Get out of your chair and stretch your arms wide to the sky. This might feel like a silly exercise you were forced to do in middle school, but it feels pretty good, right?
Whether you work a full-time job, raise little ones, or are going back to graduate school, you most likely experience stress throughout your day. Stress is inevitable, eliminating all stressors of life is impossible for the average person.
Properly dealing with stress relies on having the proper tools and skills to manage life’s overwhelming moments. Stretching is one of these tools you can pull out of your back pocket to cope with stress.
Why Does Stretching Release Stress?If we have learned anything from a yoga class experience it is that stretching releases a whole bunch of stress. Think about how amazing you feel after walking out of a yoga class. Stretching is a fundamental way to improve your mental and physical health!
Unless you are a yoga teacher or a PE coach, most of us spend the majority of our time sedentary. Staying still all day promotes stiffness, worsening your stress. In her book, Stretching and Staying Young, Dr. Jessica Matthews explained how the restriction of our motion caused by stiff muscles negatively affects our exercise and how we mentally feel too!
Stretching is an easy way to unwind by relaxing these tight muscles. When you tap into your body’s ability to release this tension, you can also relieve mental stress. It can also improve circulation and help you avoid exercise-related injuries.
Whether you have hit a mid-day slump or need to unwind before sleep, it’s incredible how a simple stretch can recharge your energy.
How To Reduce Stress by Stretching:
Here are six simple stretches for stress that you can do almost anywhere!
1. Child’s Pose
We can carry a lot of tension in our lower back. If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, child’s pose is usually used as a resting position. This stretch elongates your back, releasing tightness and stiffness. Child’s pose is the perfect way to reflect and relieve your tensions.
- Find a bit of space in your home or outside and kneel on the floor.
- Bring your feet together and open your knees to create a V shape.
- Sit back, reaching your butt towards your heels.
- Walking your hands out in front, your chest should lower to the ground.
- Don’t forget to breathe!
2. Shoulder Stretch
Feeling achy at the office? This stretch won’t cause any attention of your co-workers. Try doing this stretch every day as it is the perfect excuse for a quick break from your long workday.
- Interlace your fingers, and raise your arms above your head, with your palms facing towards the ceiling. Stretch tall!
- Try to keep your arms in line with your ears, while you look straight ahead and relax your shoulder blades down your back (make sure your shoulders aren’t crawling up).
- Hold for five full breaths in and out through your nose.
- Slowly let your arms fall down to your sides.
- Roll your shoulders backward and forward a few times in a circular motion.
3. Seated Spinal Twist
A spinal twist feels super satisfying. We like to imagine ourselves wringing out all the tension in our back muscles. This stretch is another great one for a busy workday because you can do it right at your desk or dining table.
- Sit on the edge of your chair. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor.
- Place your right hand at the back of your chair and your left hand on your right thigh.
- Take a deep breath, sit up tall and lengthen your spine.
- Twist to your torso to the right, gazing over your right shoulder.
- Repeat on the other side.
4. Seated Hip Stretch
Your hips don’t lie - hip pain can be super inhibiting to your daily activities, keeping you from running errands or going to spin class! We love this hip stretch as it can be done in the office, on the subway, or on the couch.
- Sit up in your chair with your feet flat on the floor.
- Cross one ankle over the opposite knee.
- Use your hand for assistance to press into the knee until you feel a slight stretch.
- Hold for 5-10 breaths
- Try slowly moving your hips forward and backward to bring the stretch to different parts of your hips.
- Repeat on the other side.
Pro-Tip: Don’t forget your breath
Breathing exercises for stress can be done while you stretch. They can also work by themselves too. Breathing deeply can allow us to take a moment to stop our racing minds and focus on our internal feelings, exhaling all negative thoughts.
A tip to make sure you are breathing deeply is to imagine filling up your stomach with air. This expansion of your stomach allows you to breathe long and deep into your abdomen. On your exhale, make sure to release all breath out of your body. Repeat throughout your stretch.
How much should I stretch? You should try to stretch at least two to three days a week at least. Each stretch should be held for fifteen to thirty seconds and repeated about two to four times! Try to carve out a ten-minute stretch break into your workday or do it when you wake up in the morning.
Uplift Your Day
Stretching is a simple way to re-invent your mood. For added support, our Happiness Soft Gels are formulated to promote a positive mood. Combining the natural power of CBD with nutrients and herbal extracts boost your mood throughout the day.
We recommend using Happiness Soft Gels during the inevitable times of anxiousness, overwhelming emotions, and those Sunday blues. Smile with gentle support to blossom into your best self!