Language

Relaxing night

Type of tool: 
Energizer - Icebreaker
Duration: 
90-120 min
Topics addressed: 
Communication
Group dynamics
Personal development

Group activity during a residential experience. The instrument aims to strengthen the bonds between the participants, to break the barriers and the embarrassment of physical proximity that we are so little accustomed to experience in everyday life.

Aim: 

Strengthening the bonds between people; increase cohesion of the group.

Methodology: 

Experiential learning

Step by step process: 

1) Preparation of the environment: arrangement of carpets to cover the designated area; lighting candles and music.
2) Involvement of the participants: the group is invited to enter the area and to take the place.
3) Initial Explanation: It defines the purpose of the activity, calming down on the ability to be involved with the times and the ways that each one prefers, without forcing. Suggest that the process will take place in stages and that at any time you can step back if you lack the necessary relaxation conditions. Reassure yourself of the natural embarrassment that might be overwhelmed by some proposals and rice as an indicator but also a liberating tool.
4) First exercise: walk. Attendees are encouraged to stand up and walk freely within the designated area, recognizing the other at the crossroads of glances, sketching nonverbal greetings and smiles (3-5 minutes).
5) Second exercise: breathing. The conductor guides the participants in individual breathing, focusing on the air path inside the body and drawing attention to the different parts of the body (5-7 minutes).
6) Third Exercise: Participants are invited to form pairs, choosing a partner with whom they feel comfortable, sit facing each other and, in turn, massaging their hands. It is advisable to maintain visual contact to establish a relationship of intimacy. The process is always led by the moderator, who is relieving the tension due to proximity (3 minutes by hand, 6 each).
7) Fourth exercise: In groups of 4, the participants take care of each other's friends. One person is turned on a rug on the carpet (on the back or on the chest), and the other 3 massage the body. The moderator guides the exercise, remembering that it is always possible to stop the massage, change position, ask for and give directions. It is recommended to avoid pressure and massage in the eyes, spine and kidneys. The excerices ends with the "awakening" of the person in the center, who thanks for the received massage (8-10 minutes each) .
8) Fifth exercise: visualization. Participants assume the position that is most comfortable and congenial and the conductor guides them on an imaginary journey through sensations and relaxing scenes, after which participants are given the chance to stay "drowsy" for a few moments before coming back vigilant (10 minutes).

The duration of the exercises is indicative, it is up to the leader to measure the "energy time" and reduce or increase the duration.

Materials and resources: 

Carpets, blankets and / or mattresses sufficient to cover an area adequate to the number of participants (to be considered about 1mq per participant); candles or soft lighting; soft music (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cnfj6QCGLyA) and speakers.
The ideal would be an outdoor place, immersed in nature (sea or mountain is indifferent, as long as it is quiet enough).

Outcomes: 

Among the members of the group there is a greater sense of well-being and relaxation, any tensions have been loosened if not permanently dissolved.
Immediately the participants appear happier and more smiling, sensations that accompany them even in the following days.
Interpersonal relationships are created or strengthened; participants are in touch with physical contact and maintain this attitude in the future, regardless of the type of activity they propose.

Evaluation: 

Relaxing night is quite versatile (group typology, variety, gender) and does not require great skills or preparation from the conductor, which however requires a good deal of empathy and sensitivity, as well as a modulation of the hot and quiet voice. Especially if the group sees the presence of very young male boys, it is necessary to adopt a conciliatory approach to the foreseeable bursts of hilarity due to embarrassment; do not let yourself be intimidated by the ruthlessness of some in making specific exercises, sure that in the future they will be involved again.
It is not a tool suitable for very large groups or little known, or who do a brief experience (except for specific cases, evaluated at a time).

Notes for further use: 

It is preferable to adopt the instrument as the last activity of the day, after dinner, to encourage a state of mind free from further issues regarding the programme to follow.
Oftenthe participants remain asleep at the end of the last exercise, it is necessary to awaken them gently, so to conclude the session together with the group. Alternatively you can anticipate that at the end of each session you are free to stay on site for the time you think, chatting or resting, always respecting the others. In this case, the moderator leaves the room in silence and leaves space for feedback to the next day.

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