It’s probably no surprise that my first tip is related to super-sore shoulders.
In my case, I knew why my shoulders ached. It was mostly from breastfeeding and a bit from just being tired and tense. I had a habit of hunching up my shoulders without even being aware of it. When I teach yoga I must ask my students to relax their shoulders at least ten times in every class as it’s so obvious when you’re looking at someone to see they are all hunched up – but as I was starting to realise it’s not all that obvious when you’re doing it yourself.
So my first and most important tip – relax your shoulders!
How exactly? Well the first thing is to be aware of your shoulders. Think about them right now – are they relaxed? Are you curling forward because of the way you’re sitting or lying? Now feel them – dig your fingers in to the top of each shoulder – does one side feel sore or sensitive? Is one shoulder hunched up more that the other?
My next tip is to move your arms above your head
The next step is to relax your shoulders – as you breathe out move your shoulders down, away from your ears and squeeze your shoulder blades together. It’s much easier to do this as you breathe out as a lot of muscles in your chest are naturally relaxing when you exhale.
Try to do this as much as possible – when you are next feeding, take a moment to check your shoulders and if they’re tense, take a nice long exhale and force them down your back. When you’re lying in bed next, before you nod off, see if you can move your shoulders down your back just a little before you go off to sleep.
My next tip is to move your arms above your head. It’s such a simple stretch but I found it made a big difference to my posture if I just raised my arms over my head. Try it please, I bet you’ll be surprised.
If you want to get fancy then move your arms in a big circle. It’s brilliant and it gave me such relief from my sore shoulders. I started by just raising my arm, keeping it straight and then lowering it again. Simple or what? Then, if my shoulders felt ok, making this movement into a circle. I did one arm at a time and after 15 or so circles on each side, I really noticed the difference to the way my shoulders and whole upper body felt.
If you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding the way you cradle your baby can mean your shoulders automatically creep up. Add in carrying your baby around the house, and snatching bits of sleep crumpled up on the sofa, and it’s no wonder shoulders get sore.
Give these stretches a go – they are simple, don’t need any equipment and can be done mostly anywhere.