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How A Backache Turned Into A Gift For Life

On the recent family trip to Chicago, my back flared up in a way it never had before. Call it stress, a lack of stretching, or sitting too long on an airplane. All I knew is, standing became next to impossible—and Tylenol became my friend.

Have you noticed as you get older how it gets easier to slow down? And maybe more necessary?

The Gift of Mandatory Downtime

Thankfully the Tylenol kicked in and I was able to enjoy the family weekend. But I made a mental note when I got home to call a chiropractor who had come recommended.

Incidentally, if you're dealing with muscle tension, consider researching Active Release Technique, or ART. In case you're not familiar with it, it feels like a cross between massage and the Heimlich Maneuver. But it's short-term, drug-free, and it gets the job done.

My back is more or less fine. It turns out we’re supposed to be stretching on a regular basis, not just when we hurt. And for now, I need to ice my lower back twice a day for 15 to 20 minutes. Who has that kind of time?

Well, I do. At least I do now. In fact, I’ve learned to look forward to this ritual, not only for the relief it brings but for the chance it provides to take a breath and slow the pace. It's also a chance to enjoy music, a good book, and my Christmas tree.

When life gets to be too much

Look for ways to deliberately slow down and simplify. A few options:

  • Taking the stairs
  • Reading actual books—and noticing the calming effect it has
  • Turning off the phone
  • Turning off the stereo inside the car, enjoying silence instead
  • Saying no to overaccumulating and yes to declutttering

And yes, warming up your body and doing a few stretches. I don't know of anyone who ever listened to their body and later wished they hadn't. But I have known plenty of folks who ignored not only their bodies but their better judgment. Next thing you know, they're reaching for the Tylenol—or something stronger.

Take care of your back. Take care of yourself. And if you're looking for the perfect gift to give yourself this season, why not start with the gift of slowing down?

Remember to take care of yourself and give yourself the gift of slowing down this season.

Gina DeLapa

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Gina DeLapa is America's Ultimate Reminders® Coach, a sought-after speaker, and the proud creator of the Ultimate Reminders® book series. Her wise and witty reminders ("Beware the organization whose response to a burning building is to form a committee") will make you laugh, stir your soul, and inspire your best. If you're not already getting her free Monday-Morning Pep Talk, be sure to sign up now at