De-stress through stretching

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:

    1. 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.stretching
      1. 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.
      2. As you exhale, release the chin down towards your chest.
      3. 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.
      4. 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.
      5. Take 2-3 deep breaths on this side and then come back to center.
      6. 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.
      7. Another 2-3 breaths here with your chin reaching up towards the ceiling and come back to center.
      8. Finally, take a few deep breaths and repeat the process as needed.
    2. Shoulder stretch to loosen stiff muscles. Increase range of motion, release upper body tension, and strengthen your arms with the following steps:shoulder-stretch
      1. While seated in a comfortable upright position, stretch your arms out in front of you.
      2. Interlace your fingers with your palms facing outward.
      3. Raise your arms over your head, palms facing upward towards to sky.
      4. Try to keep your arms in line with your ears as you look straight ahead (or close your eyes if you wish).
      5. 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.
      6. Hold for about 5-8 full breaths in and out through your nose.
      7. Release your arms and roll your shoulders up to your ears on an in-breath.
      8. As you next exhale, release your shoulders back and down.
      9. Repeat stretch as needed.
    3. Forward bend to relieve soreness in low back. Loosen hamstrings and let gravity help you to let go of fatigue and anxiety.
  1. Stand up and spread your feet hip-distance apart.
  2. 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.stretch-3
  3. 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.
  4. Try grabbing your right elbow with the left hand and left elbow with the right hand as you hang down.
  5. Breathe mindfully in this position for about 5-8 deep breaths.
  6. 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.

 

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