Do these at your desk to bring yourself some relief
We all accumulate tension during the day as we deal with work, school, and social responsibilities. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time—or the cash!—to get a professional massage. But you can still benefit by getting to know some of the pressure points that massage therapists tend to use to release tension. Try it yourself, to press the “reset” button!
These tactics can come in handy when you find yourself in need of a break. See if you notice the difference. (A reminder: Always be gentle with yourself, and avoid making any sudden or jerking movements with your neck.)
Relax that jaw
Maybe you wake up with a tired jaw—evidence that you might be grinding your teeth in your sleep, or at least clenching your jaw. Helping to relax these areas of your face and jaw might help you avoid a lingering headache. To begin, place your thumbs on your cheekbones, up near your ears. Using your fingertips, find your temples (the soft spots between your ear and the corner of your eye) and apply gentle pressure. Gradually increase the pressure, using a small circular motion. Be aware of where you feel any tension, and focus on releasing it through your fingertips.
Don’t neglect your scalp
Slowly move this same circular motion from your temples and up along your hairline, until your fingers of both hands meet in the middle of your forehead. Take your time for this gentle scalp massage—it can be highly relaxing once you get used to it. (You’re trying to recreate some of the sensations many of us enjoy when we lay our heads back over the sink at a hair salon.)
Give your neck a break
Here are some moves you can do even while seated at your desk. First, rest your left hand where your left shoulder meets the base of your neck, and your right hand on the same place on the other side. Take a deep breath, and as you let it out, slowly allow your head to drop back, while squeezing the muscles in your shoulders into your palms. Next, lower your elbows to your desk and with another exhale, slowly lower your head forward. Use your fingertips to focus on the muscles on either side of your spine in your neck, making small circles, first in one direction, and then the other. Finally, interlace your fingers behind your head and let your arms gently pull your head forward to stretch out the muscles of your neck and upper back.
Take a moment to breathe
After this mini massage, see if you’re aware of increased blood flow to the areas you focused on. Give your body time to adjust to the movement. Remember to take similar breaks a few times a day to move, stretch, or simply walk away from your work station for a minute or two.
Massage is a process of getting to know yourself, and not every movement will bring instant relief. You might need to try these moves a few different times before you become acquainted with your own “sweet spots” that can release some built-up tension. Then consider skipping a few dinners out and put the money aside for a professional massage. You’ll find it can make a huge difference, given how much we rely on our bodies to sit still and also do repetitive and stressful motions.
This article is part of the Harris Casel Institute’s weekly blog. We conveniently offer many career training programs at our campus in Melbourne, FL. Contact us online for more information!