"Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person's physical, emotional, and mental states."–Carol Welch

Ever have a tense neck or a stiff back after sitting at your desk all day? Muscular tension is one of the physical symptoms of stress. It’s important for you to find an effective ways to deal with muscle tension.

How many times have you noticed that you were sitting at the computer, hunched forward with your shoulders up very high around your ears? This is a normal position that many of us find ourselves in but it is also something that is typically caused by stress, and the tension that goes in our muscles comes right along with it. That is why one of the most effective ways for us to release stress naturally is through stretching.

If you work in an office, or even if you just sit at the computer at home for long periods of time, it helps if you stretch from time to time in order to relieve the tension. There are several different neck and shoulder stretching exercises that can be done which can help to alleviate the tension rather quickly. It also helps if you set a timer on your computer and get up every 30 minutes and stretch briefly. This can be a real lifesaver, and can help you to handle the day much easier.

Daily stretching can reduce stress, improve your posture and help ease back pain. It doesn’t involve expensive equipment, and it doesn’t take a lot of time. With a little creativity, you can work regular stretches into your busy day without missing a beat. Here are some ideas to fit stretching into your day:

• Gentle neck stretching in the shower
• Stretching while waiting for faxes to send, microwave dinners to cook, and grocery lines to move
• Stretching at work and during bathroom breaks
• Stretching before getting out of bed and before retiring at night

Proper technique is essential whenever you fit stretching into your day. Please consult you chiropractor or therapist before starting a stretching program if you are recovering from illness or injury. Here are some helpful hints when starting any stretching program:

Warm up those muscles before stretching. Never stretch a cold muscle. Great options for warming up include walking, marching in place, and getting on a treadmill or exercise bike.
Keep it simple. The more complicated the stretching routine, the less likely you are to follow through with it. Ask your trainer, chiropractor or massage therapist what stretches are right for you.
Slow and steady win the race. Stretch slowly. You should feel tension or a gentle resistance when stretching, not pain. Pain can be a red flag that you are stretching too far.

For over 25 years in the health care profession, Lisa Birnesser has studied stress relief techniques and have helped hundreds of people reduce stress in their lives. Lisa specializes in stress management coaching by helping people do what matters most every day.

14 thoughts on “Stretch Your Stress Away”

  1. Thank you for the reminder, Lisa!  I've been noticing that I am spending far too much time at the desk between stretches.  I will get up and moving more today. I also used to play drums between 'sitting' sessions. Will do that today too!  : )

  2. Thanks Lisa – I personally love stretching but I think we all need reminders to do it more and do it often during our everyday life.  I always stretch in the morning but I need a reminder to take a wee stretch break during the day.

    1. Time does get away from folks in the afternoon. I set alarms to remind me to stretch. Otherwise I will work through it!

  3. As soon as I read this "hunched forward with your shoulders up very high around your ears?" I sat up straight and then realised that I was pretty stiff all over. Great reminder Lisa for me to take a few more mini breaks and stretch! 

  4. Good ideas for utilizing those little moments in life that could otherwise easily go to waste! A lot of my stretching happens while I am in front of the stove, waiting for something to cook! 🙂

    1. Good for you! it’s so important to stretch shoulders when at the computer. Thanks!

  5. Great article, Lisa! I love the quote that you shared. I find when I start to get stress, that if I exercise it helps tremendously. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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