The tongue may be (relatively speaking) the strongest muscle in the body, but what carries all our weight? Our feet support us all day long. Think about it: it’s a hefty job for a couple dozen square inches to carry around a comparatively large structure. Our feet take us far and fast and up and down. They have their own unique rhythm as they walk…as if to the beat of their own drum, sometimes. Occasionally, they also trip us up, at which point we feel embarrassed and suddenly remember that our feet have been seamlessly, selflessly stepping smoothly up until that point. Thank them for that!
But really, when was the last time you loved your feet? It sounds silly, I understand, but even if your partner doesn’t always feel inspired to give you a nice foot massage, you should still give your feet some much-needed affection. Foot self-care is generally easy to do while multitasking, as well; do some of these things while watching a movie, drinking your morning coffee, reading, or working/between work. Your feet will thank you.
1. Soothing self-massage. There are 20 muscles in the foot, not to mention a network of elastic tissues, ligaments and nerves. No wonder things get tight! Roll your ankles in a circular motion, gently spread your toes apart and away from the ankle pressing from the top or bottom, or knead both thumbs around the sole of your foot – the arch of the foot and between the ball and exterior edge of the foot is often tender, but feels oh-so-sweet to be massaged! If you are at home and feel inspired, use massage oil (coconut oil works great!) for some extra moisturizing.
2. Soak up! When you don’t have time for a full-on bath, a warm foot soak offers many of the same benefits: it is relaxing and stress relieving, eases muscle and joint pain, and also helps to cleanse and renew the tough skin on your feet. My go-to soak is this: • Warm water • A couple tablespoons of Epsom salts • 5-6 drops of an essential oil of my choosing (tea tree to cleanse, lavender and rose to relax, eucalyptus to invigorate), OR • A palm full of herbal loose-leaf tea, with flavors like ginger, lemon, or mint (if you like, add fresh sliced ginger, citrus, or mint)
3. Support your feet. They’re supporting you all day long; it’s a two-way street. Support your feet so that they can better support you. Your arches are important for maintaining not only the bone structure in your feet, but in your legs, hips and trunk. (It starts from the roots!) Opt to wear shoes with adequate arch support or buy some arch inserts for shoes that don’t have any.
4. Go barefoot! Take off your shoes now and then! Feel the earth, the grass, the soil, the wood floor or carpet beneath your feet. Like all of our skin, feet need to breathe, and being cooped up in socks (especially in these cold months) affects our health. However, having cold feet (not the metaphorical kind!) can also make us more vulnerable to illness. Like our head and senses, our feet regulate our body’s temperature. Tune into how your feet are feeling…you can never love them enough, and they’ll carry you through your whole life!