Getting Back Out There

When we abruptly switched to a sedentary life, many of us suffered from the aches and pains due to under utilized muscles. Eventually, we found ways to stay active and keep our muscle tone up, for me walks and 30 minutes stationary bike 5 days a week.

Today, many of us are back out there after full vaccination. Going out more, doing more grocery runs, meeting up with people. Our bodies ache (especially for older folks) are changing, and until, we once again adapt. I’m experiencing some major-muscle aches and mostly a lot of smaller muscle discomfort around the rib cage and lower back.

I know I have felt exhausted doing things that used to be daily routine, like meeting in person with people. As exciting as it is, I think it would be a mistake to gloss over the physical and psychological effects. We’ll get there, in our own time. Taking it nice and slow will save time in the long run. Trying to suppress conflicting feelings will prolong this new phase of the pandemic. Don’t try to keep up with anyone else. Listen to your body: rest when you're tired.

I don’t know how long it will take for us to adjust, but I have been thinking about how long it took for me to shift my perspective and adapt physically and psychologically to confinement. When I heard it would take a year to develop a vaccine, I switched my outlook from months to years and changed my plans accordingly. Easier said than done of course.

Muscle strain. Simple muscle strain is another leading cause of backaches. Overuse of muscles, stress and cold weather are factors giving our muscles tension. A few things to consider if your muscles are tense: Lie flat on a yoga mat with your knees bent comfortably and do breathing exercises while slowly curving your spine one vertebrae at a time. Make sure your neck is supported by your hands or a small pillow. The goal is to stretch your spine slowly and comfortably. Take a warm bath with epsom salts, and or magnesium flakes and essential oils like lavender. Harbor View Farm’s lavender essential oil is very efficient at reducing stress response. It’s also 25 % off.

Harbor View Farm bath bombs combine the salts and the lavender for relaxation

Right after a bath, use magnesium spray or topical CBD balm to relieve persistent pain. Be mindful of stressful times of day and immediately counteract it. For example, right after an in person conversation, a shopping experience or any stressful experience, acknowledge where the tension is held and work to release it. Go for a warm bath or stretching, listen to relaxing music, run lavender essential oil in your diffuser, or whatever else works for you. Letting the tension build up, will result with worse pain, and for longer.

We’ve been walking indoors, probably in house shoes. Improper footwear can be a cause of muscle strain. Switching to walking on cement or uneven surfaces need to be considered. Mast Shoes is the place to go for proper footwear advice

Hydration. Sometimes muscle fatigue and backaches can be remedied with two glasses of water. Don’t forget to bring a large container of water with you.

Doing your own energy work. Pain of any kind is your body telling you something is wrong. Many of us start panicking and allow our brains to get into a whirl of increasingly alarming thoughts about what is causing the pain. Take a deep breath and focus on where the pain is and imagine it leaving your body. Try meditation and breathing through the pain. Even put your hand on the pain and feel your own energy helping to heal yourself. If someone in your family can apply topical pain relief balms and ointments, CBD balm works great. Guide your family member, or whoever you are confined with, through the massage and keep breathing through the pain. Alternating cold and heat on an area is also recommended.

Mindfulness. While we had to be aware of poor sitting posture, we now have to watch our posture: getting in and out of cars, opening doors, standing, sitting in different kinds of chairs and all the new activities.

Calcium and magnesium. Increase your calcium supplement and calcium rich foods. Calcium deficiency will cause backaches. Use a food-based calcium and magnesium supplement from algae, not limestone.

Increase your daily amount until your back feels better. A great source of calcium is green leafy and sea vegetables. Also sardines and salmon. Miso has vitamin K, which helps proper absorption of calcium. And of course vitamin D is essential for absorption of nutrients and plentiful outdoors right now, supplementation is not necessary if you spend at least 30 minutes outdoors everyday. Dairy products can be helpful if properly digested, and the fermented forms like yogurt and kefir are better absorbed, if unsweetened.

Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant that also helps regulate your hormones and therefore your mood. Most people are deficient in it, be sure to have enough

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