As we enter the holiday season, for many people, backs can begin to ache and necks begin to stiffen with the stress.
Everyone handles stress differently, but I want to share what I was recently roped into. Walking around the mall lost–like I usually am when I’m there–a small, unassuming man running a kiosk for massages asked me if I needed one.
Now, anyone who knows me knows I don’t even hug puppies. I have a strict “please don’t touch me” policy. But this particular day, I was a little edgy… and I was outnumbered. He was gently persuasive and my family member was tired of my grouchiness, so they ganged up on me. Before I knew it, I was face down on a massage table, pocketed valuables in a dish like the ones at the airport checkpoint. Did I relax? He had to wake me up to tell me it was time to go!!!
For generations, we’ve known that people don’t thrive without human touch. Babies who aren’t cuddled have delayed development, isolated elderly people’s health declines, and healing after surgery is slowed if enough human contact is not made.
People with disabilities often have less human contact than other people, and most of their physical contact consists of personal care like dressing, bathing, etc. That may not be enough. Some disabilities, like cerebral palsy, cause a person’s muscles to be “hyper” toned. This causes tightness and sometimes discomfort. Spending all day in a wheelchair can make a person very stiff and fatigued.
I’m not recommending everyone rush out to the mall for a massage (although, I am now a believer and may be next to you in line). Some disabilities make human touch uncomfortable, making a massage out of the question. But perhaps a conversation with a physician is warranted. There are many ways to reduce stress, so I encourage you to explore stress relief for your family member even if massage is not feasible. They may not be rushing around shopping, but your stress may rub off on them. Think about it… and find time to RELAX!