Living with an asbestos related disease is stressful at the best of times. Relaxing activities can help us feel better physically, mentally and spiritually. In a new article Nurse Dana Nolan reminds us that they can also help us to improve our immune function and reduce inflammation and digestive problems .
The key to finding relaxation activities that benefit us and help boost our overall health is to find something that we also enjoy doing or appreciate. Reading, spending quiet time with family or pets, or simply giving ourselves space to do nothing, can all boost our health.
Why relaxation activity is important
Whether they are the patient or the carer, anyone living with an asbestos related disease has to cope with increased mental, spiritual and physical stress. The future is uncertain and can feel threatening. We are aware that we may not live for as long now as we once hoped we might. Treatments, while they might help us in the long term, can also come with challenging and stressful side effects. These factors all combine to affect our well-being.
Here are ten ideas that Dana Nolan thinks might help us to de-stress. Some might appeal to you, others definitely won’t.
- Art therapy – expressing how you feel through drawing, painting or modelling in clay etc..
- Deep, slow diaphragmatic breathing – Sit or lie in a comfortable place. Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your abdomen. Breathe in through your nose for four seconds. Feel your abdomen expand. Hold your breath for two seconds. Breathe very slowly and steadily through your mouth for about six seconds. Repeat from the beginning.
- Enjoy nature – in your garden if you are lucky enough to have one. If not, go for a short walk or get someone to take you to a nearby park or into the countryside.
- Guided imagery – use your imagination to picture a person, place, or time that makes you feel relaxed, peaceful and happy. This can be especially useful at night.
- Listening to music – some people find special ‘ambient music’ helpful, but listen to whatever you enjoy. Lose yourself in the music.
- Meditation – this could be a form of mindfulness meditation or, if you are a believer, it could be meditative form of prayer.
- Progressive muscle relaxation – slowly tense and relax each muscle in your body.
- Reading – lose yourself in a good book.
- Tai chi
 Nolan, D. (2023, August 7). 10 Ways to Relax That Help Mesothelioma Patients’ Overall Health . Asbestos.com. Retrieved August 7, 2023, from https://www.asbestos.com/blog/2023/08/07/10-ways-to-relax-that-help-mesothelioma-patients-overall-health/
Picture © Neil Bishop