If there ever was a time for a stress reset, it’s around the holiday season. Most of us are running pell-mell, trying to do twice as much as we normally do so that we can enjoy a well-deserved rest and celebrate with family and friends. See even that sentence makes you nervous because you know the to-do list is lurking. As you seek strategies that won’t suck the soul out of your celebratory spirit, I am here to challenge you to put a few simple restorative movements into your to-do list. Do these while you are on the move. Take the time to steady your breath, reset your posture and relax your body. I’ve been sharing these tips with clients quite a bit lately and I am certain they can benefit you. Keep in mind as you use these stretches to listen to your body and to not push through the pain but to only stretch as far as is comfortable.
#1 Stretch your Face
Let’s explore the range of motion in your face. Open and close your mouth. Work your jaw from side to side. Take a deep breath and exhale with loose open lips (if you sound like a horse then you are doing it right). Open your eyes wide and squeeze them shut. A playful stretching of the face in this way not only relaxes and opens the muscles in your face, it also helps to regulate mood, and relaxes the neck.
Repeat this throughout the day, spending a minute stretching your face.
#2 Release Tension in the Neck
Place your hand on the side of your face. Press your face into the hand trying to push the hand away. Take a deep breath and on the exhale and allow your hand to push your face so you are looking in the opposite direction.
Repeat on both sides 1-3 times.
#3 Posture Reset to Boost Mood and Relieve Pain
This is a seated stretch. As you sit, inhale through the nose, squeeze your glutes, and lengthen your spine upright. Stretch your neck as if the top of your head will touch the celing. As you gently exhale relax all the muscles in your back and glutes. Don’t curl inward on the exhale but remain upright.
Repeat this for 5-10 breaths.
If you have 10 minutes, I recommend my Neck & Shoulder Release Routine – https://youtu.be/CkeTEAt_ZAo This combines all three of the stretching techniques in this article as well as additional deep stretches that I use daily to release tension.
These three resets can be incorporated throughout your day. For best results come back to these movements when you can feel tension and stress getting to you. The best thing you can do for your body is to set aside time every day to get moving in a way that brings you joy. Take a walk, play a silly game with your kids or grandkids, ride your bike, put on some snow shoes and explore a trail.
Let’s focus this holiday season on movement and reveling in connection.