steep-stretch_-a-health-hack-for-tea-drinkersIf you’re like most pregnant people, heck, just most people in the general population, you probably have some homework you should be doing. I don’t mean arithmetic or essay writing, I mean health homework given to you by your midwife, doctor, doula, physio, yoga instructor, chiropractor, massage therapist, or all of the above. And if you’re like me, you have a hard time remembering to do that homework. Makes total sense; we all have busy lives and it’s hard to fit in planning what your next meal is going to consist of, nevermind taking 15 minutes every day to navel gaze and stretch out your piriformis. It’s important, but we don’t do it because we think we don’t have time.

I’ve been struggling with a knee issue recently and have an ever-increasing number of stretches to do from my physio. It’s not that I don’t want to do them, it’s just that they don’t seem to get done because so many other things take precedence.

But! I just finished drinking a beautiful earl grey and realized something that is going to be a game changer for you and me both. If you have time for several cups of tea a day, you have time to do this. And I’m not going to tell you that you need to schedule it into your agenda, or do it before bed/when you wake up, or remember to do yet another thing, like make a reminder on your phone (although if those things will help you, maybe do them and stop reading here). It’s much simpler than that. It’s as simple as waiting for your tea to steep. Yup! If you’re like most tea drinkers and you have around 3 cups every day, it’s very easy to get some awesome stretching in on a regular basis. Here’s how I break it down.

Tea Time!

Tea takes about five minutes to steep, and most people drink about three cups of it spaced throughout the day. If you don’t drink tea already, the chilly weather is a good excuse to start.* My awesome physio recommends I hold a stretch (lightly, not reefing on the muscle) for 30 seconds. Five minutes allows for five different stretches on both sides of the body, or a combination of some stretches/movements that target both sides simultaneously (eg. cat/cow) and others that don’t. I, for example, just did my hamstrings, glutes, glutes, hip flexors, and pecs… WHILE I WAITED FOR MY TEA TO STEEP! And I’m gonna do it again when I have my evening tea. Not only is this a great way to get your stretching in, it’s also a fantastic excuse to get up and moving if you have a sit-down job.

We can all fit in stretching and “homework” if we find those daily habits that give us down time. Soon we’ll start to associate those little breaks in the day with our health homework, and it’ll be easy to get it done. Basically, you need to start drinking tea. Your flexibility depends on it.

*While you’re at it, you can count these cups of (decaf) tea towards your daily hydration goal, which should be half of your weight in lbs, in ounces (plus more for pregnant women, and even more than that for breastfeeding women). So for a 120 lb person, that’s 60 ounces, which is 1.77 litres. Just round up and drink 2L/day. It’s good for you in every way imaginable.