Rest and Recovery

By Deborah VanderKruk, RMT

Time to check-in. How does your body feel when you take your first steps out of bed?  What about after work?  Or a workout?  What are your facial muscles doing while you drive?  Can you breathe deeply?  How clear is your mind?  Can you focus well when your kids or spouse are talking to you?  Are you sleeping well?

Chances are most of us will find areas of neglect, overuse or congestion upon a quick body scan.  Over time, our nervous and musculoskeletal systems suffer.  Rather than powering on, a restorative practice can reverse these trends in our body. Rest is essential for maintaining optimal muscular recovery, hormone balance, mental health, and overall bodily functions. Recovery techniques are also essential in restorative practices. Actions such as proper hydration, stretching, nutritional support and other techniques would fall into this category. There are many simple techniques to incorporate into our daily routines to restore a healthy calm to both body and spirit.

Here are 10 simple ways to find stillness in your day, restoring a healthy calm to body, mind, and spirit. Try one today!

1. The power of one. Practice doing one thing at a time. That’s right – give yourself permission not to multitask.

2. Snow angels. Lie on your back. Do slow snow angels while breathing effortlessly.

3. Lavender essential oil. Rub a drop into your palm. Inhale its calming scent.

4. Face time. Rub your temples and cheeks to release tense jaw muscles.

5. Legs up, lying down on your back, bring your bottom as close as possible to the wall. Bring your legs against the wall, feet facing the ceiling. Your body should form a 90 degree angle. Relax here with a few deep inhales and exhales.

6. Kitchen sink hydrotherapy (especially useful for sore muscles or injuries). If you have a double sink, fill one with hot, the other with cold. Two larger containers would also do the trick, as well as simply running water in the bath tub. The temperature of the water should be safe but just tolerable. Plunge your arms (or body part of choice, i.e. feet, knees etc.) up to your elbows in the hot water and hold for a minimum of 30 seconds.  Switch to the cold water. Repeat 3 times.  End with cold and let your arms air dry.

7. Easy breathing. Sit or lie down. Observe your breathing. Clear your mind of any thoughts other than your breath and how it feels to breath easily.

8. Low breathing.  Place your hand on your lower abdomen.  Try to initiate your breathe from this place. Inhale/exhale through your nostrils 10 rounds, and then return to easy breathing.

9. Practice yoga locally, outside or at home. YouTube has an amazing variety of FREE yoga classes!

10. Get a massage.