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    How to Manage Stress & Anxiety During Uncertain Times

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    Stress

     

    Is this lockdown is bringing you down? Are you feeling more stressed and anxious in this past year?? Well, you aren’t alone.

     

    In today’s blog, we brought Osteopathic Manual Practitioner Clara Yan, D.O.M.P., D.Sc.O., to help shed light on some of these issues, and to give you solutions on how to manage the pain that comes from stress and anxiety.

    As an osteopathic manual practitioner, I have both seen it and experienced it.

    Stress and anxiety can come in different forms. It can show up physically in your neck, back, headaches, as shortness of breath or vision issues. Or it can show up more emotionally. Many people may not realize this, but the way that you sit at your desk or table can really influence how you feel.

     

    If you were to take a snapshot from the front and the side of you right now, how would your posture look? Are you hunched over? Are you sitting up straight? Are your hips, knees, and ankles at a comfortable 90 degrees, or are they reaching for the floor? Are you sitting crossed legged? Do you have support for your neck and lower back? All of these can really factor in to increasing your stress and anxiety. Let’s take a deeper look as to how.

     

    Is this lockdown is bringing you down? Are you feeling more stressed and anxious in this past year?? Well, you aren’t alone.

     

    In today’s blog, we brought Osteopathic Manual Practitioner Clara Yan, D.O.M.P., D.Sc.O., to help shed light on some of these issues, and to give you solutions on how to manage the pain that comes from stress and anxiety.

    As an osteopathic manual practitioner, I have both seen it and experienced it.

    Stress and anxiety can come in different forms. It can show up physically in your neck, back, headaches, as shortness of breath or vision issues. Or it can show up more emotionally. Many people may not realize this, but the way that you sit at your desk or table can really influence how you feel.

     

    If you were to take a snapshot from the front and the side of you right now, how would your posture look? Are you hunched over? Are you sitting up straight? Are your hips, knees, and ankles at a comfortable 90 degrees, or are they reaching for the floor? Are you sitting crossed legged? Do you have support for your neck and lower back? All of these can really factor in to increasing your stress and anxiety. Let’s take a deeper look as to how.

    Correct Posture

    How posture affects stress & anxiety levels

    I have heard it many times since we emerged from the first lockdown: my desk is not set up properly, but I don’t know how to change it. The monitor is too far away, people are using their dining room chairs, etc etc. This causes people to hunch more. Shoulders start to roll forward, chin and neck starts to jut out and this is just the beginning.

     

    The amount of stress that we are putting on our joints and organs is insurmountable. Imagine this, the rolled forward shoulders decreases the amount of space your lungs have to expand. It pulls on your spinal column which in turn pulls on your diaphragm. You can try it for yourself.

     

    Sit in a slouched position and take a deep breath, do you feel like you can get a full breath in? Now, try sitting straight as if there is a string pulling you from the ceiling. Take a deep breath. Do you notice the difference? When we can allow for better oxygen exchange, we allow for an increased sense of calmness. We can take deeper breaths, slow down our heart rate and think more clearly.

    muscle pain

    Next, in a slouched state, think of what it is doing to your digestive organs! Imagine you just had a big lunch, possibly pasta and you feel like it’s just sitting there. Well, you aren’t wrong!! You are now compressing down on the stomach and colons. Think about a hose in your garden. When it’s working properly, you get a good amount of water coming out of the end. Now, what happens if you step on it? Water can still come out, but maybe at a slower rate. A little bit of compression on the colons can do the same. If we don’t allow for the food to move through our intestines, they sit there and they linger. Your body needs to work harder to push things through. Now, instead of having a clear mind for work, your blood flow and energy are going to your digestive system to help move the food through!

    Everything hands off of your skeleton

    These are just a few foods for thought. Clients who come to see an osteopathic manual practitioner are often stuck in these positions. It isn’t necessarily “digestive issues” or “breathing issues” that I hear of, it’s usually lower back or neck pain.

     

    Remember, everything hangs off of your skeleton. This is important because our body works as one functional unit. Your neck and back are related, but your neck pain may not be strictly neck pain. If you are decreasing the space for your lungs to aspirate, you are minimizing the amount of movement in your mid back. This then causes other areas to work harder (i.e. neck and lower back). If you notice that your digestion has slowed down, or you are feeling more bloated lately, think about where that sits in your body. It can directly affect your lower back because of it.

