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5 Ways to Lessen Back Pain

5 Ways to Lessen Back Pain

As you’ve aged throughout the years, you’ve probably noticed a significant increase in the amount of back pain you experience on a semi-regular basis. While some discomfort is inevitable as you grow older, there are measures you can take to minimize the stress you put on your back throughout your day. The worst thing you can do for back pain is ignore it or try to “tough it out”; you’ll just end up doing more harm than good. If your back pain starts to become so debilitating that getting around becomes a hassle, you need to do something about it before it’s much too late.

Stop Slouching

You’ve heard this ever since you were a kid at the dinner table: Sit up straight! Slouching causes undue and avoidable stress on your neck, spine, shoulders, and neck – and it makes us look like cavemen. Of course, sitting up straight takes a conscious effort at all times – especially when watching TV or clicking around on the Internet. Along with the various exercises that can help improve your posture, you should get in the habit of consciously sitting up tall with your shoulders square. Hopefully, after a while it will become second nature!

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Assess Your Sleep Situation

If you spend sleepless nights tossing and turning in bed trying to get comfortable, your mattress might be the problem. There are many factors that go into choosing the right mattress, such as the amount of support you need as well as whether you sleep on your back, side, or stomach. While there are definitely measures you can take to avoid back pain, you can only do so much. Make sure that when you lay down each night, you’re getting the comfort you deserve.

Get Active

I previously mentioned the importance of exercising, but it’s not enough to just stretch a little bit and assume your back pain will just melt away. A 30-minute a day regimen of low-impact exercise, such as walking, swimming, or practicing yoga, could be all that you need to make a difference in the severity of your back pain. Not only that, but you’ll probably end up losing a little bit of weight, which in turn will put less stress on your back. However, like I said, don’t just think that you can laze around for the rest of the day just because you’ve done your workout routine for the day. Being active means staying active. Do everything you can to avoid long periods of sitting or laying around if you don’t want your back pain to return.

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Herbal Remedies

The reason herbal remedies is so far down on the list is because I don’t want you to think you can simply take a couple pills and feel right as rain. And I definitely don’t want you to believe that over the counter pain pills actually do anything more than mask your symptoms. The reason these remedies are called supplements is because they do just that: supplement the other actions you need to take in order to alleviate back pain. Anti-inflammatory supplements such as ginger, turmeric, and capsaicin come in creams, pills, or even teas, and can give you the comfort needed to take further steps toward a healthier lifestyle.

Meditate and Be Mindful

It sounds cheesy, but meditation can create a certain harmony between your mind and your body that will certainly help out when you’re feeling frustrated due to back pain. Although the jury is still out on whether or not meditation actually alleviates physical symptoms, it does allow you to be more mindful of how you go about your life on a daily basis.

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As mentioned before, being mindful simply means making a conscious effort to care for your back at all times. It means avoiding strenuous movements and activities, as well as lifting objects that are heavier than you know you should be lifting. Remaining conscious of the fact that your body “isn’t what it used to be” can be tough to do, but it’s definitely better than being laid up in a hospital bed!

Featured photo credit: Twitter 365 Project – Day 30 / lu_lu via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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