Post Holiday Stress Can Lead To Knots And Tension In Your Shoulders & Back
It was a stressful holiday season – making it to all of your families houses - on time, cooking your signature dish for each meal, making sure you bought all the gifts you needed (God forbid if you forget anyone!), wondering if people will actually like what you bought them. And now that the holidays have passed, we're feeling stress at work as we try to catch up, and stress from having to return all your unwanted presents. This stress has worked its way into our neck, shoulders, and back. In fact, anytime we feel stress, it is common for our muscles in these regions to tense up. This pain can also come from one wrong move – an uncommon sleeping position, wrestling with little kids, or a day of strenuous yard work. If your vertebrae becomes unaligned, the muscles of the neck and shoulders spasm in response, working to prevent further damage. It is also possible for your shoulder blade muscles to become twisted, especially if you constantly carry a heavy purse or workbag on one shoulder.
Body & Brain Magazine has given some helpful exercises that will help you untie your knots so that you can get back to living comfortably!
The shoulder blade can be a hiding place for tension. This exercise will help stretch this hard-to-reach area.
Picture: Body & Brain Magazine
Lie on the floor with your legs folded underneath you and the top of your head on the floor. Drop your arms to the side with your palms facing the ceiling. Relax completely for several minutes while breathing deeply.
Curl your toes under and grab your feet securely. Push your hips into the air, keeping the top of your head on the ground. Inhale deeply while keeping the shoulders relaxed. You should feel a stretch on the inside of the shoulder blades. Hold your breath for a few seconds while you stretch; then exhale, slowly retuning to the original posture with the toes uncurled and your arms to the side. Rest like this for a few minutes and then repeat as desired.
Twist and Bend
This stretch helps to untangle twisted shoulder muscles. It has the added benefit of opening the hands and wrists, a necessity for anyone who does a lot of computer work.
Picture: Body & Brain Magazine
Sit on the floor with your legs together and extended directly in front of you with your toes flexed.
Place your right hand a few inches in front of your chest. Twist the palm toward the rights so that the pinky is nearest the chest.
With your left hand fingers, grab the base of the palm and twist gently.
Now, as you exhale, extend your arms forward while twisting the wrist. Bend at the waist and touch the back of your hand to your toes.
Return to the original position as you inhale. Repeat three times and then switch sides.
With these simple exercises, you should be able to release some of the tension you have been feeling. Try them whenever you feel pain – don’t ignore it, it will only get worse! Now take a deep breath and relax – the holidays are over so there’s no need to stress for one more minute!