7 Tips for Stress Relief at the Office

GenOffice 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 paper work.

  •  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.

3. Breathe

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).

4. Hydrate   overflowing glass of water

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 2-5 minute break at least every hour, preferably every ½ hour.

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.

 

Simple Solutions for Back Pain #2- Posture Tips

GenNedder_blueshirtrednecklace This second installation in my ongoing series for Back pain relief is focused on posture.

My simple solutions for back pain relief come from personal experience and successful application of these recommended practices and movements. I’ve spent the past  3 decades in continual recovery and management of my jaw, neck and back pain from car accident injuries and genetic arthritic challenges.  Receiving back pain relief from easy adjustments and daily practices has made a huge difference in my ability to cope with pain when it flares up, and prevent flare-ups from happening as often.  My sincere hope is that these tips lead you to find back pain relief as well.

Step 1:  Correct Seated Posture

Seated posture is the easiest for us to let slide, yet luckily, also a simple one to correct

  • To begin:  Check your seated posture. Specifically check your alignment while working at the computer, driving and watching t.v.
  • When seated, ideally keep your knees in alignment with your hips.  Place your feet approximately hip-bone width apart. It can be helpful to have your knees slightly higher than your hips (an inch or two).
  • Avoid crossing your ankles or legs. In fact, make a commitment to this today and always.   Sitting with our legs crossed puts the pelvis in an uneven position and consequently changes spinal alignment. Place your feet on a wedge or pillow to increase comfort levels instead. I use the wedges from OPTP. (see below)

Step 2: Correct Shoulder Placement

We all have been known to wear our shoulders as earrings on occasion!  Check in with yourself and practice these shoulder placement tips.

  • Allow your shoulders to be relaxed and down.  Create some space between your ear lobes and shoulders (in other words, avoid wearing your shoulders as earrings!).
  • Take a moment today to notice your alignment while sitting at the computer or while driving.  Notice the placement of your head and shoulders as well as your feet.

Small postural adjustments such as the ones above can provide noticeable back and neck pain relief and improve your posture significantly.

Where to find Posture Support Products

There are a couple of options for purchasing the wedge.  Look it up at OPTP, a teriffic company that offers physical therapy products and a large selection of back care products.  Another great resource is the Better Back Store.  Another simple and inexpensive solution that I use beneath my computer desk  is a 3-ring binder.  Any office supply store will have various binder options.

Please let me know if you have  questions or comments.  I  appreciate hearing what you discover on your road to increased energy and vitality. If you find relief, please share this (and other Simple Solutions for Back Pain tips) on Facebook, Linkedin  or via this email.

 

 

 

Ped-i-pull for Posture

FNedder_Pedipull

Improve your posture by adding seated Ped-i-Pull exercises to your private sessions. scapula elevation and depression as well as lat stabilization help align your spine and work stabilizing  abdominal muscles.  Many students with osteoporosis or osteopenia find noticeable improvement in their posture from using the ped-i-pull.

I use the ped-i-pull almost daily with private clients and they love it!

 

signature sign off

 

 

Spine Twist Pilates matwork- preparation.

100_0371

Begin Spine Twist by sitting tall and squeezing your legs together.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for  Mat Classes in February. A special thank you to all of our out-of-town visitors.  It was a pleasure meeting every one of you and having you in class!  Travel safely and please come visit again the next time you’re in town.  Be well!

– Geneviève

 

 

Ped-i-pull for posture.

Ped i pull.

Ped i pull.

“Simply put, posture is the ability to move spontaneously in any direction with Balance, Strength, Stability, and Coordination. The movement will appear clean and efficient even though it may be quite difficult, and the body will suffer no ill effect. . .”

– Diana Bailey

 The ped-i-pull is a powerful tool for postural improvement and correction.
Do one thing today to improve your posture: Use the Foam roller,  practice the wall series, work on your foot placements, or practice the  roll-down or arm series on the ped-i-pull.  Small changes in habit and movement can yield big results. Take a few minutes to change the way you use your body today and improve your posture.
                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                               – Geneviève

 

Previously Published September 2011

Pilates Cadillac- Reverse Push-Through

carla7        Having fun while assisting Carla with the Reverse Push-through on the Cadillac.

Ladder Barrel Swan.

Gen on ladder barrel

The Ladder Barrel is a wonderful piece of equipment to assist you with
extension.

Ask your instructor to teach you this piece if you aren’t
currently practicing it.  We use the Ladder Barrel almost every hour at the studio.  It’s a versatile and powerful tool.

*Safety tip, If you have low back pain or injuries, then
practice a swan from the mat or gentle extension with the Foam roller.