If you are active then most likely you suffer from aches, pains and injuries from time to time. The frustration of not being able to stick to your routine because of a injury is a big burden. Most of us who work out regularly do so because it makes us feel good and because we appreciate the outcome it brings to our appearance. When the pain kicks in and our active lifestyle comes to a screeching halt, unhappiness rears its ugly head. I don’t know about you, but Google and Web MD become my new bffs. “Must find a solution,” becomes my motto. I start to get anxious and the constant worrying about my recovery nags me on a whole new level because I just want to get back to normal, don’t you?
All this extra stress clearly is not helping the situation. Sometimes when the pain is unbearable that’s all you can think about and your mind somehow harping on the injury creates more problems! Stress is bad we all know that. Being in pain sucks, we all know that too. So how can we control our minds, calm ourselves down and maintain positivity so that we heal faster and get back to our regular selves? It all starts with calming your mind. When you catch yourself repeating, “Oh this hurts, the pain is so bad, I can’t handle this,” you need to stop the cycle! You can do this by putting yourself in a relaxing environment. In all my down time I’ve tested some methods and found some simple, easy to do techniques that only take up 1 hour of your day. I call this the 60 Minute Zen Zone!
60 Minute Zen Zone
I recommend doing this 4 step method at the end of your day and right before bedtime because the extra relaxation will help you get a better night sleep. We all know that pain disrupts our Z’s and a proper nights sleep is necessary if we want our body to heal.
60 Minute Zen Zone Rules: Do not allow any distractions during your Zen Zone (ahh hem that includes your phone, tablet, TV, etc.) This is critical for total relaxation of the body and mind.
Step 1: Take a 15 minutes hot and steamy bath with Epsom salt to soothe and relax your tightened muscles. Dim the lights, put on a candle, play relaxing music; whatever it is that will get you in the Zen Zone, do it! Shut your bathroom door to trap the steam and drop some lavender bubble bath in the tub to transport your senses into a deeper relaxation.
Step 2: Follow your hot and steamy bath with meditation (note, continue to stay away from any distractions.) Deep breathing allows you to discard any negative thoughts and lets you concentrate on your breath. Try this for 15 minutes. Quieting the noise, centering yourself and letting go of negative, frustrating thoughts will not only put your mind at ease, it will allow your muscles to loosen. If your diagnosis allows for it, try applying pressure with your pointer finger and middle finger to tight spots in your muscles for a minute at a time, while practicing deep breathing techniques, to further break down tension and knots that could be facilitating pain.
Step 3: Keep the quiet, maintain the deep breathing and stretch for 15 minutes (within limitations of your injury.) Stretching shouldn’t be limited to your injured area, heck you may not even be able to stretch that body part yet, but there are plenty of other body parts you can work on. This helps for all over body relaxation. Hold each stretch for a minimum of 20-30 seconds.
Step 4: Heat or ice, depending on doctors orders. This helps with inflammation and eases tension. I rotate between the two. Do this for the last 15 minutes of this 4 part set. You can even do this in bed and drift asleep after your 15 minutes are complete.
After a 60 Minute Zen Zone you should be feeling much better mentally and physically. It is important to practice relaxation methods daily as muscle stiffen back up throughout the day with regular use.
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