You do your best to look after yourself. You might practise yoga, treat yourself to massages or try to meditate when you get the time. But, still: whenever you find yourself coping with a lot of things at once, your heartbeat rises and your palms clam up. You find it impossible to relax. We can’t always call the massage therapist whenever we feel a bit of pressure, so what’s the solution?
Self-massage is a great way to calm down and give your body what it needs. Investing just a couple of moments in your own wellness can have a revolutionary effect on both body and mind. Here are 3 easy self-massage techniques to try when everything gets a little too much.
Our stomachs are home to the enteric nervous system and a number of important organs. Tightness in this area can lead to inflammation, digestive difficulties and anxiety. A belly massage helps to alleviate tension, increase stress resilience and aid digestion. Here’s how to do it:
- Begin by taking a bridge pose, with your sacrum supported. Breathe through your nose, and put both hands on your stomach.
- Start the massage in the lower left corner of your belly, using your fingers to apply light but firm pressure in circular movements. Continue across the abdomen to the right-hand side.
- Once there, move up the right side until you reach the ribcage, and move slowly across to the left, using the same movements.
- Repeat as many times as you like. Note any areas of prominent soreness or tightness.
Working at a desk all day can lead to bad posture in the neck and shoulder area. This is also where we store a lot of our tension. As a result, this area can often feel tight, tired and achy. This simple neck and shoulder massage is highly effective, and can be done anywhere, from your desk to the sun lounger.
- With your head tilted back, use your fingers to squeeze and release the muscles at the base of the neck and on either shoulder.
- Roll your head backwards and forwards, and from side to side. This will help to shorten the muscle. As you do so, push the fingers into the neck in a downwards direction.
- Make firm circles on the back of the neck, working towards the base of the head.
We walk, we run, we exercise… our feet work hard for us, and we can easily take advantage of them. Indulging in a simple, two-minute massage can help to relieve tension in the pressure points and promote feelings of calmness and relaxation. A foot massage is most effective if you place your feet in a bowl of warm water, but if that isn’t available, you will still be able to do a foot self-massage effectively:
- Place one ankle across your knee so that you can easily access the foot. Press your foot between your hands, and rub your hands back and forth in order to completely warm and relax the foot.
- With your fingers, extend and contract each toe. This will help to increase flexibility.
- Massage the balls of the feet with firm fingers and circular movements.
Next time you feel the stress rise up, simple try one of these self-massages and allow a sense of calm and serenity to take its place.