Office stress is hard on our bodies. Deep in a project, we’ll sit with poor posture, have our computers at the wrong height or angle, and generally do not pay attention to our body’s needs. Here are seven of my favorite stress relief remedies for our hectic office lives.
1. Improve Your Seated Posture
Poor posture can add to your fatigue, inhibit breathing, and create chronic pain patterns. I know. I’ve spent several decades rehabilitating from injuries and can undo a pain-free day with a few hours of poor posture or shallow breathing. Old neck injuries from car accidents in my 20’s are getting worse with age and simply maintaining proper head position can make a big difference in my upper and middle back pain. Check your posture while working at your computer or looking down at paperwork.
- Be careful about leaning forward in your chair.
- Lean back into your chair.
- Use lumbar support whenever possible.
- Place your head in alignment often.
- Keep your legs at a right angle.
- Uncross your legs now and always. Crossing our legs twists the pelvis causing misalignments all the way up the spine.
- If possible, allow your chin to be level (parallel) to the floor.
2. Release Low Back Tension
- Sit in your chair with your feet flat on the floor hip or shoulder-width apart. Avoid crossing your ankles or knees.
- Reach 1 knee forward allowing your hip to move forward and then release. I call this “seated hip-swish.”
- Reach the opposite knee forward and release and continue this back and forth motion of your hips allowing your knees to scissor, 10 to 15 times.
- Use a back pillow or any kind of lumbar support while working at the computer.
Focusing on your breath is a simple and quick way to become centered, calm and increase your energy.
- Slow your breathing down.
- Lengthen your exhalation.
- Learn Balanced breathing techniques with or without meditation.
- Practice Pranayama (Yogic breathing techniques).
Even the smallest amount of dehydration can cause fatigue. Dehydration can also be a contributing factor to back pain. I can’t emphasize strongly enough the importance to our overall health and vitality hydration plays. Even one day of dehydration can throw the body into imbalance. Try to drink 8-10 8-ounce glasses of water a day. At the first sign of back pain, immediately drink a glass or two of water.
5. Stop and Stretch
Stop what you’re doing and stretch for 5-8 minutes. And breathe! It will relieve tension, and help bring your awareness back to your body.
- Neck stretches
- Neck Rolls
- Shoulder Rolls
- Arms Stretches with Rotation
- Triceps Stretch
6. Get Up and Walk!
Even a quick 2-minute walk can change your state and provide stress relief! Set a timer or your phone, and give yourself a 5-10 minute break at least every hour, preferably every ½ hour.
- Step away from the computer.
- If possible, step away from your office.
- Whenever possible walk outside.
- Walk for 2 to 5 minutes and remember to breathe.
7. Practice Gratitude
- Think about something you’re grateful for.
- Give thanks for family and friends.
- Make a short gratitude list and look at it when you feel anxious, overwhelmed or stressed.
- Ask yourself, “What am I most grateful for right now?”