6 stretches all moms should try after a long day.
Being a mom takes a toll on your back, whether you’re carrying a car seat, lugging around a heavy diaper bag or bending down to pick up your baby from their crib.
The latter move especially — bending and compressing the spine — will put pressure on the disks in your back. Performing the cat-cow pose, a go-to yoga move can help relieve this tension, though.
After a long day, get down on all fours and first arch your back like a scared cat. Then, curve your spine in the opposite direction and lift your neck to mimic a cow’s body when it moos. Repeat those two moves back and forth to do the cat-cow and softly stretch out your back.
Holding a baby or toddler on your hip puts a lot of pressure on that bone. That’s especially true if you tend to hold your little one on the same side every time. That hip will feel lots of pressure and need some release at the end of the day.
Lots of yoga moves can reduce hip pain. An easy one to try is the butterfly stretch. Sit on the ground and put your feet together in front of you with your knees out to the side. Your legs will look almost triangular in shape, thus mimicking butterfly wings.
This move opens up your hips and improves hip rotation. For a deeper stretch, push your knees gently.
If you’re physically running around with your kids all day, then do the shoulder bridge when it’s time to wind down.
Lay on the ground with your hands next to you, palms down. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Then, push your heels into the ground to lift your booty into the air. Inhale as you rise, and exhale once you’ve gotten to the top, pressing your pelvis even further toward the ceiling. Hold your body up there for up to four seconds, then release.
Do this move a few times to really loosen up your glutes.
Working moms will have shoulder and neck pain from sitting at their desks all day. Meanwhile, stay-at-home moms will deal with the same aches, whether they’re bending to clean up, craning to read with kids, or changing babies’ diapers.
If your chest and upper back feel tight, this easy stretch can help fizzle that tension. Put your hands behind your head with your elbows bent. Then, twist your elbows forward until they tap together in front of your face. Then, rotate them back and stop once they’re behind your ears.
Rotator cuff stretch
If the above stretch isn’t enough to relieve your post-hunching pain, then add the rotator cuff stretch into your rotation, too.
Lay on the ground and place your elbow on the ground beside your head. Start with your fingertips toward the ceiling, then slowly rotate them backward so your arm falls to the floor. Try to get the back of your hand to touch the floor.
Once you get there, hold the position for up to 30 seconds before lifting your arms and moving them toward your feet without unhinging your elbow from its position. Once your arms are in their straight-up starting position, hold again for up to a half-minute. Repeat this move up to five times to loosen back tension.
Take a note from the ones you take care of all day long and try the child’s pose to relax after a long day. This move stretches the spine and fizzles neck tension, and it feels great while doing so. You might find yourself holding it for a minute or two just because you need the mental and physical relief.
To get into the child’s pose, start by kneeling and set your knees hip-width apart. Take a deep breath in. Then, as you breathe out, press your torso down into the space between your knees. At the same time, stretch your hands in front of your torso.
Once you’re in place, try to exhale again and lower your shoulders down closer to the mat. Hold that pose for as long as you want. Or, sit up, sip some wine, then return a few times to this feel-good position.
Stretch – you have earned it
As much as you love being a mom, it does require hard work — and causes lots of stress. This can take a toll on your body and mind.
Rather than giving into the tension and aches, you should stretch at the end of every day. It will make you feel better both physically and mentally — and that’s the kind of self-care you deserve.