     

    Keeping your body active is just one part of it. Get up and walk around every so often, like you would to get a coffee from the break room, or to the printer. More importantly, make sure you are sitting properly with a good set up.

    Here are some tips for sitting up straighter:

    1. Imagine like there is a string pulling you upwards from the crown of your head.
    2. Roll your shoulders back and down as if you are putting your shoulder blades into your back pocket.
    3. Align your ears over your shoulders. Make sure you aren’t overextending your neck. You shouldn’t be looking up at the ceiling at all. Pick a point in front of you and imagine like you are moving your head away from it.
    4. Decrease the arch in your lower back. Pretend like your pelvis is a bowl of water and you do not want to tip the water out of your bowl.
    5. Hold this posture and take 5 deep breaths.
    6. You want to try to maintain this posture throughout the day. I know it’s difficult, but over time, it’ll become easier.

    How posture affects stress & anxiety levels

    I have heard it many times since we emerged from the first lockdown: my desk is not set up properly, but I don’t know how to change it. The monitor is too far away, people are using their dining room chairs, etc etc. This causes people to hunch more. Shoulders start to roll forward, chin and neck starts to jut out and this is just the beginning.

     

    The amount of stress that we are putting on our joints and organs is insurmountable. Imagine this, the rolled forward shoulders decreases the amount of space your lungs have to expand. It pulls on your spinal column which in turn pulls on your diaphragm. You can try it for yourself.

     

    Sit in a slouched position and take a deep breath, do you feel like you can get a full breath in? Now, try sitting straight as if there is a string pulling you from the ceiling. Take a deep breath. Do you notice the difference? When we can allow for better oxygen exchange, we allow for an increased sense of calmness. We can take deeper breaths, slow down our heart rate and think more clearly.

    muscle pain

    Next, in a slouched state, think of what it is doing to your digestive organs! Imagine you just had a big lunch, possibly pasta and you feel like it’s just sitting there. Well, you aren’t wrong!! You are now compressing down on the stomach and colons. Think about a hose in your garden. When it’s working properly, you get a good amount of water coming out of the end. Now, what happens if you step on it? Water can still come out, but maybe at a slower rate. A little bit of compression on the colons can do the same. If we don’t allow for the food to move through our intestines, they sit there and they linger. Your body needs to work harder to push things through. Now, instead of having a clear mind for work, your blood flow and energy are going to your digestive system to help move the food through!

    Everything hands off of your skeleton

    These are just a few foods for thought. Clients who come to see an osteopathic manual practitioner are often stuck in these positions. It isn’t necessarily “digestive issues” or “breathing issues” that I hear of, it’s usually lower back or neck pain.

     

    Remember, everything hangs off of your skeleton. This is important because our body works as one functional unit. Your neck and back are related, but your neck pain may not be strictly neck pain. If you are decreasing the space for your lungs to aspirate, you are minimizing the amount of movement in your mid back. This then causes other areas to work harder (i.e. neck and lower back). If you notice that your digestion has slowed down, or you are feeling more bloated lately, think about where that sits in your body. It can directly affect your lower back because of it.

     

    Keeping your body active is just one part of it. Get up and walk around every so often, like you would to get a coffee from the break room, or to the printer. More importantly, make sure you are sitting properly with a good set up.

    Here are some tips for sitting up straighter:

    1. Imagine like there is a string pulling you upwards from the crown of your head.
    2. Roll your shoulders back and down as if you are putting your shoulder blades into your back pocket.
    3. Align your ears over your shoulders. Make sure you aren’t overextending your neck. You shouldn’t be looking up at the ceiling at all. Pick a point in front of you and imagine like you are moving your head away from it.
    4. Decrease the arch in your lower back. Pretend like your pelvis is a bowl of water and you do not want to tip the water out of your bowl.
    5. Hold this posture and take 5 deep breaths.
    6. You want to try to maintain this posture throughout the day. I know it’s difficult, but over time, it’ll become easier.
    Clara Yan

    If you need additional support, you can contact Clara at www.clarayan.com or [email protected].

    Clara Yan

    If you need additional support, you can contact Clara at www.clarayan.com or [email protected].

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    A lotus is a flower that blooms from the mud. It symbolizes overcoming adversity and achieving your greatest potential. The Loti Wellness Box offers practical skills and products to reduce stress and anxiety, and improve your overall wellbeing.