Get Plenty of Rest and Nap Often
I am one to talk, since I cannot sleep the whole night without waking up at least once, sometimes twice. I am a restless sleeper, and depending on what I ate or had to drink the night before, because this will impact my quality of rest. No longer do I take trazodone for a sleep aid. I started doing without it because the dependability of the drug became hit or miss. Some nights I would have 7 to 8 hours sleep and other nights I would be up at 3 or 4 in the morning, and if I took an extra pill it would be me so groggy that I could not function for half of the next day. So I decided to just cut trazodone out altogether, and lo and behold I slept well, until just recently.
Coming out of St. David's rehab, 4 years and one month to the day, it's safe to say I was a mess. The only thing that saved me was sleep. They say that sleep is the greatest healer. I would nap in the afternoon, and when evening would roll around, I would be in bed by 9. Now, whenever I get tired, I nap. It doesn't matter what time it is, whether 3 in the afternoon or 7 at night; I'll take a little nap for an hour or so before I tuck myself in for the night.
Breathing from the diaphragm expands the lungs and makes for a stronger exhale that is good for exercise and meditation. It goes without saying that this causes relaxation, also. When inhaling, the belly should expand, and when exhaling, it should be sucked in. This helps in meditation and exercise. Many times during exercise I'll forget to breathe and I have to be prompted, usually by a therapist or a person at the gym. But most of the time I will catch it myself. Good posture and deep breathing go hand-in-hand.
We are fortunate to live in, Austin, Texas, a place where we can take music for granted. It's everywhere! Not only is it in clubs and restaurants, but there are countless festivals for genres of all types, and radio stations promoting the latest and greatest, as well as the classics in country, folk, rock, jazz, Americana and classical. This is a good way to relax, with the beverage of choice and good tunes.
Play Games and Keep the Mind Active
Every Friday, my friend Afra and I play chess. We meet at 12:15 at a local café, maybe order some tasty morsels and coffee or tea. At about 12:45, she will break out the chessboard and we will start. We are pretty evenly matched. When we first started I would beat her all the time, but then I went through a period that I call, getting "my comeuppance", where she had her way with me. Though it can be called a friendly match, chess is still intense because of all the strategy involved. Who would've thought that a game like chess, which is considered a sport, could get your heart racing and raise your anxiety level to epic proportions. That is a slight exaggeration. Chess is a challenge that I look forward to each week.
We have a work-out group that meets at the Life Center at the Easter Seals during the week, and Afra has become the organizer of the outside-of-gym activities. Once a month we go to a restaurant which has been deemed wheelchair friendly. Last month there were about 9 hungry people for Korean barbecue. Also, she has been sponsoring a 'game day' and leaves it open for the same group. At the latest 'game day', Apples to Apples, "The hilarious game where every opinion counts", made its debut and was a big hit amongst the 5 of us who showed up.
I hope my readers are finding ways to take it easy. Because being a stroke survivor is no bed of roses, unless you want to consider the thorns in the stems. We need to continue to take care of ourselves, and be gentle but firm with the types of activities in which we indulge. There are many more ways that stroke survivors relax. Please send me your particular form of relaxation to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll publish it on my blog.