Friday, July 20, 2007

Strategies for Dealing with NICU Stresses - Try a Relaxing or Cleansing Sigh

During times of stress, such as when your baby is admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), parents often are so focused on the health and well-being of their baby, that they forget to take care of themselves.

Most NICU parents would undoubtedly rather be sitting on the beach relaxing rather than coping with the stresses of the NICU. However, over time, these stressors can begin to take a toll. The NICU Parent who do not take time for him or herself may find their mind and body feeling and showing the impact of the stress.

While you probably won't be able to make it to the beach, you can try some simple breathing techniques which can be used anywhere--in the waiting area, in the cafeteria, outside, on a bench, standing in line or even in the bathroom.

Coping with NICU Stresses - Sighing
Sighing (breathing heavily and deeply) releases tension and can be used at will as an effective way of relaxing.

A Relaxing Sigh
  • Sit or stand up straight.
  • Sigh or breathe deeply.
  • Let out a sound of deep relief as the air rushes from your lungs.
  • Let the new air come in naturally as your lungs expand.
  • Repeat these steps however many times you need to begin to relax a bit. Some recommend eight to twelve times.
You can use the Relaxing Sign technique whenever you feel the need to slow down and experience the feeling of relaxation.

A Cleansing Sigh
Another breathing technique to help in reducing stress is to take a deep cleansing sigh.
  • Sit or stand up straight.
  • Let out a gentle noise as you inhale slowly, deeply and completely.
  • Let the air rush out as a sigh as much as your body will allow.
  • Feel the stress leaving your body with your breath.
  • Allow your body to inhale. This should be completely natural.
  • Repeat as needed to relax -- five to fifteen times.
Remember to Breathe, Just Breathe
See also the earlier post on "
Breathe, Just Breathe - An Effective Strategy for Coping with a Challenge"

Sources: The Counseling Center. Breathing Techniques. Sam Houston State University
Dyer KA. Breathe, Just Breathe - An Effective Strategy for Coping with a Challenge. June 2007.

Photo Source: Neil Gould.
Lost at Sea 3. Royalty Free Use.

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