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Stretching and Belly breathing


Are you still working from home or have you found yourself back into the hustle and bustle of being back in the office. Either way, I want to remind you to make sure you stop during the day to practice a bit of self care. It will only take a few minutes but it will really make a difference to your physical and mental wellbeing. Two things I want you to concentrate on each work day are stretching your body and taking a breather (literally… to work on your breathing).

Simple Stretches

You may think that you have an ergonomic desk and chair set up but not matter how perfect your set up or posture is, it is still unhealthy to sit down for long periods of time during the day. We are just not built for a sedentary lifestyle and our bodies need to move. The main things you will notice from constant sitting day in and day out are neck, back and shoulder discomfort, tightness and pain. The good news is that it doesn’t take much to just move your body enough throughout the day to help ease this discomfort and look after your body. Two simple things I recommend are:

  1. Stand up and stretch out your arms behind your back and then across the front of your body, do this a few times.
  2. Perform shoulder rolls. These can be done sitting or standing. Let your arms hang loosely by your side and your back nice and straight and tall, slowly rotate your shoulders forward, making big circles and do this for approximately 30 seconds. Then repeat the same movement backwards.

Belly Breathing

Did you know that big, deep, belly and diaphragmatic breathing tells the brain to calm down and relax. You can become very aware of your breathing throughout the day and notice if you are taking short, sharp breaths into your chest or deep, full breaths into your belly. And then you can train yourself to breathe deeply and focus on calming your mind and body by taking regular breaks during your work day. Look for opportunities to practice this, here are a few ideas:

  • When you stop to make a cuppa, breath deeply while you wait for the kettle to boil
  • Set an alarm that will remind you to stop…. And breathe
  • When you get up to do your simple stretches (above), take the time to enjoy a few big, deep belly breaths
  • When you find yourself checking social media throughout the day, use this time as an opportunity to also be doing something good for yourself by doing mindful breathing
  • A great time to practice slow deep breathing is when you first wake up in the morning, before you do anything else. Stay still, with your eyes open and take 10 deep breaths (counting to between 3-5 seconds for each inhale and exhale)
  • Another great time to practice your slow deep breathing is just before you go to sleep at night. Get comfortable, stay nice and still and start your deep breathing until you feel your body and mind calm down and relax. This will help you fall off to sleep in a peaceful way.

These are a few things I would love you to try each day and see if you can notice the difference. This should help you focus, stay calm and stop you from getting too stiff and sore from sitting down all day. Can you incorporate these into your day? You certainly won’t regret it!