Self-help Lesson #10 Regular Daily Relaxation for Rapid Symptom Reduction of Depression and Anxiety

Regular Daily Relaxation

The benefits of regular daily relaxation include decreased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, decreased tension, decrease in analytical thinking.

What to do:  Regularly practice deep relaxation for 20-30 minutes a day.  This will generalize to the rest of your day and reduce anxiety, prevent stress, increase energy, increase concentration and  memory, reduce insomnia and fatigue, prevent headaches, and muscle aches, and increase self-confidence.

Time for relaxation or free time: 1 hour per day. 1 day per week, 1 week every 4 months.

Types of Relaxation:

  • Abdominal breathing
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Body Scan
  • The Peaceful Scene
  • Meditation

Google or buy a book or CD on the types of relaxation, stress reduction or meditation and try each type to see what your favorite is and what works for you personally. Experiment until you have tried each of the five types of relaxation, and form your practice around your favorite.

Common Obstacles:
 “I don’t have time”
(so, what’s the priority?)
“I don’t have a place to relax”
(make one)
“These exercises are too slow”
(then you are too speeded up)
“I feel more anxious when I relax”
(use shorter periods of relaxation or progressive muscle relaxation.)

What one type of relaxation are you going to include in your RSR star chart this week? It could be free time. As you learn about the various five types of relaxation use what you learn by taking action. Do start by expanding your knowledge and exploring the five types of relaxation and stress reduction.

I’ve taken weekly one hour skype meditation classes from I recommended it because it focuses on unconditional love as the source of healing.


  • Meditation

Down Time and Time Management 

Manage your time and schedule in down time to unwind and do some following:

  • Rest time
  • Recreation time
  • Relationship time

Time Management: Use a day planner and manage your personal time as well as your work time.  Write in your pleasurable activities to schedule time for them  Sort your activities into categories like Home, Errands, To Do, Phone and Computer. Think of the first step of that next project you want to do.

Ø  Prioritization Ø  Letting go of perfectionism
Ø  Delegation Ø  Overcoming procrastination
Ø  Allowing extra time Ø  Saying no



7/11 ☼



4:am 4:pm
5:am 5:pm
6:am 6:pm
Date: Day Month Year 7:am 7:pm
Day of the Week 8:am 8:pm
  Tuesday 9:am 9:pm
  Thursday 10:am 10:pm
  Saturday 11:am 11:pm
12:am 12:pm
1:pm 1:am
2:pm 2:am
3:pm 3:am


Time Exercise:

Take a couple of days to track where you spend your time and then evaluate where you want to spend your time.

Where I spend my time:







Where I’d like to spend my time:







Four practical things I can do to invest more energy into areas I’d like to spend more time on:



Time Evaluation Exercise:

Instructions:  Make a log of your daily activity for two weeks, and then review it to see what your time wasters are.  Often it is especially difficult to manage time when you are  very depressed.  If you are sleeping all the time, that is a symptom of depression.  If you sleep too much, you may become depressed about the wasted time.  So on top of having the depression, you may judge yourself for having the symptoms related to depression.   If you spend too much time or not enough time on a particular activity, (like caring for elderly parents or not doing what you could do for them), it has a snowball effect in that you end up wasting additional time worrying about the situation in addition to the stress of the circumstances themselves.

When you are depressed, just getting out of bed in the morning, opening the blinds and getting out of your pajamas can be vital. It gives your mind the message that your day has actually started and you are moving forward.   If this is an issue for you write down your goals for personalized time management on your star chart.

Become aware of some of your roadblocks to time management and make changes in small increments.

Examples of time management roadblocks:

  • Not having enough time to unwind, reflect and relax.
    • Schedule in time to unwind, reflect and relax on your star chart. One woman found the only way she could relax was to sit in the car after work for half an hour.   Other  people find a class environment (like yoga) gives them the incentive and focal point they need to take time out for relaxing.  Cassettes or CD’s can also help people focus on relaxation techniques. You can find some resources at
  • Being nice, catering to people, people pleasing, taking on too much
    • Being able to set boundaries with people will assist your time management abilities. We aren’t taught to say “no, I’m not going to entertain this year, I’m not feeling 100% so I’ll need to pass for now”.  On  your star chart write in your specific goals for setting limits.
  • Procrastination
    • Most people have numerous ways of spinning their wheels through procrastination. What areas have you been procrastinating in?
      • Procrastination can be a self-esteem issue if you have perfectionist tendencies. If your self-esteem comes from being a good cook, why take the risk of baking something imperfectly?   This isn’t a All or Nothing situation.  It’s OK to be human.
    • Low motivation, indecisiveness, afraid of risk


  • Activities used as an escape
    • Sleep
    • Too much TV
      • Pull out your star chart and consider, what is a realistic amount of TV for me to watch? If you have the TV on for 8 hours a day you might want define limits.  Come up with ideas of things you can do to manage your TV watching and write them on your star chart.
    • Computer games, Surfing the web
    • Newspapers and magazines
      • Keeps one from reality.
      • Can cause feelings of overwhelm with the constant negativity.

Other Time Wasters:

  • Worrying about should’s or what others want you to be or being judged negatively by others
  • Feeling overwhelmed
    • Some people have a hard time facing problems like senility. They become overwhelmed because it is so scary.  They know that they, along with everyone else, will be senile some day.   Watching a parent or person ‘lose it’ is doubly scary because it demonstrates how you could be there someday, how vulnerable everyone is to losing it, how fragile the mind and life is.  Try journaling for homework to see what comes up for you.
  • Negative Core Beliefs
    • For Example: “I should be able to handle this on my own”, or “I’ll never find anyone to love me”.

Focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t do.  Even if you have a health problem, what else can you do?

3 thoughts on “Self-help Lesson #10 Regular Daily Relaxation for Rapid Symptom Reduction of Depression and Anxiety

  1. It can be hard to prioritize sometimes. Doing social work and helping out the less privileged makes me happy, seeing my efforts bring smiles to people around me. Other times, it is really over-stressful to juggle together with my full-time job. Sometimes I wonder, is the gift of giving realistic or just aggravating my instability?

  2. Work was piling ever since my promotion, that it started to create anxiety. Outsourcing some of my work was the best decision I’ve ever made.

  3. So, I penned down my activities for the day…

    Where I spend my time:
    Household Chores
    Watch TV serials
    Read the news

    Where I’d like to spend my time:
    Write my novel
    Learn to dance

    And I realized watching TV and reading newspapers occupy almost 4 hour of my timeslot. There goes my entire free time everyday!

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