Relax your body at work

There is a lot you can do for stress at work when you need to release tension and stiffness or simply refocus your mind.

The following body-centred exercises work well in an office setting; all you need to do is sit forward on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. You may increase the number of repetitions as your body grows stronger and more flexible. Take a few minutes at the end of the exercise to sit comfortably, noticing your breath and releasing tension with each exhalation. You’ll be ready to return to work feeling more comfortable and refreshed.

Feet and Legs

With legs outstretched:

  • Alternate curling and stretching the toes. Repeat three times and relax.
  • Alternate flexing (bending) and extending (stretching) the whole foot at the ankle. Repeat three times.
  • Rotate the ankles to the right as if drawing circles with your toes. Repeat three times.
  • Rotate the ankles to the left. Repeat three times.

Arms and Hands

With arms extended out in front of you:

  • Move your hands up and down, bending from the wrist. Repeat three times.
  • Alternate stretching your fingers, then making a fist. Repeat three times.
  • Rotate your wrists three times, first to the right, then to the left. Relax. Repeat three times.

Shoulders

Either sitting or standing:

  • Raise your right shoulder up toward your ear. On the exhale, release your shoulder down. Repeat three times.
  • Move your right shoulder forward. On the exhale, return it to the starting position. Repeat three times.
  • Move your right shoulder back. On the exhale,return it to the starting position. Repeat three times.
  • Repeat the sequence on the left side.
  • Bring both shoulders up towards your ears, tense, then drop your shoulders down as you exhale. Repeat three times.

Head and Neck

Hold each of the movements described below, take three easy breaths and relax tension with each exhalation, then return your head to the upright centre position before doing the next movement.

  • Drop your chin to your chest. Feel the weight of your head stretching out the back of your neck. Hold.
  • Look as far as you can over your right shoulder. Hold.
  • Look as far as you can over your left shoulder. Hold.
  • Drop your right ear to your right shoulder. Hold.
  • Drop your left ear to your left shoulder. Hold.