National Stress Awareness Day is celebrated on the first Wednesday in November every year, meaning this year it fell on November 3. This day was created to help people identify and reduce the stress factors in their lives. According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2020, 60% of Americans report experiencing a significant amount of daily stress.
Did you know that one early sign of too much stress is stress-induced neck pain? All of the built-up tension of handling day-to-day responsibilities can really take a toll on your body, and your neck is one of the most common areas stress-induced pain flares up.
So what differentiates stress-induced neck pain from regular neck pain? Stress-induced neck pain is defined as pain either triggered or worsened by psychological or emotional factors.
If you’ve noticed your neck has been hurting for a few days and can’t attribute it to an injury or sleeping on it wrong, stress may be the cause. Don’t worry, there are steps you can take to relieve the pain before calling a doctor.
Ask For Help
Feel like you don’t have enough time in the day to accomplish everything? Ask a friend to run that last-minute errand for you or instead of cooking the whole holiday dinner yourself, have each family member bring a different dish.
And don’t forget to prioritize. We know everything on your list is important, but sometimes you have to realize that you can’t get it all done, and that’s okay. Get the most important tasks done first, and don’t stress about the less important items.
Keep Exercising Regularly
With everything that needs to get done, exercise often falls to the wayside which is detrimental for both your physical and mental health. Not to mention, exercise can help to relieve your neck pain by releasing feel-good endorphins to help dull the pain.
While you’re at it, get into the habit of stretching a few times a week. Regularly stretching your neck can loosen muscle tightness and maintain or expand your range of motion.
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Indulge in a Little ‘Me Time’
We know, we know, there isn’t time to indulge yourself. But it’s important to carve out some time for yourself, even if it’s only 20 minutes each day. During that time, try to indulge in a calming activity like reading, taking a long bath, or getting a massage.
An excellent way to relieve stress is to try meditation. There are many different types of meditation and many ways to go about meditating, so it’s important to try a few before deciding what works best for you.
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To begin, we recommend going to a quiet space free of distractions. Find a place to sit or lie down comfortably, preferably while practicing proper posture. Close your eyes and breathe naturally. Don’t try to control your breathing. Instead, focus your attention on your breath and the movements of your body as you inhale and exhale. If your mind wanders, try to focus it on your breath again.
Start with 3-5 minutes of meditation and slowly increase it. Many find it helpful to set aside time to meditate in the morning or during their lunch break. The key is to find the time and place that works best for you and start right away.
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