Relief for Neck and Shoulder Tension

April 25, 2021

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Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

My Favorite Stretches  

After nearly a year of working remote in some capacity, a lot of us have become more sedentary. Including me. Being in college, before the start of the pandemic, I was alway running around campus all day every day. I was always on the go, getting an average of 15,000+ steps per day. Since the start of the pandemic, I have been lucky to get 5,000 steps on a good day. But in all reality I am getting maybe 2,000-3,000 steps per day which is mostly contributed to a daily walk in the afternoon or an hour spent at the gym.  

With most things still online, I find it so easy to sit down in front of my computer and work for hours without taking breaks to get up and move. Sure, I check my phone here and there to remain social, but my body is not really moving. This leaves me feeling restless at the end of the day and feeling like I still have tons of energy to burn. To make it worse, I have noticed that I am a lot more prone to neck and shoulder tension due to sitting at the computer all day, seeing crazy headlines on the news, and not getting enough body movement to blow off some steam.  

If you find yourself in a similar situation, check out some of these helpful stretches that I use to help relieve some of that pesky neck and shoulder tension.  

  • Neck Stretch 

  1. Stand tall with your hands at your side. 

  1. Place your left hand on top of your head and leave your right hand at your side. 

  1. Gently pull your head towards your left side, you should feel a gentle stretch in the right side of your neck.  

  1. Hold for 10-15 seconds.  

  1. Gently release your head back to the original position.  

  1. Repeat on the other side. 

  1. Do this on both sides 2-3 times.  

  • Child’s Pose  

  1. Get on the floor with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips in a tabletop position.  

  1. Hinge at your hips to sit back on your heels, press your arms forward, you should feel a lengthening feeling in your spine and upper back muscles.  

  1. Hold for 60-90 seconds. Focus on taking deep and slow breaths. 

  1. Return to first position and repeat 2-3 times.  

  • Neck Release 

  1. Stand tall with your hands at your side.  

  1. Tilt your head forward so your chin is near your chest.  

  1. Gently tilt your head to the right, you should feel a light stretch in the left side of your neck. Hold for 10-15 seconds.  

  1. Return to original position with chin near chest. 

  1. Repeat on the left side.  

  1. Return to normal position and repeat the sequence 2-3 times.  

These are a few stretches that I try to do as often as I can throughout the day when I start to feel tension setting in. Although they don’t relieve all of my stress, they certainly help me to feel a sense of relief and clarity. I like to take small moments like these to just exist and become more aware of my surroundings. So next time you are doing work for school or your job, remember to take a break for a few minutes to stretch, breathe deeply, and exist. 

Let us know what your favorite tension-relieving stretches are at Healthy.UNH@unh.edu

 

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