As we head into a second lockdown I thought I would write a post with some helpful tips on how to stay relaxed and stop muscle tension and stress from developing into pain and disability.
I am not going to go through life work balance as for most of us its gone to shit. This post is to show some basic exercises to help de-stress. A little time to not think about anything and just switch off for 5-10 minutes can really help the muscles and nervous system calm down.
Stress can be good for us but it can soon turn against you. For most this will create tension in the neck and shoulders which in turn can flare up old niggles like back pain. It can also cause us to lose focus and be more likely to give in to cravings and distractions.
- Lie on your back, hands resting on your belly, bottom against a wall, so the legs are straight up resting on the wall. Close your eyes. Now just breathe, let all the stress leave the body on each out breath. Let each breath get longer and longer. 2-3 minutes
- Lie fully on the floor, legs straight with your arms by your side and keep your concentration on your breathing. Now tighten your hands into fists on your in breath and then it all go on the out breath as you release the fist. Repeat if needed or move on to your face scrunch up your face or take a wide mouth on your in breath let it all go and relax on the out breath, repeat this tightening and relaxing anywhere in the body that feels tension. 1-3 minutes
- Childs Pose. you take the arms to one side then the other to get some nice opening of the sides of the body. https://youtu.be/q-_M3Cfqmj4
- Bridge, lying on your back, knees bent, feet flat, arms by side, palms flat on the floor. Really push the whole sole of the feet into the ground as you lift the bottom upwards with an in breath through the nose, hold your breath for 2-3 seconds or longer if available, then when you lower down on a out breath, let it all go. You can breath out your mouth, stick your tongue out or horse butterfly your lips, see which is most effective. The following link shows how to add a chest expansion https://youtu.be/0hlKymgBr2s
- Now stand and do rag doll, you can also include a chest expansion by grabbing your hands behind your back and let gravity help you lift the hands away from the lower back. Let your head go really heavy and breathe. 1 -2 minutes https://youtu.be/H7Cslx73HQQ
- Now just stand arms by your side and push the bottoms of your feet into the floor as if you are going to jump, keep the legs straight. Hold for 10-30 seconds. Do not grip the floor with your toes, let them go long and spread out when they press into the floor. If you want to challenge balance a little you can stand on one leg.
You can try to keep your eyes closed throughout the exercises or if you need to keep open for balance try to fix on one point.
If you are a runner then this routne can be very helpful to reduce hip stiffness yoga flow for a stressed out psoas muscle by Allie the Journey Junkie. And also give a bit of time out.
Let me know how you get on and do the exercises make you feel more energised and focused?