Everyday, we wake up, get ready for our days, and somehow find ourselves moving through space because of our two feet. These parts of our bodies are responsible for every action and every movement in our lives, and they rarely get the attention they deserve. How would we live without them?
We put together a short guide on how to take care of your feet before, and after long workdays, when you feel like they could use some tender loving care. Check out our tips below, and consider putting some to use on your next self care day!
Soak and Soothe
Soaking your feet is the best way to recover from a day of walking, standing, or any kind of athletic activity. It’ll do you wonders, to relieve them of the weight they carry all day, by allowing them to float in a little bath.
Fill two basins with water — one cold, and one warm. Find a comfortable seat and dip your feet into the cold water. Wait 5 minutes, then switch over to warm water and repeat as needed.
A nice smelling alternative is to add essential oils to a basin of warm water. Try a soothing lavender oil, which can reduce stress and help relax you before bed. If you’re looking for a bit of pep in your step, try some peppermint oil, which will have your senses tingling. Or perhaps you’d like rosemary or eucalyptus, which can be a great resource for aches and pains. If you don’t have essential oils on hand, try brewing your favorite herbal tea and adding it to the water.
Rub Your Feet with Essential Oils
A foot massage is the best thing you can do for yourself. If you don’t have time to get to a foot spa, how about a foot rub? The soles of your feet can absorb a lot more than you think, and massage oils can be really therapeutic. Start rubbing from the tips of your toes, down to your arch and heel.
You can use multiple oils at once or just one. Read up on the different effects of different oils. Some of the more common oils you’ll be able to find at your local organic grocery store include: peppermint, rosemary, lavender, tea tree, grapefruit, and thyme.
Use a Foot Massage Roller
Any kind of pressure you can mindfully apply to your feet will feel good. There are a lot of nerves in your feet which benefit from applied pressure. A foot massage roller might be a worthy (minimal cost) investment, and you can find a material that works best for you. Give yourself an at home deep tissue massage by using the roller to rub the tension out of your feet. You’ll find wooden rollers helpful in getting those trigger points ironed out. Foam and plastic rollers might be a gentler option if you’re not looking to specifically target different areas. A tennis or golf ball might also be an option if you don’t have a roller — simply place it on the floor and roll your foot back and forth for anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.
Use Toe Separators and Elevate Legs to Reduce Swelling
You’ve probably heard everyone talk about how inflammation is bad for you, and how you should be eating foods and practicing certain exercises to alleviate inflammation. Sore feet can actually be caused, in part, by swelling. Try putting some foam pedicure toe separators on your feet before you go to sleep. Your circulation will benefit from spread toes while you’re sleeping, and you’ll probably find a lot of the swelling gone by morning time.
You can also elevate your feet while resting to help with swelling by placing cushions under your feet as you sit comfortably on a flat surface. Raising your feet above your heart will help promote healthy circulation.
Stretch and Exercise Your Feet!
Believe it or not, working out can really help your feet if you’ve been suffering from any type of soreness, cramping, pressure, or swelling. You can wrap rubber bands around your toes and spread them out, or use resistance bands and trace the letters of the alphabet in the air with your feet. No matter what you do, try to hold your stretches for at least 5 seconds and repeat as needed.
Another good exercise is to try picking up objects, like pens, off the floor with your toes. If you’re feeling any pain in your heel, doing stretches for your achilles tendon will help alleviate pressure. Try facing a wall and placing both hands in front of you on the wall, with one leg forward, knee bent. Keep your other leg straight, heel on the floor, then switch legs. You can also use stairs and angle your heels off the edge of the step to get a good stretch in the back of your heels and calves.
And don’t forget about insoles if you have pain from flat feet or fallen arches. Using insoles will provide cushion and support throughout the day.
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