· By Grace Snively
How is your body adjusting?
Has anyone else felt like this Safe at Home phase of our lives is the time to tackle all of those crazy workouts we’ve been saving? I’ll be honest, 18 days ago I thought it was!! I quickly realized that maybe my biggest challenge would be my body adjusting to my new patterns. You know, sitting and reading for hours on end, lying on the couch binge watching Netflix, reorganizing everything in my home, actually cleaning my own house (shout out to the cleaning ladies of the world!), homeschooling my daughter, etc.
I’ve been a massage therapist for 19 years and my body is used to those movements. Settling into my Safe at Home life, I’ve discovered muscles I didn’t know I had!! I know I’m not alone in this. People working from home are dealing with different desk setups, teachers are now trying to tackle technology, I could go on and on. The bottom line is we are putting our bodies through different motions and we’re starting to feel it! I see you there, frontline and essential workers and I am grateful for what you are doing!! Chances are your body is adapting to working more hours, doing different jobs and dealing with the stress of your new normal too.
These are my Top 5 tips for caring for your body
1. Now may not be the time to start that hardcore workout you’ve been saving for “when you have time”. Massage therapists are no longer working and most chiropractors are on an emergency only basis. We won’t be able to help you if you get a kink in your back trying to kick box after doing zero exercise for 5 years! Just get out and move!! A walk or bike ride gets you out of your chair and gets the blood flowing just fine.
2. BREATHE!! Breathing is one of the most underrated self care tools in our toolbox and it’s FREE!! You don’t have to sit in a lotus position, in a candle lit room to be mindful of your breath. I’m a shallow breather and tend to hold my breath when I’m stressed out or focusing. Make it a habit to check in with your breath a few times an hour. Take a few deep cleansing breaths and feel the difference it makes.
3. STRETCH!! This does not have to be complicated or anything formal. Stand up or lie on the floor and move your body around. If you feel a place that is tight, just hang out in that position and breath until you feel it release and lean in some more. You may only need to slightly move to feel a stretch in a tight area and that’s ok. Don’t aim for bending over and touching the floor to stretch your hamstrings and low back. Aim for bending over until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, even if your fingertips are 6 inches from the floor. Slowly work towards your fingertips being 5 inches from the floor the next time. This concept may be applied to any part of the body!! I recommend staying in the position where you feel a stretch for at least 30 seconds or however long it feels good, no bouncing.
4. Set an alarm and check in with your body and move to a different position. Our bodies will adapt to the path of least resistance, even if it is dysfunction. I got out of my chair the other day and walked around for 15 minutes trying to get myself upright and out of my seated position!! We lose track of how much we are on our phone, reading, using the computer, and watching TV.
5. Don’t over complicate self care!! Your massage therapist is not expecting you to do what they do so, don’t expect that of yourself! Do what you can. Do what feels good to you. Work within your tolerance and ability. Use an app or video for guidance but don’t lock yourself into that being the only time you stretch or move.
There are lots of challenges for us on the horizon but walking around like a creaky grandma doesn’t have to be one of them. We can’t change anything going on around us but we can take care of ourselves. Don’t over complicate taking care of yourself, something is better than nothing!! Stay well!!