Energy self-care tips: Making Space

Our bodies function best when there is space. That's why we can feel so sluggish when our muscles are tense and we're tight with stress. There's no space for the body to breathe. When you're feeling constrained, low on energy, tight, aching or lethargic, take a few minutes to create some space in your body and you'll be so glad you did.

  1. Stand up and stretch. Reach your arms high above you, grab one wrist and pull that arm over to the side and bend sideways as far as is comfortable. Feel the stretch from the hip all along the side of the ribcage, through the armpit and along the arm. Switch to the other side.
  2. Keep both arms reaching up. With each arm in turn, reach up and grab as if you're plucking an apple from a branch high above you. Repeat several times.
  3. Fold yourself over so you're arms are hanging to the ground. Feel your spine lengthen and the backs of your legs stretch. Breathe deeply and feel yourself dropping closer to the ground with each out breath. Slowly roll back up to a relaxed standing position.
  4. With spread fingers, gently tap all over your face, then a little harder over your head, from front to back. Keep tapping all the way to the shoulders. Do one shoulder at a time so you can tap harder, supporting the elbow of the tapping hand with your other hand.
  5. Tap on the chest below the inner corners of the collar bone, on the sternum and on the ribcage beneath each breast. 
  6. Continue around to the side of the ribcage, down the sides and onto the hips.
  7. Change to an open fist and pound the sides of the legs from hip to knee. Repeat 3 or 4 times.
  8. Sweep with open hands down the backs and sides of the legs to the feet, then back up the insides of the legs, across the groin to the hips and down around again a few times.
  9. The final time, sweep up the insides of the legs and continue up the front of the body, over the face to the crown of the head. Tap one time quickly on the crown with a "Tuhhh" sound and raise the arms above the head.
  10. Turn your hands so they face outwards and, blowing out your breath as if through a straw, slowly lower your arms to your sides.
Apart from feeling energized and refreshed after this, it's also good for calming you down if you are stressed, as the controlled breathing at the end will balance your blood pressure.

If you have a friend or co-worker who will try it with you, add the option of pounding with open fists down each other's backs (avoid tapping directly on the spine itself).

If you find you're particularly tense in the shoulders, use a hairbrush (the kind with the rounded tips) to tap all over the shoulder muscles. Allow your wrist to be loose so the brush can really bounce. It's more about the action of all the prongs than how hard you do it. This is a great way to break up tension in tight muscles and reset the spindle cells.

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