I recently spent two weeks in Spain for my honeymoon, which was fantastic for many reasons (mostly churros and croissants) but surprising in one way I did not expect. I brought self-care tools of every size (therapy balls and voodoo floss), expecting to have aches and pains from the insane amount of walking.
So did I actually use my therapy balls during the two weeks? Yes, but not nearly as much as I thought I would. I used the smallest size YTU balls on my feet and shins after the first day of walking, the ALPHA on my upper back and shoulders when we arrived (to offset the sitting on the plane for 12 hours and carrying luggage), and the Coregeous ball on my belly a week in after a late night churro bender left me with a bit of a stomach ache. My regular jaw pain, shoulder aches and hip tightness were not an issue at all. Why? Because most of the issues we have in our bodies are a result of the things we do most often to them: a lot of sitting and in activity.
In my non-vacation life, I spend any where from 10 -13 hours a week driving in the car, average about 8 hours a day on the computer and probably spend another 2-3 cumulative hours on my phone a day. It’s a whole lot of stuff that locks my hips and shoulders in the same position day after day. My vacation experience helped me experience first hand how the self-care work we do is more of an eraser of our day. The rubber pain erasers must pour over and stretch into every nook and cranny that has been sitting (both literally and figuratively) in the same position all day to help restore “normal” movement.
Add to our lack of movement an insane amount of stress, lack of sleep, and a workout or yoga class you may have done during this perfect storm, and it’s no wonder we have to maintain a regular self-care practice just to remain pain-free!
I totally understand that taking a 10 day vacation is not feasible for many of us (the only way I was able to pull it off was because it was my honeymoon!), but there are ways to create mini vacations from certain life stressors that can help soothe some of the negative effects they bring.
- Set phone limits for yourself. Instead of working/playing/reading on your cell phone for an unlimited amount of time when you get home from work, why not limit it 20-45 minutes? Set a timer for yourself and then stick to the phone time out when the time is up. Since losing my phone in Spain, which is a whole other blog in itself, I realize how much time I waste on my cell phone. I will be undergoing regular time outs from now on!
- Walk! Instead of sitting on the couch when you get home from work, why not take a 20-45 minute walk around the neighborhood with your family, dog or loved ones? It’s a perfect opportunity to catch up on each other’s day, your dog will love you for it and your body will appreciate not having to be stuck for another 3 hours in a seated position.
- Unplug for a weekend. Consider taking a technology break for a weekend – from Friday after work until Monday morning, commit yourself (and your family!) to not using anything with a screen for a much needed unplug.
- Take a furniture break for a weekend! Sitting on the floor is the most simple hip stretch you can imagine. It requires your hips to be in different angles and orientations than chairs require and you will naturally shift around to stretch your hips in a variety of positions. (Katy Bowman has a great visual of about 50 different sitting orientations here)
- Get a coloring book and take a mental break. Groundbreaking research in 2005 proved anxiety levels dropped when subjects colored mandalas, which are round frames with geometric patterns inside. A great thing to try during your technology unplug time is coloring. There are many adult coloring books that are themed (check out this Star Wars one) but any time you spend can help reduce stress levels by requiring you to focus on a singular task. If meditation isn’t your jam, give coloring a try.
So if a true vacation is not in your future, try taking a vacation from life’s stressors with one of these unplugs.
What other ways to you like to de-stress during the week that help you stay sane? How do you reset your body? Let me know in the comments below!
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- May 1: Fitness Reset: The Essential Spring Workshop Series (Las Vegas, NV)
- May 1: The Reset Project Las Vegas (Las Vegas, NV)
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- May 22: Chew on This! A TMJ Tune Up (Atwater, CA)