Taking Tension Out of Your Day
Spend a lot of time at your desk? If so, you have probably experienced tension in your neck, shoulders, and back.
When sitting for a long period of time and focusing intently, it’s easy to end up hunched over your work. Such rounding of the back can make the breaths you take less deep, and thus less calming, because you are unable to fully expand your rib cage and breathe from your belly rather than shallow breaths that engage only your chest. A hunched posture also leads to muscle tension and even fatigue.
Staying aware of your body position can improve your posture, reduce muscle tension, and increase energy.
When you work at your desk, focus on sitting tall and elongating your spine. Imagine you have a string on the top of your head gently pulling you taller. When you lengthen through the top of your head you should feel your chin tuck in and the back of the neck lengthen. Your weight should be evenly distributed on both sides of your body. Lift your chest and spread your shoulders back and down. Imagine your shoulder blades dropping down into your back pockets. Breathe mindfully. Take some deep breaths, expanding your rib cage and belly. Sitting up tall will help you breathe more efficiently, increasing the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood while calming your nervous system.
Try these tips:
Set a timer to stretch. Stand up, move a little, and stretch for 1-2 minutes each hour.
Declutter. A messy desk can be a serious drain. The reminder of everything you haven't yet completed can create chaos and distract your mind. Find or create a system to keep your computer screen organized and papers filed.
Prepare to single-task. Multi-tasking is usually more stressful and you’re probably less productive than you think. Have a clear view on your priorities. Anticipate that your schedule may change and be ready to re-prioritize as needed based on your original priority list.
Eat meals away from your workspace. Focus on chewing slowly and give yourself time to pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues.
If you feel stress increase, take inventory of the cause. Add some deep breaths, make sure you are not undernourished or over-caffeinated, name the cause of your stress, and decide if it's something in your control to change or not.