Have you ever stayed on your computer so long that your neck became a mass of knots? Of course, you have. Excessive screen time is a hazard of modern living. Computers and cell phones aren't the only cause of stress. Our fast pace creates a perfect storm of tension in the body, tension that can turn into debilitating and painful conditions in the body.
Chances are you've got lots on your plate and juggling multiple roles and responsibilities. More stress, more tension. Massage is ideal for dealing with tension but not always convenient when you're in a time crunch. Ideally, self-care should be incorporated into your daily practice. When you do tension and stress are minimal. Sometimes it's not easy to set time aside to see to your own well being, especially if you're a woman, a parent, or a caretaker.
In a world where time is a precious commodity and your energy is pulled in different directions, it can be challenging to carve out some time for yourself. Self-care is a muscle that you need to flex. In the same way that you create any habit or practice, at first, it's intentional then it becomes what you naturally do. So first there's effort, then there's flow.
Here are 3 ways to release tension in your body and help flex your self-care muscle (in 15 minutes or less):
1. Take a dance break. There's nothing that will free your body more than moving to music that you love. Put on your favorite tune and dance for 5 minutes. Don't follow any dance steps, don't conform to any specific dance style. Break free, hang loose! Let your body move in whatever way it wants to. Free yourself from the need to do it ‘right.' Your body knows how to move with joy. Set it free!
2. Go for a solo, silent, mindful walk. Communing with nature is transformative. It recalibrates your being, just like a tuning fork. As you walk notice how everything changes. Everything has a rhythm or a cycle. Green leaves are now brown and crunchy. Tree branches once lush are baring their naked splendor. Warm summer breezes give way to bitter wintry chill. Noticing the natural world reminds you of your own place in the world. It helps you accept the changes in your own life (often a source of stress). Even a short walk can release tension and help lighten your load.
3. Massage your feet. Reflexology is an ancient practice that focuses on clearing the energy meridians that correspond to all of your body systems from points on your feet. Five minutes on each foot will work wonders for your well-being. Right before you go to bed is a great time. You can even do an exchange with your partner. It's an awesome gift! Download this Reflexology Chart to guide your session.
As you engage these self-care practices be mindful and deliberate. Drop your attention from your head to your body. Notice how it feels while you dance. Notice the crunching of the leaves under your feet as you walk. Notice the sensations in your feet during the massage. Just that one shift – moving your attention to what you are experiencing in your body – can release enormous amounts of tension.
We all have a tendency to spend a lot of time in our heads, which is another source of tension. Everything is interconnected. When you relax your body your mind follows. It also works the other way around, which is why meditation and mindfulness are wonderful self-care tools.
There are many ways to release body tension. I'd love to hear how you do with these three and also how YOU release body tension. Share in the comments below…