Caregiving isn’t easy – in fact, it can be grueling. But sometimes, making seemingly minor lifestyle changes can uplift your mood. It may sound strange but standing up a little straighter can actually help you feel more capable and in control, even when you’re facing challenges. Does your posture really matter that much? Holding good posture actually improves your muscle function over time, reduces the wear-and-tear on your joints, and prevents injuries as well as pain from spinal issues.
Here’s how to start improving your posture by standing up taller, and how designing comfortable spaces at home can help alleviate your stress.
1. Stand Up Taller
Just by standing up taller, you can begin improving your posture. If you’re used to slouching, this can be trickier than it sounds! Try keeping your spine in a neutral position, pulling your shoulders back, and lifting your chin slightly so that it’s parallel to the ground. Standing this way keeps your weight evenly positioned so that you can avoid straining your joints and muscles.
Plus, you might be shocked by how much taller you look when you focus on maintaining proper posture. Overall, enhancing your posture maximizes your height.
2. Create Stress-Free Spaces
As a caregiver, you undoubtedly endure high levels of stress. Caregiving is time-consuming and often exhausting, and it’s hard to find opportunities to relax when you’re caring for a loved one. Unfortunately, stress can contribute to chronic pain – this is because chronic stress goes hand-in-hand with inflammation.
To lower your stress levels focus on creating comfortable spaces within your home. For example, if you have a home office, this is a good time to declutter and organize your supplies, set up a tidy storage system for your physical documents, and add more lighting. You might also want to invest in ergonomic furniture to better support your back and shoulders for the sake of your posture.
3. Avoid “Tech Neck”
If you have to spend much of your time at home with your loved one, you might end up using your phone for hours each day – it’s tough not to check it frequently when you have downtime. But looking down at your phone or a computer screen for long periods of time can lead to “tech neck,” which refers to the stiffness and soreness that results from bending your head downwards. It can lead to neck pain, headaches, and even shoulder pain. To beat tech neck, Everyday Health recommends limiting your screen time, rolling out your neck and stretching your shoulders, using a standing desk when you have to work on the computer, and taking breaks from your screens at least once every hour.
The never-ending obligations that come with caregiving can leave you feeling worn down. But the mere act of standing tall can help you feel better and remind you of your strength and capabilities.
—Justin Bennett is a fitness writer and creator of Healthy Fit which collects valuable fitness resources from across the web
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