How to Release Chronic Tension when it is Caused by Anger

How to Release Chronic Tension when it is Caused by Anger

Photo by Gabriel Matula on Unsplash

Do you feel tense and achy in your body from holding in anger? See if any of these tips appeal to you to safely release stuck anger and allow your body to relax again.

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How to Wake Up a "Soggy Brain"

How to Wake Up a "Soggy Brain"

What do you do when you feel fully stuck and realize you’re spending too much time on social media or wandering down some other rabbit hole? It’s time to switch gears entirely!

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash

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Tips and Tools for At-Home Pain Relief

Tips and Tools for At-Home Pain Relief

Getting a massage right when you need it most isn’t always possible. So what do you do when you’re in pain, stretching isn’t enough and you can’t get in for a massage right away?

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Deep Tissue Massage - What exactly does that mean and does it have to hurt?

Deep Tissue Massage - What exactly does that mean and does it have to hurt?

Deep Tissue Massage is important and beneficial for treating chronic pain from chronic tension in the soft tissues. But it should not hurt and can even be quite relaxing as you feel your tight muscles release long-held tension.

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Breathwork to Help Alleviate Stress, Anxiety and Restore Balance

Breathwork to Help Alleviate Stress, Anxiety and Restore Balance

Breathing is a simple act we do throughout the day, mostly unintentionally. But with conscious breathing, we can really change how we feel in each moment and cope with stressful situations much more easily.

Photo by Le Minh Phuong on Unsplash

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Practice Self-Compassion When You Need to Rest

Photo by  Giulia Bertelli  on  Unsplash
Compassion for Others begins with Kindness to Ourselves.
— Pema Chodron

Setting this goal of writing one blog post per week was a big deal for me. I put it off for a long time for many reasons, including that I knew a week like this one would come - I'm tired, mentally and physically. I have no bandwidth for focusing or critical thinking. Researching and composing an engaging post feels REALLY hard right now. Too hard.

I'm not even stressed - I'm exhausted from all good things. Today I returned from a quick trip to Lake Chelan with my parents who are in town. It was great; a fun and relaxing mini-vacation. But I'm depleted from all the driving and time outdoors in the hot and super smoky air. And like anyone with messy old kitties, I spent a lot of time and energy deep-cleaning my house prior to my parents' arrival. I knew I'd be tired from a busy weekend, but thought I could still cover the blog post topic I'd planned.

But, I was wrong. The usual energy boost methods aren't enough so I'm spending my time instead recharging my batteries with the methods that work for me: taking naps, doing yoga, eating well, playing in my garden, moving mindfully. More importantly than writing a content-rich post, I want to be rested and fully present for working hands-on with clients this week. So I've decided to go easier on myself today; to be Self-Compassionate and honor my mind and body's need for rest. 

In the past I would have taken the road of Self-Criticism, telling myself all of the ways in which I could have better prepared for this week and beating myself up for not writing the post in advance. Or I may have listened to my Inner Critic saying "you'll never complete this goal so just give up now." But neither of those voices actually serves me in a healthy way. And after practicing enough Self-Compassion, I've learned how to recognize the Inner Critic voices and not to listen to them anymore. 

Self-Compassion is not a way of judging ourselves positively. Self-Compassion is a way of relating to ourselves kindly... embracing ourselves, flaws and all.
— Kristin Neff

The interesting part of this Self-Compassion moment, is that when I let myself "off the hook" for the topic I'd planned, I realized that I could share this as a topic. It requires less of my energy to relate my current experience. So ironically, by allowing myself to not meet my weekly goal, I found the inspiration to still achieve it! And I'm acknowledging the feeling that this is just a "filler" blog post and that it is also okay. 

Sometimes we have to rest and "do less" than what we planned in order to have energy to do more in the future. The next time your inner critic starts speaking loudly when you're too tired to do something well, check in with your voice of Self-Compassion. If you need help finding that voice, try this guided meditation by one of my favorite teachers, Tara Brach. Remember to start small and practice daily. Like any unfamiliar habit, it takes time and repetition to learn to be kind to ourselves

Contrast Therapy- At-Home Treatment for Foot Pain

Photo by  Xavier Foucrier  on  Unsplash

Should you use heat or ice for pain? There are multiple opinions on which method is best to use and for what ailment, but unfortunately there isn't a whole lot of data to indicate what is actually the best treatment.

My suggestion is to do what works best for you. If icing for 15 minutes just feels awful, don't do it. If you feel worse after applying a heat pack for 10-20 minutes, it's not helping you. Choose the method that provides relief during the 10-20 minute application and also leaves you feeling better an hour or more later.

My preferred application is a combination of heat and ice, called Contrast Therapy. In this method you create a vascular flush by alternating cold to constrict the vessels and remove inflammation, and heat to dilate the vessels to increase blood flow and relax muscle tissue. This is an effective at-home treatment for many common foot complaints, including:

  • Plantar Fascitis
  • Heel Spurs
  • Tendonitis
  • Sesamoiditis
  • Foot Cramps
  • Stiff Joints
  • Achiness from Over-Use
  • Post Injury or Surgery Inflammation (talk to health care provider about appropriate time to begin)

The Foot Soak Method:

1. Set up two containers that are large enough to fit your feet. These could be large bowls, dishtubs, or even large ziplock baggies (caution- spillage risk!).

2. Fill one container with hot tap water (max 110 degrees so you don't burn yourself). For increase therapeutic benefit, add a cup of epsom salts. Fill just enough so that the water reaches over your ankle when fully submerged. 

3. Fill the other with cold tap water adding ice if you want to make it colder. Make sure both tubs are tolerable.

4. Before starting your soak, grab a towel to dry your feet when you are done. Alternate soaking your feet in each tub according to the schedule that fits best for you:

For tension or stiffness, alternate 3 minutes hot, 1 minute cold for 15 -20 minutes. End with cold.

For inflammation or pain, alternate 3 minutes cold, 1 minute hot for 15-20 minutes. End with cold.

These times are general guidelines and can be adjusted as needed. Again, do what feels and works best for you.

If doing this method for a full 20 minutes, you may want to add more hot water or ice during the soak. But even a temperature difference of 20 degrees is enough to create the desired effect. 

Additional Contrast Therapy Methods:

The method above can also be used for hands, wrists, forearms & elbows. 

If you want to use contrast therapy on a body area where you can't to do a full soak, you can apply the same method using hot and ice packs. This can be as simple as filling gallon zip-lock baggies with hot water and ice water. Be sure to protect your skin using a thin towel wrapped around each pack.

Safety Precautions:

Contrast Hydrotherapy isn't appropriate for everyone. If you are uncertain whether this is safe for you or are generally supposed to avoid applying heat, ice or have a heart condition, please consult your doctor before trying this method.