By Joie Goh
There’s no doubt that #WFH has led to lots of stiff necks and shoulders as we hunch over our computers and smartphones. Here’s a simple 5 minute sequence you can do several times a day to alleviate tightness.
First, before going straight into the stretches, you need to loosen and warm up those stiff muscles. Start with simple shoulder rolls. Slowly and intentionally pull your shoulders up to your ears, and circle them back and down. Do this at least three times.
Next, gently turn your head right and left, and then tilt your head up to look at the ceiling, then down to the floor. Repeat several times.
Stretching the Neck
We’ll being by stretching out the sides of the neck. Sit up tall, and drop your right ear to your right shoulder. Drape your right forearm over the top of your head, so that the fingertips of your right hand is dangling by your left ear.
Simply breathe, and allow the weight of your right arm to gradually sink your right ear closer to your right shoulder, lengthening the left side of your neck. Try not to actively pull your head down to the side – you’ll risk hurting the delicate muscles in your neck!
After a minute, remove your right arm from the top of your head, but keep your head still tilted. Place your right fingertips to your right temple and gently guide your head back upright. Repeat from the top on the other side.
Once both sides of your neck are stretched, we’ll work on the back of the neck. Interlace your hands behind your head and drop your chin to your chest. Allow your elbows to relax on either side of your face, using the weight of your hands to slowly lengthen the back of your neck. Hold for a minute, breathing deeply and being aware of the sensation of your neck lengthening.
To come out of this stretch, release your hands from your head, but keep your chin down. Place all 10 fingertips along your hairline, and gently guide your head back upright.
Stretching the Shoulders
Next, we’ll move on to the shoulders. Cross your arms across your chest, as though giving yourself a big hug, grabbing on to your opposite shoulders with your hands. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, round through your chest as though you are curling into a ball, Feel the opening between your shoulder blades. Hold in this position for 10 counts, and release. Switch the position of your arms (if you had crossed your right arm on top, switch so that your left arm is now on top) and repeat again.
Sit up tall and clasp your hands behind your back or chair. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, straighten your arms out and lift your clasped hands up towards the ceiling. Feel your chest expand and your shoulder blades squeeze inwards. Hold in this position for 10 counts, and release. You may repeat this step a few times if it feels good!
Getting Back into the Flow
Finally, lift your right arm and do a side bend stretch over to the left. Repeat on the other side. This move is exceptionally useful for rejuvenation and to invigorate the body, bringing much needed circulation.
And now, you’re all set to get back to work – refreshed, relaxed and relieved!