beat stress in work

Work Meditation: 6 Stretches to Beat Stress (with Bonus Quotes!)

It’s a stressful day in work and your to do list is getting longer, rather than shorter. You’ve been slumped over an inbox that won’t stop barraging you with demanding clients and half your lunch has ended up on your keyboard. Your shoulders ache, your wrists are stiff and tired – it’s another day at work and your body is taking the hit.

Let’s just take a second together. Let’s breathe. Let’s open up that chest, stretch that lower back and centre ourselves for the post lunch time madness. Take a look at our stress busting stretches and get your body back to its comfortable and calm self. We’ve even provided you with some inspirational quotes to get your mind where your body is; calm.

1. Get rid of tension in your shoulders: Shrug it out

Nothing is work, unless you’d rather be doing something else – George Halas


Being hunched over your desk all day means you’re probably doing a lot of damage to your upper back and shoulders. You need to loosen up your shoulders to reap the benefits and get yourself in a more positive mind space. Try this simple exercise to get yourself tension-free in the shoulder area:

1. Take a deep breath.

2. Shrug your shoulders up to your ears.

3. Release and repeat.

2. Work the lower back: Replace your chair with an exercise ball

I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process – Vincent Van Gogh


Sometimes your back may be in pain because of your chair, rather than your posture. Try replacing your desk chair with an exercise ball and you’ll be bouncing yourself to a less stressed working environment. Not only do exercise balls work your lower back and engage your core muscles, they’re also a great conversation starter:

“Carole, I love your new chair”

“Thanks. I intend to bounce it off people’s heads if they annoy me.”

3. Improve your posture: Do an upper body twist

Nothing will work unless you do – Maya Angelou


So we’ve already figured out that a lot of your stress in work is carried in your shoulders. So let’s loosen it up a bit. Try this simple exercise (that is often used as a warm up exercise in fitness classes) and get rid of all that negative energy.

1. Inhale then exhale.

2. Turn your body to the right. Grab the back of the chair with your right hand and get hold of the arm of the chair with your left.

3. Keep your eyes level and then twist your body around as far to the back of the room as you can go.

4. Repeat on the other side.

4. Work that core: Desk chair crunches

Work is the curse of the drinking classes – Oscar Wilde


Your chair isn’t just something you spin around on in work, it’s also a secret exercise machine waiting to be discovered. This simple exercise can help your back and work your core muscles – perfect for those of us concerned about losing tone in the stomach area.

1. Sit on the edge of your chair.

2. Put your arms either side of you and your legs stretched out in front.

3. Lift yourself up with your arms and then lower yourself away from your chair. Repeat a few times and crunch that core.

5. Reach to the sky: Eye roll your way to a loose neck

Work is a necessary evil to be avoided – Mark Twain

Got a colleague that’s annoying you? Keep getting caught eye rolling them when they say something stupid? Fear not. You can work that sarcastic eye roll into an exercise – next time they spot you doing it just tell them you’re doing your desk stretches.

1. Sit up as straight as you can in your chair or stand, if you want to be really noticed eye balling that colleague.

2. Interlock your fingers and then stretch them above your head.

3. Turn the palms of your hands to the ceiling and look up as you do it. Roll your eyes surreptitiously and exact sweet revenge, whilst calming down of course.

6. Circle your wrists back to equilibrium

Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence – Laurence J Peter


Using a mouse all day can cause serious wrist ache. Particularly if you keep checking your social media and then x-ing the page quickly. It’s a lot of short sharp movements. Do this simple exercise to ensure you’re able to still update your status and then ‘work’ whenever your boss rounds the corner.

1. Clench both of your fists in front of you.

2. Release the clench and make small circular movements with your wrists.

3. Ready that clicker finger for Facebook and Twitter.

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