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The Black Friday / Cyber Monday deliveries have arrived, it is time to start wrapping up that pile of goodies for all your family and friends. We have all done it, piled the presents around us, popped on our favourite Christmas film or music, grabbed mince pie and a mulled wine or hot chocolate and settled down for a present wrapping session.
More often than not, all the preparation is about the tools we need to do the job at hand (as well as treats to keep us going). However we often forget the main tool we need - our body, and instead just plop down with little thought to the discomfort we will be in after half an hour or so of sitting on the floor, leaning over and stretching.
This year, try out some of my tips to ensure you don't need to pop in to see your osteopath for a pre-Christmas tune-up. At the end of this blog, I share some exercises you can try to stretch out whilst you are wrapping.
Buy it & Wrap it Ok, I am not a fan of this. I never remember to write down what I have bought and for whom, so if I did this I would end up with a huge pile for one person, and nothing for someone else. HOWEVER, if you are more organised than I am, then this is a great way to avoid wrapping pain.
Give Gift Certificates
So this may seem to be the unimaginative choice of present, however, you can tailor the gift to the recipient, and you can often avoid the stress of shopping by purchasing online, and the discomfort of wrapping. Perhaps you know someone who would benefit from an osteopathic treatment - we offer gift certificates
for both new and existing patients. What better gift than to relieve someone else's pain.
Use gift bags Many of our presents over the last few years have come from a certain large online store, which has offered the option to wrap the gift in a reusable fabric gift bags. Last year my whole family decided to pool our collection of these bags and to reuse them to wrap as many gifts as possible, reducing the amount of waste, and as a side benefit we spent less time trying to perfectly line up wrapping paper and trying to find the end of the sellotape, and so less stress on our bodies, WIN - WIN in my eyes.
Don't sit on the floor
First of all, don't sit on the floor if possible. Instead, sit at a table in a supportive chair, or stand up, or alternate between the 2.
- Standing up
- If you are standing make sure your work surface is the right height - a kitchen work-top or an ironing board is a better height than a table.
- Make sure your shoulders are not hunching upwards, keep them relaxed.
- Remember to change position regularly, move around or sit down if your back starts to feel tired.
- Sitting up
- If sitting, make sure your work surface is the right height.
- Keep the parcel being wrapped in front of you with plenty of space to allow you to move it around so you aren't over-stretching
- If it is large, then stand up if necessary
- Do not let your shoulders drop forwards.
- Do not let your upper back round.
- Keep a gentle backward curve in your lower back
Prepare your work station
Gather the wrapping paper, gift tags, scissors, sellotape andpens so that they are easy to reach within arm's length.
Don't stretch too far, instead move the gift or wrapping paper towards you.
Every half an hour or so change your sitting or standing position and stretch out those muscles which have been maintaining your position. Remember it is never your posture that is your problem it is the lack of movement. Below are 3 exercises which will help you ease tired muscles
These exercises come from the exercise prescription app I use for my patients - https://www.rehabmypatient.com/ and they very kindly let me use examples to show you how I can help you. #osteopathyworks @rehabmypatient
Sitting extension with side bending
Sitting on a supportive chair with good posture, place your hands behind your neck and link your fingers so you are supporting your neck. Slowly lift up through your neck and then bend backwards and to the side. Repeat to each side 3-5 times. This exercise will help mobility in the spinal joints. https://youtu.be/9a7_arRuohs
Standing Lower Trapezius Strengthening
Stand up tall, with good posture. Place your arms at 45 degrees to your side, and palms facing forwards. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you draw your arms back. You should feel a tightening of the muscles at the bottom of your shoulder blades. This exercise will strengthen your lower trapezius muscle and rhomboid muscles, and help with posture. https://youtu.be/ThsefcZ1yqc
Standing Lower Trapezius Strengthening
Sit upright with good posture. Gently pull your head back as far as comfortable and down slightly. You will feel some gentle tension at the front and back of your neck. This exercise will help your neck and upper back posture. https://youtu.be/VYcifC6BFgc
If you find you still end up struggling after following these tips, or have found this blog too late, then give me a call on 07474 521 329 to find out how osteopathy can help you or book an appointment online