Stretch Away Stress at Work
In today’s workplace, most workers who arrive at a desk on Monday morning have very little reason to leave it. Everything is – by design – delivered to your desktop. Unfortunately, that means that stress and tension are frequent visitors to your desktop as well.
Your body responds to stress with quick, shallow breathing and stiffening muscles. You can relax your breathing and tense muscles right at your desk, without disrupting your day. All it takes is three minutes!
Before you start, always remember to breathe deeply as you stretch, start slowly and build up to deeper stretching, and always stretch very gently and with controlled movements. Stop immediately if any pain develops.
Back: Sit comfortably in your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Slowly and gently lower your chin to your chest. Hold that position while you take three, long and deep breaths. Raise your head slowly. Smile and take one deep breath. Repeat three times.
Shoulders: Sit comfortably in your chair with your feet flat on the floor, and place your arms by your side, with you palms facing you. Begin to inhale slowly, and roll your shoulders up toward your ears. Then exhale slowly as you roll them back down. Repeat five times.
Thumbs: Sit comfortably in your chair, keep your elbows bent and stretch your hands out in front of you, parallel to the floor. With your fingers stretched out, rotate both thumbs in a full circle five times; then reverse the direction of the circle and repeat five times.
Fingers and Hands: Remain seated with your hands out in front of you, parallel to the floor. Close both hands into fists and squeeze for 3 seconds, then stretch fingers straight out and hold for 3 seconds. Repeat five times.
Offices are hectic and harried, but you don’t have to give in to that environment. Take a few minutes every few hours during each day to slow down and stretch – you’ll find that you’re less tired at the end of the day.
Feel free to take these stretches home with you too! After paying bills or finishing the carpool or cutting the grass, these stretches will ease away tension.