Whether it’s from your work life or family life, stress is probably a part of your fast-paced life. As you go through the motions each day, stress can sneak up and leave you feeling tense and exhausted. This gradually building stress can make it easy to feel out of control in your own life. Fortunately, you can choose how you manage your life stressors and relieve stress. As a mom, this means planning ahead when possible, asking for help, and taking the time out of your day to take care of yourself.
Exercise Is A Great Way To Relieve Stress
All forms of exercise are great for stress relief. Specifically, a stretch routine is a phenomenal way to relieve all that built-up tension in your muscles and joints. Plus, if you can add in some deep breathing while you’re stretching, you will literally feel your stress start to melt away.
Start With Some Basic Stretches To Relieve Stress
If you are looking for an easy effective way to manage daily stress, think about starting a simple stretch routine. While stretching can seem so simple in nature, it can completely change your stress level!
NOTE: It’s always important to listen to your body and modify a stretch if it’s causing you excessive discomfort. Never force a stretch that causes you to tense up further, which completely defeats the purpose! On the other hand, if it feels good, take the time to really relax into it.
Stretches To Relieve Stress
Hold each passive stretch for 30 to 60 seconds. For more rhythmic motions, try to do ten slow repetitions. If you have the time, repeat each stretch 2-3 times.
1. Shoulder Rolls
In a standing or seated position, bring the shoulders up toward your ears as far as you can while taking a deep breath. As you exhale, let the shoulders drop and roll slightly back. Repeat this motion 10 times to promote relaxation of the neck.
2. Neck Side Stretch
The neck and shoulders are definitely one of the top sources of tension with stress. Address one side at a time by bringing your right ear toward the right shoulder until you feel a stretch in the left side of the neck. If this feels good, you can add extra pressure by bringing the right hand over to the left side of your head and gently pulling the ear closer to the shoulder. Then, repeat on the other side. Focus on staying relaxed (don’t let the opposite should hike up toward your ear) and breathing.
3. Child’s Pose
Starting on your hands and knees, bring your butt back toward your heels (sitting on your heels if flexibility allows). Allow your stomach to rest on the thighs with the forehead resting on the floor. Keep your arms outstretched in front of you if it’s comfortable. Otherwise, you can bring your arms to your side. You can also play with the position of your knees to get a deeper stretch in your hips. As you hold the position, feel your hips and back sink into the stretch while you take nice deep breaths.
4. Cat/Cow Stretch
On your hands and knees, start by arching the back, letting the belly drop toward the floor and face move up toward the ceiling, hold this position for two seconds. You will then slowly move to the opposite direction, curling the entire spine up toward the ceiling while bringing your chin towards your chest. Try to match your breath to the movements, inhaling as you arch and exhaling as you curl. You can also add side movements to your spine to address any tight or sore areas, do what feels good!
5. Supine Knee Rotation
Lie on your back with the knees bent and arms out in a “T”. Keep the shoulders and mid-back touching the ground as you slowly rotate the spine and drop both knees down to the floor, then bring your knees to the other side. Move back and forth slow and rhythmically. This is a great tension buster for the entire spine.
6. Pigeon Pose
Start on your stomach, then push up through your arms to lift your trunk. Bring one knee up toward your chest as you rotate the hip so that your entire shin is resting on the ground in front of you (your shin is perpendicular to the rest of your body). Depending on your flexibility and what feels good, you can stay upright with your fingertips resting on the ground or completely lie down to get a deeper butt stretch.
7. Doorway Chest Stretch
Standing in a door frame (or a corner works too), bring the arms up to make a “touchdown” sign, then rest your forearms on either side of the frame. Stepping forward with one foot, gently lean into the doorway until you feel a stretch across the chest. Be careful not to arch the back or push too hard into the stretch. This will help undo all that slouching from dressing kids, working at a computer, sitting too long in a car or any other positions you encounter each day that result in poor posture.
Find The Time Of Day That Works Best For You
You’ve now hit some major muscles groups that like to carry around your daily stress. If time allows, you may find doing these stretches periodically throughout your day can help you feel less tense. Otherwise, you might do them right away in the morning to get your blood moving and help you fully tackle the day ahead. Lastly, stretching might help you wind down and relax at the end of the day. There’s no right answer, just find what works for you! No matter what you choose, don’t forget the power of breathing and listening to your body to optimize the relaxation benefits!
Ahh, feel the difference?
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