Like how we condition our hair and moisturise our face, it is only natural that we ought to take good care of one of the most hardworking and used parts of our body – our feet. We stand for hours-on-end, take thousands of steps a day, and place all of our body weight, stress, pressure and force on them when playing land-based sports. The least we could do at the end of the day is really, just to put our feet up when at home. Take these everyday, D.I.Y. “steps” to help your pads relax so you can keep on keeping on.
Just Put Your Feet Up
It’s so basic, that sometimes we just forget to do this after we have gotten home. Take your footwear off, drop your stuff and take 5 (or 10 or 20) by getting to your fave chair or sofa and getting off your feet to relax, stat. But, the most important trick to this – elevate your feet. You should place your trotters up on a short footstool, chair or side table so that your sore, tired or even swollen feet can get properly rested. Doing so can help allow blood and nymph circulation to flow better while exiting the lower legs when your feet are raised.
If you are going into full sloth mode and lying down on your sofa, you can also use pillows to prop your feet up. Just don’t cross your ankles so that the blood can flow smoother and you are fully stretching your leg and feet muscles. One other thing – peel off your socks, stockings or any body-hugging or compression material garments. This will help to cool your feet down faster and let you relax better, too. Once you feel that you have rested enough, get back to doing what you need to at home.
… And Massage Your Own Feet
You don’t need to book a massage or foot reflexology session to ease the tension in your feet – just work on them yourself. While sitting and putting your feet up, you can attempt some super-simple D.I.Y. massages to relax further (or get your other half to show some love by helping to massage your feet). Try these few techniques to get rolling and kneading.
– Use one hand to hold the heel
– Use the other hand to bend all the toes on the foot back and forth
– Do this movement while gently increasing the pressure and flexing the toes further back and forth to extend their range of motion
– Repeat the toe bends on the other foot
– Hold the top of foot with one hand, with the thumb pressing gently into the sole
– Hold the back of the foot with the other hand, with the thumb pressing gently into the heel
– Repeatedly and gently, squeeze and release the back of the heel
– Repeat the action on the other foot
– Hold the instep (the arched, fleshy part of the top of the foot between the toes and ankle) of the foot with one hand
– Ball your other hand into a fist and press the knuckles or finger joints gently against the held foot
– Use your fist, knuckles or finger joints, gently knead or rub the bottom of the foot
– Repeat the motion and work across the foot, from the ball to the heel.
– Repeat the sequence for the other foot
Use An Affordable Massage Tool
If you don’t have a willing partner to help with your foot massage, buy one. We mean a massage tool – and you do not need to invest in a fancy massage chair or electrical device. There are many affordable manual options in your local department stores, supermarkets, general health and beauty stores, and even neighbourhood marts (you can try Daiso). They come in multiple sizes and materials, from handheld ribbed silicone ones to wooden rollers to plastic plates that come with “knobby” protrusions. Buy a couple to try – you can even use and step on one placed under your home desk if you are working from home. Just don’t overdo it till your feet end up feeling more sore or pained than before.
Play With A Tennis Ball
If you happen to have a tennis ball around the house, grab it. Not for playing a round of racket sports, but for massaging your feet – you’ll be pleasantly surprised how its soft furred texture, bounciness and rounded shape makes this an amazing massage tool. Sit down and put the ball under one foot – don’t do this standing up because it is neither safe nor comfortable. Place some of your weight on the ball and roll your foot back and forth, from your toes to your heel. Switch to the other foot and do the same. Repeat until you are bored “playing” with the tennis ball or suitably relaxed.
Have A Bottle Of Frozen Water
Yes, frozen, and nope, it’s not for thawing to drink cold water (though hydrating yourself is beneficial for your general health after a day on your feet). Every morning (or even the night before), take an empty water bottle – even a small 500ml plastic bottle will suffice – fill it up to at least ¾ full and place it in the freezer. At the end of the day when you are back from work or when you are finished with your sporting activity, take the frozen bottle out and roll it under your feet when you are seated down (again for safety and comfort’s sake) to chill out – it’s especially refreshing during hot days. What you do with the bottle of water after you are done with the rolling, whether you choose to drink it, use it to water your plants or for washing the clothes, that’s up to you.
Take A Foot Bath
If you have a little more time or want to shower more TLC on your hardworking feet, try taking a foot bath once a week (make it a Fri-yay night for a chilled weekend). All you need is a suitably-sized basin (one that you can fit both your feet in with the water level able to reach your ankles without the basin spilling over); warm water; towels; and if you wish, for added benefit, some Epsom salts (the magnesium in it can supposedly help the muscles relax, relieve aches and lessen inflammation) or essential oils (to help with the aroma and mood, amongst other specific-to-the-oil-type benefits). Here’s how to soak your feet right:
1) Pour warm water in a basin and place it under a towel (so you won’t get your living space wet) near your fave chair, sofa or even bed. Make sure the water is of a comfortable temperature – you will be placing your feet in it for a while after all.
2) Soak your feet in the basin for 10 to 20 minutes – any longer and you risk having your them turn prune-like.
3) If you are using Epsom salts or essential oils, use a ½ cup of the salts and/or at least five drops (you can add more) of the oils (pick peppermint to refresh or lavender to relax). Add them to the water and stir before soaking your feet. You can use them separately, or you can choose to mix them accordingly for certain kinds of foot baths (you can search for foot bath recipes online).
4) After you are done, wipe your shins, ankles and feet dry before cleaning up (we don’t want you to slip-up because your feet or the floor’s wet when you are feeling this good).
5) For extra pampering (also, to lessen any drying effects of the Epsom salts on skin), you can also apply some massage oil or moisturising cream to your legs and feet before you hit the bed. Just take note if you do, ’cos though these products might make your pins and hooves feel extra soft, they might also make them extra slippery if you are still intending to potter around the home. So be careful while keeping your feet beautiful, ya?