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Self Care December Challenge Week 2


All through December I posted on self-care, and you can see day 9 - 15 here!

Day 9:

You have permission!

Remember when you were a kid and you had to get a permission slip signed by your parents to do some fun thing? Well guess what? Self-care is self-parenting, which means YOU are the boss! You have the power to grant yourself permission. You can write permission slips for such things as:

  • Sleeping when you need sleep

  • Saying no

  • Taking a break

  • Speaking up

  • Making and protecting boundaries

  • Allowing yourself to be authentic

  • Being excited, scared, nervous, goofy, playful, etc.

Caution, this may make you feel drunk with power. So please vow to use your super-powers for good!

Day 10:

Legs up the wall

This is just such a wonderful way to stretch, rest, reset, relax, and restore length to your tight hamstrings. Some tips:

  • Be as close or as far from the wall as you need in order to keep your pelvis neutral and your knees straight.

  • Neutral pelvis = pubic bone and hip bones on the same level, parallel to the floor

  • Prop up head and shoulders if you need to to allow your upper body to relax and your ribs to rest in neutral

  • Neutral ribs = bottom of ribcage in alignment to hip bones, not 'flared' up higher than pelvis.

I can't overstate how relaxing I find this position. I hang out here a lot!

Day 11:

V stretch on the wall

Since we're already doing legs up the wall, let's add another of my favorites. It's a great way to stretch the inner thighs, and it can be intense though it doesn't have to be. Remember, if you break it, you buy it. Just saying. Some tips:

  • Be as close or as far from the wall as you need in order to keep your pelvis neutral and your knees straight.

  • Neutral pelvis = pubic bone and hip bones on the same level, parallel to the floor

  • Prop up head and shoulders if you need to to allow your upper body to relax and your ribs to rest in neutral

  • Neutral ribs = bottom of ribcage in alignment to hip bones, not 'flared' up higher than pelvis.

  • Allow legs to externally rotate (feet and knees point away from each other). Feet can be pointed, flexed, relaxed. Try 'em all.

So delightful you may have to help your legs back to the center. It's all good. And seriously, don't pull a groin. That is not restorative.

Day 12:

Figure four on the wall

Okay, last thing on the wall. We've done legs up the wall, and straddle stretch. But now some love for the deep hip muscles! The external rotators are like the rotator cuff of the shoulder, and they appreciate some love. Some tips:

  • Be as close or as far from the wall as you need in order to keep your pelvis neutral.

  • Neutral pelvis = pubic bone and hip bones on the same level, parallel to the floor

  • Prop up head and shoulders if you need to to allow your upper body to relax and your ribs to rest in neutral

  • Neutral ribs = bottom of ribcage in alignment to hip bones, not 'flared' up higher than pelvis.

  • Cross the ankle over the opposite knee. Allow the bent leg to open, but there's no need to push it.

  • You can bend the wall leg to increase the stretch, but pay attention to your pelvis. If your hip flexed more - great! If your back flattened out and your tailbone lifted - you overshot it.

Both sides, of course, and don't be surprised if they're different. Stretch is great, but don't forget to relax! This is a great place to explore the difference between stretch and release.

Day 13:

"When we are forced to act against our internal messages, feelings become increasingly more difficult to bear. Slowly, feelings themselves change from a friend to a betrayer that only brings pain." - Anne Katherine, M.A.

As you settle in and enjoy the legs up the wall series that I love so well, it's a good time to mention that another act of self-care is setting healthy boundaries. Boundaries are great for all aspects of life - in all ways, in all relationships, all the time. However the most healing boundaries I've discovered in the last couple of years have been in my own body. Letting go of my ego and expectations and allowing myself to truly have a conversation with my body about what works, what doesn't, and where the boundaries are has been an amazingly educational experience. I feel in a lot of ways that I'm meeting myself for the first time. And when I learned how to work with myself rather than against myself, to ask rather than demand, my body relaxed and began to willingly offer the things I'd been after all along. So you can take the opportunity to use the exercises we've visited as an exploration, and inquiry, and a respectful conversation. I think you might like the results, and learn a few things that surprise you.

Day 14:

More belly release? Yes, please.

I mentioned when we visited the belly release exercise (day 4) I have had to work really hard to release chronic tension and bracing in my abdomen. There's lots of reasons our center carries extra tension, which can even include tight clothes! In my case, it was a jackpot of all sorts of things - over exuberant exercise, stress, surgery, illness, and learned patterns, to name a few. And in order to help my abdomen return to its healthy, reflexive state I needed some extra help. Thank goodness for the Coregeous ball! It's a soft, inflatable, grippy ball that I use to massage my abdomen and practice full breaths. I encourage you to check out The Roll Model by Jill Miller for more info, and invest in this or a similar tool to help unstick the hidden tightness that lurks in your gut.

Day 15:

Back massage on demand!

I just LOVE massaging my back from top to bottom with Therapy Balls (Yoga Tune Up). I particularly love working the upper back from the base of the neck to the bottom of the ribcage. Our thoracic back gets good and tight, and when it does it can affect your neck, shoulders, breathing, back muscles, and can cause headaches. So you can use the Therapy Balls or anything else at hand. For many years I tied a pair of tennis balls in a tube sock! Roll, rest, wiggle, move your arms and shoulder blades around - it feels AMAZING. I am so happy to have made this part of my regular self-care routine. You can get more info and ideas by reading The Roll Model by Jill Miller.


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