I tried something new this week. My physical therapist has mentioned at most of my appointments that stretching needs to be part of my daily routine. More recently, at my yearly neurology appointment, my doctor asked if I stretch on the regular and I responded, “Oh yeah, definitely. I stretch. Yep.”
But then, my car broke down (alternator) on the way out of the parking garage, and I ended up stranded on a side street near downtown. While I was waiting for the tow truck, I got to thinking. I don’t stretch. Not even a little bit.
Here’s the thing, though: In the moment, I didn’t really think I was lying. Stretching the truth a bit, sure, (see what I did there?) but not an all out lie. I kinda thought I did stretch. You know, like sometimes in the morning I roll my neck around. Or after my walk, I might reach my arms up over my head for a few seconds. I always knew I ought to have a more dedicated time for it but I guess I sort of assumed it would just happen on its own at some point? Like eating 12 chocolate-covered pretzels when you meant to eat 3. That just happens sometimes.
Anyway, this is a long-winded way of telling you that I’ve started stretching. In the morning, after I’m dressed and ready for the day, I stretch for ten minutes before I have breakfast. Sometimes I do a short yoga stretching video. Sometimes not. I still take my walk at lunchtime. And then at night, when we watch a show or listen to an audiobook, I stretch for ten more minutes and use the shoulder massage tool I bought for
Here’s what’s surprised me most. I feel kinda great? Before I started this routine, most days I felt, at all times, like I needed a deep tissue massage. That’s my usual vibe. Stiff and tight and sore. Always. But this week I’ve felt different. I’ve had less pain during the day in general and my morning and evening stretching have become nice bookends to the day. It feels good to start the day feeling good. And it makes me want to end the day that way as well.
So I’m making this a note-to-self: Stretching is amazing for me. A game-changer. Is it amazing for everyone? I have no idea. But if I keep this up, I won’t need to lie to my neurologist next year and, though it’s too soon to say for sure, maybe my #CurrentMood won’t always be “NeedIbuprofen.”
If you’re interested in stretching more, I’ve really enjoyed this youtube channel — Yoga with Bird. Her stuff is so mellow and slow and chill. She has several short stretching videos (5-15 minutes) to choose from and I even tried a longer one on Wednesday. It was 30 minutes and a tad more involved, activity-wise, but still mostly focused on stretching and breathing and presence.