How Can You Stretch to Alleviate Holiday Stress?

My guest blog by Natalie from Leap Ahead Fitness…I don’t know about you all…but I am going to do these stretches right now!  It is all in my neck!

Are you overworked and overwhelmed by all the items on your holiday and end-of-year to do list? Though stress is something that we perceive mentally, it actually is housed and accumulates in our body over time. Rarely can stress be alleviated without addressing the areas where it gets stuck in the body.

In this video, I take you through stretches for 4 key areas of the body that are often victims of stress: your neck, shoulders, hip flexors and lower back.

Learn how to breathe and execute 4 stretches that will help you release accumulated stress in these areas and get back to your most productive and relaxed self.

You can easily complete all of these stretches in just 8-10 minutes.

The four stretches:

1) Your neck.

  • Sit up tall.
  • Drop your ear over towards your left shoulder. Be sure not to bend at your waist or lift your right shoulder.
  • Bring your left arm over the top of your head to assist the stretch.
  • Hold for three cycles of breath.
  • Repeat on the other side.

2) Your shoulders.

  • Keep your right arm straight and bring it across your chest.
  • Hook your left arm underneath to pull it closer to your chest. Keep your spine long, chest open, and shoulders down.
  • Take 3 deep breaths.
  • Repeat on the other side.

3) Your hip flexors.

  • Grab your left foot from behind with your left hand.
  • Lift up through your abdominals to take the arch out of your lower back.
  • Press the foot into your hand- away from your seat.
  • Bring your left knee closer to your right knee.
  • If you feel any knee pain, move your left knee away from your right knee until the stretch doesn’t cause pressure on your knee.

4) Your lower back.

  • Stand with feet hip width apart with a tall spine.
  • Starting from the crown of your head, nod your chin towards your chest and roll down one vertebrae at a time.
  • Bend your knees slightly as your get close to the floor.
  • Take a deep breath and exhale to draw your navel into your spine as you reverse the stretch curling back up one vertebrae at a time. Your head should be the last to arrive.
  • Repeat 3 times.

Questions about these stretches or any other things you do to alleviate stress? Please leave a comment below.

 Natalie Neckyfarow is an actor-dancer-singer who has used her unique training as both a high level performer and certified Pilates Instructor and Personal Trainer to establish Leap Ahead Fitness. Her unique fitness company empowers her clients to take personal responsibility for their own success armed with personalized plans developed by addressing exercise, nutrition, lifestyle, self-care and so much more. Natalie is a firm believer that it is never too late to claim the body and health that you truly desire. 

24 Comments

  1. Christie Halmick

    Just did all of these stretches and feeling energized, especially after sitting, sitting, sitting here at the computer all morning! Great post Cathy and Natalie!

    Reply
    • Cathy

      Thanks Christie, I am doing them too! This is just what the doctor ordered for me!
      ~Cathy

      Reply
    • Natalie

      Christie, so glad to hear! We can all use more energy, especially during the holidays!

      Reply
  2. Mindy Crary | Creative Money

    I recently began doing yoga again, and these four areas are ALWAYS the parts of my body that need extra attention! Thanks for this cool video that I can do while I work!

    Reply
    • Natalie

      Glad to hear I hit all of your target areas for stress with the video. I love that you plan to stretch at work!

      Reply
  3. jackiebennetthealthcoach@yahoo.com

    Nice video and post. I love these stretches.

    Reply
    • Natalie

      Thanks Jackie!

      Reply
  4. Karen Yankovich

    These are great, thank you! Easy and quick energy boost. I spend way too much time at my computer, this relieves the tight muscles. Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Natalie

      You’re welcome, Karen.

      Reply
  5. sarah yost

    I LOVE the tip to lift your abs to take the arch out of your back. I perpetually deal with tight hip flexors and when they’re really bad, my back is so grouchy and compressed. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Natalie

      Sarah, so glad you found that helpful! It’s really essential to stretch a muscle from both attachments and not many people realize that the hip flexors cross behind our stomach contents and connect to the front of our spinal processes. That’s why using the abs to stabilize the back is SO important!

      Reply
  6. Pam Pearson

    I store my stress in my neck and shoulders and could hear my neck “cracking” as I did the first stretch! And, it released the tension that was there. I think I’ll print this out and put it on my computer as they are great quick stretches to do throughout the day. I also love closing my eyes, imaging someone or something I love and breathing deep. The tough part is coming out of that after!!

    Reply
    • Natalie

      Great idea, Pam. So glad you are finding ways to implement this as part of your routine.

      Reply
  7. Jenn Burton/ HaveHimYourWay

    oooh being on the computer a lot has really gotten to me this year. I love the reminder that we hold stress in your body. Great stretches!

    Reply
    • Natalie

      Glad to hear. Take time to stretch throughout your workday and you will not only help to prevent the buildup of stress, but you’ll also feel more energized and productive throughout your day.

      Reply
  8. Heather Thorkelson

    I am seriously going to be doing the hip flexor one like 3 times a day. This is a great reference list and video Cathy – thanks!

    Reply
    • Natalie

      Glad to hear you are making stretching part of your regular routine!

      Reply
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