As Part of our continuing series on mental health i wanted to introduce the issue of Stress and Relaxation for youth workers. (or anyone else)
Stress which is a serious and debilitating condition that can affect anyone at any time in life. one of the most reported effects of stress is inability to relax and often disturbed sleep.
Youthworkers & stress
Youth Work can be a stressful profession and to help combat some of that stress I thought that pointing you in the direction of some guided relaxation audio recording and some soothing music would help some of you
almost all the content of the pages I’ve linked to is provided free, I have linked to a couple of audio resources that i personally use. I have compiled the list from various sources, mostly american universities who seem to be on top of the curve when it comes to resources of this kind we need more British and European resources.
Youthworker would be more than happy to add to this list and if you know of anything that would fit in this section please send me a message and I will add it as soon as I can, or if you have a particular interest in relaxation or mental health and want to join the volunteer team that would be great.
I just can’t sleep or feel relaxed when I’m at home
This list is in no particular order i have tried many of the resources but not all of them and i do have some favorites that help me sleep, why dont you try some out for yourself and tweet @youthworker with the ones you like the most
MIT health offers some really good quality print and audio downloads that can help you overcome insomnia, reduce stress, and improve sleep quality the list of resources has grown so do take a look especially if you like white noise to sleep with. The mit site even has links for children with sleep problems so if your a children’s worker it could be of some help.
Dartmouth Collage has some great resources including relaxation visualisation and soothing music. deep breathing and a good Progressive Muscle Relaxation which is about 30mins it is one of the tracks i have found helpful.
Progressive relaxation is a simple idea that sounds and feels a little silly at first but try a few times you will see that it actually works to take out the tightness you feel in your muscles. I follow it sometimes with a meditation track or use it just before sleep.
NYU has a bunch of interesting audio MP3s to try including chair yoga an 8 min exercise which you can fit into any day even at your desk. The sleep mp3 is good and there is an extended version which is helpful
Mental health Foundation has some really good podcasts & video’s on, Mindfulness, relaxation, exercise. mindfulness is very on trend but thats because it is very useful.
A question of faith
I’ve had some faith based youth workers ask if mindfulness is OK! my simple answer is that its about you and your path, lots of faiths pray but you do not worry if prayer is from the wrong root, mindfulness is just a tool don’t get hung up about who made the tool just focus on how you use it.
McGill University has a good collection of Audio MP3s for relaxation and meditation in the sleep section scroll down to apps podcast
My Thought Coach is a great site with audio to help redirect negative thought processes you can also find them on your favourite podcast provider
My favourite sounds
Please keep in mind that mindfulness techniques are meant to be used in conjunction with, not as a substitution for, services offered by trained health professionals, if you find you cant cope talk to someone!
If you have any resources you think should be added to the list or any other mental health issues we should look at message me or tweet @youthworker