Do you end the working day feeling stiff and sore because you’ve been engrossed in making a new product or staring at social media screens all day? Give yourself a break, and take some time to stretch your neck between tasks. Your body will thank you!
Today’s stretch is best done from a seated position – you don’t have to have a gorgeous backdrop like this one; your office chair will do just fine.
Begin in a seated position and relax your shoulders, allowing your arms to hang naturally down at your sides.
Bring your left arm behind your back and grasp your right arm with your left hand:
Look to your right, stretching your neck gently as you do:
Now look to your left, stretching your neck gently as you do:
Bring your head back around, this time looking to the right and down:
Keep your left arm behind your body, and bring your right arm up and bend it around your head:
Lower your arm so that your hand can gently push down on the back of your neck, and stretch:
Now we’re going to repeat this for the other side! Begin by bringing your right arm behind your back to grasp your left arm, and then look to your left:
Now look right:
And then look down and to the left:
Bring your left arm up and over your head and press down, as before:
Here’s a view of how this should look from the back:
Congratulations – you did it!
If you spend most of your day hunched over a screen or a work table of some sort, it’s time to stretch your muscles! Taking a break to stretch every 3o-60 minutes will give you a moment of relaxation + clarity in an otherwise busy day. Plus, by the end of the day you should still be able to move in all the right directions (bonus)! So go on, give it a try!
Stand up, right now, and give yourself a 2-minute break. That’s an order.
Begin by clasping your hands and interlacing your fingers. Raise your arms so that they are straight out in front of you with your palms facing toward your body:
Invert your hands so that your palms face out away from your body:
Now raise your arms up over your head and stretch them as high as you can, while maintaining the position of your hands:
This quick stretch will open up your chest muscles, stretch your arms and back and keep you from slouching and slumping through the rest of your day. As an added bonus, if you can step outside to do your stretching you’ll also get in a much-needed daily dose of sunshine and fresh air. Try it out!
Leaning over a computer or sewing machine all day can really wreak havoc on your neck (and your upper back and arms). Here’s a stretch that doesn’t seem like it will make a difference for your neck, but it really does!
Twisted arms stretch
Begin with your arms up in front of your body, so that your elbows and arms make an “L” shape and your palms are flat and facing in toward one another:
Cross your arms in front of you so that your left elbow is just inside your right elbow and your palms are now facing outward, away from one another:
Twist your arms together so that the palms once again meet and face one another. Hold here for 30 seconds:
Here’s a side view so you can see that pose from another angle:
Return to your center starting position to begin the stretch on the other side:
Cross your arms in front of you again, this time placing your right elbow just inside the left:
Twist your arms once more so the palms meet:
Here is a view from the other side:
How did it feel?
So you’ve spent the day knitting or sewing or typing. Maybe you’ve even been busy with last-minute handmade holiday gift-making? You’re starting to get an uncomfortable or possibly tingling feeling with each movement of your fingers. As creatives, our hands are often our life-blood, both financially and soulfully, and we can’t afford to let them wither. It’s time to stretch!
Living in NYC, we walk a lot. A LOT. And it just becomes a normal part of life; I don’t even notice. Until my family comes to visit and huffs and puffs as we say ‘It’s not far.’ When I got a day job in Brooklyn, I lamented the long subway commute from Queens. Then I started driving. One day a week became two became three became … The cost of gas and parking felt so little compared to getting an extra hour or more of my life back! And it IS so little. Now that my husband is learning to code and at home, it’s gotten even worse — I get rides on the days I need to go into Manhattan (and take the subway) after work. Getting my time back is so worth it. But the side effects are starting to really show — and it’s not so much on my wallet, it’s on my body. I got my husband and I FitBits for Christmas last year and I wore mine religiously for a while … and then it sat on the dresser for months. I grabbed it, charged it, and hooked it on my bra last week. At the end of the day I was SHOCKED by how few steps I had taken. Previously, I would walk about 5,000 steps on days I drove and 10,000 steps on days I took the subway. Not only was I not taking the subway much, I was walking about 3,000 steps! No wonder I’m not feeling as good as I did previously! So my husband and I have created a goal of walking 10,000 steps a day. For him, he takes walks at varying times a day and fits short or long ones in based on studying and the dogs. For me, this means walking at night. We’ve been walking the dogs and feeding them, then I go for a walk. Sometimes with my husband,and sometimes by myself. Sometimes I listen to music or audio books or talk on the phone to family and friends. And it turns out that this time to myself, outside, nurturing relationships and my mind has become joyful and anticipated. The goal of getting to 10,000 steps a day has become something I look forward to completing — not so much for the ‘achievement’ but instead for the precious moments it brings.
What have you started doing to nourish yourself? What was missing in your life that you didn’t realize until you stumbled upon it?
photo credits: Stacie Stacie Stacie via photopin cc, Stacie Stacie Stacie via photopin cc, and Stacie Stacie Stacie via photopin cc
I beg you to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t try to search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. And then perhaps one day, far in the future, you will gradually, without ever knowing it, live your way into the answer.
– Rainer Maria Rilke