Whether you’re working remotely due to the global crisis, or you’re back at the office putting in those hours, I want you to know, I see you. I recognize all the hard work you’re doing right now and have been doing throughout this difficult year, and I want to make sure you’re putting in the time to look after yourself. Even if it’s just seven minutes to relax and stretch.
Reminder: You’re allowed to take breaks from work, no matter what deadline you’re working to. In fact, it’s a must.
That’s why I’ve created this quick video of some simple stretches you can do in just five minutes.
YUP. SEVEN MINUTES!
You can even cut it down to five. Everyone has five minutes to spare for themselves surely? Pooping can take longer!
Best of all, you don’t even need to leave your desk or take your headphones out. These easy but effective moves can be done at your desk, allowing you to make the most of a quick break.
Wearing a dress to work? Even that won’t be a problem. The focus here isn’t to break away and disrupt your day, but purely to release some of the tension that we tend to build up when we sit hunched over screens.
That’s why I want us to focus on loosening up the shoulders, relaxing the neck and maybe even doing a standing stretch if you’re up for it.
When you start to feel tired at work, you may notice that you naturally reach your hands over your head. So that’s where we want to start. Just simply reaching our arms out and above our head can feel really nice.
It’s unlikely we will have a lot of space to do full arms circles at our desks, but we can do little ones by grabbing the tops of our shoulders and making little circles using our elbows. Feels gooooooood, right?
Think you can’t do a catcow sitting down? Think again!
Simply place your hands on your thighs or by the side of your seat. For optimal movement you will probably want to scoot to the end of the seat. Inhale and reach the chest forward as far as you can and on the exhale you want to pull the chest into the chin and round your back.
Stretch the Neck & Shoulders
Move your right arm out and face your palm away from the body, then set it on your lower back. Then use your left arm to reach across the front of the body, either touching your opposite upper arm, or just place your arm across your stomach. This will help open up your shoulder PLUS we can also use this position to stretch out the neck too.
Whilst in this position (right arm on lower back facing and left arms across your front) take your left ear down to your left shoulder. This opens the right side of the neck and the right shoulder.
Following on from the above move, stretch and loosen up more by nodding your head or twisting your chin further. Then simply roll your head from side to side slowly and do some lifting of the neck up and down, image nodding ‘Yes’ slowly, followed by a slow ‘No’ nod.
Don’t forget to slow down your breath too. This is meant to be some you time, a lovely relaxing break, this is not a chore, or a work task.
Focus on Twisting
Sit really tall, lifting yourself up all the way from the bottom of your spine to the top of your head and twist to the side, keeping straight and only looking back if it feels comfortable for you. You can even use your desk chair for this one, by either grabbing the arms or the back of the chair whilst twisting.
Return to centre with a little shake and roll. Chair wiggling is also encouraged.
Stand Up & Stretch Up
If you want more and you’re happy to add a quick standing exercise, simply stand behind your chair and slide your chair in. Bring your hand to the edge of the chair and then walk yourself backwards, dropping your head between your arms and through the shoulders. Not got enough space to walk back? No problemo – pop your elbows against a wall and lean into the space between your arms.
And there we have it. It’s that’s easy. This practice is something I wanted to share to help benefit your body and mind whilst working. Simple, effective and guaranteed not to disrupt your work day.
Can you think of any other seated or standing stretches we could implement into this quick routine? Let me know in the comments below.
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