the top softer with a wad of tissues or a folded scarf.
  • Let your eyes remain open, at least for some of your time lying down, so this can be a time for building greater awareness of your body and surroundings.
  • If you start to feel drowsy (aim to have at least a few minutes of awareness with your eyes open), turn your toes inward and let your knees fall together so the legs don’t flop.
  • If your lower back is painful, it can be particularly helpful to support the lower legs on a low piece of furniture or rest the knees over a pillow. This way the legs can rest completely and allow the lower back to relax.
  • If you are uncomfortable with your hands resting on your abdomen, you can either let them rest by your side, elbows slightly bent and palms down, or you can extend your arms out to the side almost level with your shoulders, palms facing upward.
  • To help you get the most out of your lie down, listen to Imogen’s guided talk-through as you’re doing it.

What People Say About Constructive Rest

“I have been using your constructive rest audio from your website. I have stomach acid problems from time to time and I’m trying to get away from using too many antacids. The constructive rest has helped ease the symptoms without having to leave work. Usually when it gets bad I go home and lay down or have some Sleepytime tea and lay down. I did the constructive rest twice one day at work and it helped a lot.”
—Marilyn Brill, Administrative Assistant

“I have found the constructive rest a great tool to deal with anxiety, tension and stress.”
—Roslyn Franklin, Participant in the Constructive Rest Challenge, Australia

“Alexander Technique Constructive Rest is a simple, yet powerful, way of releasing harmful tension which you can do almost anywhere.  It also helps you re-calibrate your self-measurement of “zero” excess tension and is a wonderful platform to exploring such things as Alexander directions, simple activities like moving an arm or leg, breathing, speaking, singing – and much more.  I do it regularly myself and I strongly recommend it to students.”
Robert Rickover, Alexander Technique Teacher

“[Constructive Rest] practices…have given me a new tool to cope
with stress and the physical toll it takes on my body.”
—Lily M., Actor

“Constructive Rest is a lifesaver for me, providing a way to stop and refresh, reset and calm myself during the day – like an “awake power nap”, only better. Constructive Rest is especially beneficial during times of extra stress or a deadline, helping me to clear my head and shed fatigue.”
—Becca Ferguson, MindfulAT.com

More information

I have written more about Constructive Rest in my blog:

 

I was also interviewed on BodyLearning, The Alexander Technique Podcast, about the usefulness of this easy self-help procedure. Click here to listen.


7 Simple Tips for Relieving Stress Now!

We are always going to find ourselves in stressful situations. That’s a given.

Learning to respond differently – in a way that reduces significantly the amount of stress we experience, before, during and afterward – is key.

Here are seven simple, actionable tips to help you relieve stress in the moment. Each tip comes with a short video and a prompt – a simple thought or self-direction – to help you put the tip into action.

#1 Notice Ease

Did you know that how you pay attention to yourself and your environment has a huge impact on the amount of stress you experience?

My first tip is to shift your perspective so you consciously notice ease in and around you, rather than tension, stress and things that are going, or could go, wrong. This is a simple and powerful idea that, when practiced often, can lessen considerably the amount of stress we experience.

Learn more in the video:

Prompt: “I am free to notice ease.”

#2 Your Neck IS Free

Did you know that tension in your neck is not only a symptom of stress, but can also be a cause of stress? It’s a double-edged sword!

In tip #2, I share a way of thinking to help you let go of that tension.

Learn more in the video:

Prompt: “My neck is free.”

#3 Feel Your Power

We so often make ourselves smaller – often unconsciously. We are literally contracting our body, and this plays a significant role in how stressed we feel at any given time.

Tip #3 is about feeling your own power and taking up the space that is rightfully yours.

Learn more in the video:

Prompt: “I am free to be my full height.”

#4 Pause for Thought

Time can be a HUGE stressor. Giving yourself a moment of TIME to think – to consider how you actually want to respond in any given situation – is a gift. It’s a simple idea, but not necessarily easy to put into practice.

In Tip #4 I share suggestions to help you pause for thought and give yourself the gift of time.

Learn more in the video:

Prompt: “I have time.”

#5 Exhale

Did you know that the way you breathe in could actually cause stress?

Instead, in stress relief tip #5, I invite you to exhale.

Learn more in the video:

Prompt: “I am free to breathe out.”

#6 Smile Often

Do you know how powerful a simple smile is?

A smile has the power to relieve stress, improve your mood and productivity, help you move more freely, and more!

Tip #6 is very simple: smile and smile often!

Learn more in the video:

Prompt: “I am free to smile.”

#7 Move Your Body

Do you spend a lot of your day sitting?

That can be very stressful for the body, and impacts how stressed you feel emotionally. It’s all interconnected.

Tip #7 is about incorporating movement into your awareness of yourself, and find times to actually get up and move, along with a simple suggestion of how to do that with more ease.

Learn more in the video:

Prompt: “I am free to move.”


If you find these resources and tips helpful, you are invited to join the BodyIntelligence mailing list. You’ll receive blog updates, tips, inspiration, advance notice of classes and workshops, AND my FREE Audio Guide to help you reduce stress and boost confidence in just 2 minutes!
Click here to get it now >>


Helpful Audio Downloads:

Power Pause

Power Pause audio by Imogen Ragone

My Power Pause audio is under five minutes long (4:36) and can be used to accompany lying down in the traditional Constructive Rest position, as well as sitting at your desk (just pop in your headphones and listen), standing, or whatever suits you.

Don’t have time for self care? Don’t have time for Constructive Rest?

With a “power pause,” self care does not have to take long. You do have time.

Just a few minutes can be hugely beneficial, especially if you’re paying attention in a mindful and constructive way. In the audio I gently guide your attention and thinking to help you be more present and connected, release excess tension, and clear your mind of mental clutter.

When you purchase the Power Pause audio, you will be sent a link to download the MP3 to enjoy any time you want.

Cost: $3.50

Buy Now

Constructive Rest Audio Guide

Constructive Rest Audio GuideMy Constructive Rest Audio Guide is ideal for both beginners and people who already practice Constructive Rest. The audio is a little under 20 minutes long (18:21), which is considered the optimal amount of time lying down to gain the most benefit and allow your spine to regain its full height.

In the Constructive Rest Audio I gently guide you to release excess tension, using my latest ideas on how to direct your thinking and awareness most effectively.

Accompanying the audio is a 18-page companion guide containing all you need to get you started, as well as additional tips and suggestions for alternative positions.

When you purchase the Constructive Rest Audio Guide you will be sent a link to download both the audio (MP3) and the written guide (PDF).

Cost: $9.95

Buy Now