Don’t have time to head to the gym? While activity is probably the best stress buster, you can de-stress without a trip to the fitness center.
A simple, brief head and neck stretch can help you calm down, reduce muscle tightness and relieve pain.
CAUTION: As with any form of exercise or stretching, be careful. Don’t make rapid movements, and stop if you feel any pain. Consult your doctor before doing any type of movement if you have medical issues.
1. Close your eyes and breathe deeply through this entire stretch.
2. Roll your head in a gentle circle, with your shoulders down and relaxed. Slowly rotate your head again, this time in the opposite direction.
3. Lean your head gently to the right until you feel a gentle stretch. Hold for 5 seconds.
4. Bring your head back to center, and lean it gently to the left, feeling a gentle stretch. Hold for 5 seconds, breathing slowly and deeply.
5. Let your head dip forward until it feels heavy and relaxed. Hold for five seconds.
6. Now allow your head to tip back, just a little to open your throat, continuing to breathe slowly for 5 seconds.
7. Allow your head to dip forward, breathe deeply and open your eyes.
If you’re ready for the advanced course, try Men’s Health’s 7 Easy Stretches to Do at Work. Most can be done at your desk, and all are easy to complete at the office.
Another resource is Reader’s Digest office-friendly Stretching Exercises for Stress Relief, complete with helpful photos. My personal favorite is the finger stretch, which can be done anywhere and is remarkably soothing.
Even if you’re feeling cool and collected, you may be surprised by the changes after doing one minute of stretching at your desk. Your body and your brain will thank you.