As schedules become filled and deadlines loom around the corner in life, effective stress management becomes a critical part of balancing our day.
De-stressing through stretches at the beginning and end of your day can provide numerous benefits. Some of the benefits to daily stretching include:
- Reduced muscle tension
- Lowered blood pressure
- Improved digestion
- Enhanced energy and focus during day
- Better quality sleep at night
Please find 3 step-by-step ways to de-stress through simple stretches below:
- Deep breath neck circles. Using the breath to release tension from tight areas of your body is essential to de-stressing.To begin a practice of relaxing neck circles, simply sit up tall with your back straight and your shoulders descending down and away from your ears.
- Take a deep breath in and lengthen the spine; imagine the top of your head is stretching up to the sky; chin is parallel to the ground.
- As you exhale, release the chin down towards your chest.
- On your next inhale, rotate the right ear towards the right shoulder and deeply breathe into the space created on the left side of your neck.
- After 2-3 deep breaths with your right ear reaching toward the right shoulder, exhale the chin back down to the chest and then inhale rotating the left ear to the left shoulder.
- Take 2-3 deep breaths on this side and then come back to center.
- On the next inhale, lift your chin up to the sky and gaze at a spot on the ceiling while focusing on the quality of your breath. Tip: You may wish to close your
eyes when stretching to tune into your body.
- Another 2-3 breaths here with your chin reaching up towards the ceiling and come back to center.
- Finally, take a few deep breaths and repeat the process as needed.
- Shoulder stretch to loosen stiff muscles. Increase range of motion, release upper body tension, and strengthen your arms with the following steps:
- While seated in a comfortable upright position, stretch your arms out in front of you.
- Interlace your fingers with your palms facing outward.
- Raise your arms over your head, palms facing upward towards to sky.
- Try to keep your arms in line with your ears as you look straight ahead (or close your eyes if you wish).
- As you breathe in, consider focusing on the quality of your breath as you imagine your shoulders descending down and away from your ears in this stretch.
- Hold for about 5-8 full breaths in and out through your nose.
- Release your arms and roll your shoulders up to your ears on an in-breath.
- As you next exhale, release your shoulders back and down.
- Repeat stretch as needed.
- Forward bend to relieve soreness in low back. Loosen hamstrings and let gravity help you to let go of fatigue and anxiety.
- Stand up and spread your feet hip-distance apart.
- Take a deep breath in and lengthen through your spine; when you are ready to exhale, bending at your hips, fold forward over your legs.
- If your hamstrings are a little tight, bend your knees slightly as you allow your neck, head, and arms to completely relax in this forward fold.
- Try grabbing your right elbow with the left hand and left elbow with the right hand as you hang down.
- Breathe mindfully in this position for about 5-8 deep breaths.
- To come back to standing, you may place your hands on your upper thighs and lift up with a flat back to come back to a standing position.
Stretching can be highly therapeutic for a number of reasons. De-stressing with stretches, in addition to getting the right amount of sleep, and eating nutritiously can also make a big impact on your overall wellness.
To be sure you engage in the right stretches for your body, please consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.