Stretch Your Muscles
- Try a DIY back massage. Here's how: Lie on your back on an exercise mat or a carpeted floor. Position tennis balls under points where you have pain or tensionabove your pelvis, at your bra strap, between your shoulder blades. Roll gently up and down and side to side for 5 to 10 minutes as your body weight helps massage the stress away. (Note: Massage therapists say that only those without injuries or other back problems should try this self-treatment and that you should heed your body's advice and stop if it hurts.)
- Take a yoga retreat in your living room. Strike images of painful contortions from your mind: "Restorative yoga poses are variations of lying on your back, but with extra support in key places, so you release muscular and nervous tension even more profoundly than when you're sleeping," says Cyndi Lee, the director of New York City's OM yoga center. All you need is a couple of blankets or towels and the right instructional DVD or book. Your local yoga studio should carry a selection, or try the book Yoga Body, Buddha Mind ($17; amazon.com).
- Give yourself a relaxing foot massage. Put a tennis, squash, or golf ball on a hard floor and roll the sole of each foot back and forth over it, concentrating on the instep and the ball of the foot, just below the big toe, where lots of tension can gather. Do this for five minutes while you read or just gaze out the window.