With a year like this one, it’s no wonder anyone feels tension in the neck. Have you been gritting your teeth and bearing it? Have you been holding the weight of your family’s health on your shoulders? After all we’ve been through, it’s okay to give yourself a bit of tender loving care. By taking care of yourself, you can be there for those you love.

Practicing self-massage is not only safe, it’s a good way to release tension that can cause headaches that contribute to grumpy moods.

Below is a 20-minute self-care routine that you can do in the comfort of your home. But before you get started, here are a few tips and precautions:

  • Always wash hands thoroughly before and after practice.
  • Remove jewelry (such as watch, rings, bracelet, earrings, necklace).
  • Loosen restrictive clothing.
  • Be in comfortable position.
  • Remove environmental distractions, like your phone or computer – except for the screen you are following along with.
  • You may wish to play soothing background sound or music.
  • Have drinking water available.
  • Avoid massage to any areas of swelling, redness, rash or broken skin.
  • If you have a bleeding disorder condition or take medication to thin your blood, use light pressure.

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Tending to your physical tension and distress can help your mental health, too. Relaxing is crucial to maintaining a steady mood during these difficult times. But remember that self care is an important part of your health and well-being and it’s not something you have to figure out on your own.

Whole Health can offer you the support you need to get started. Explore the Circle of Health to find the self-care resources you need for a healthier life: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/circle-of-health/index.asp.

Andrea Young is a field implementation team consultant with the VHA Office of Patient Centered Care & Cultural Transformation.

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Published on Dec. 30, 2020

Estimated reading time is 1.5 min.

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