Mental Health, News

MENTAL HEALTH – 7 Quick Stretches for Stress Relief

Just a few moments of stretching can improve your physical and mental health.

Most of us living with ITP can experience some stress at some point. What ultimately helps us keep stress under control isn’t necessarily eliminating all those potential stressors that come with living with a rare disease but instead having tools and skills to help us manage it so it doesn’t overwhelm us. Stretching is just one of several tools you could incorporate into your daily life that may be beneficial in helping you manage stress.

CHILD’S POSE

Kneel on the floor.

Bring your feet together and open your knees to create a V shape.

Sit back, keeping your bottom on or reaching toward your heels, and walk your hands in front of you so that your chest lowers to the ground. Breathe deeply through your diaphragm.

Add cushioning (like a pillow) under your lower body if you’re uncomfortable kneeling.

You can also limit how far you move your head and chest toward the floor to make the pose easier.

SEATED SPINAL TWIST

Sit toward the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor.

To begin the pose, it’s best to fully extend both arms straight above your head and then go into the twisting motion.

Place your right hand at the back of the seat, by the backrest, and place your left hand on your right thigh.

Inhale, lengthen your spine, then exhale and rotate your torso to the right, gazing over your right shoulder.

Repeat on the other side.

HAPPY BABY

Lying on your back, lift your knees toward your chest.

Grab the bottoms of each foot with your hands and pull your knees toward your chest and armpits.

If you can’t reach your feet, grab your lower legs.

LYING GLUTE STRETCH

Lie on your back and bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor.

Cross your right foot to your left knee, keeping your left leg tilted, to create a figure four.

Bring your hands behind your right knee and pull both legs toward your chest.

Repeat on the other side.

If you can’t reach the back of your knee, wrap a towel around your leg to pull it forward.

WIDE-LEGGED FORWARD FOLD WITH OPTIONAL CHEST EXPANSION

Stand with your feet wide apart.

Softly bend your knees.

Hold one end of a small towel with your palm facing behind you, then reach your opposite hand back to grab the other end of the towel.

Inhale and roll your shoulders back and down.

Exhale and slowly fold forward (focus on hinging at your hips).

Move your arms forward to draw your knuckles toward the ceiling (and downward toward the floor if you can).

Keep your hands at your hips as you bend forward for more stability.

CHEST OPENING STRETCH

Clasp your hands behind your back, squeeze your upper shoulder blades toward each other behind you, and push out through your chest.

Keep your core straight and avoid overextending your back.

Consider doing the same stretch and changing your hand position to the less comfortable position for an added stretch.

ROTATIONAL NECK STRETCH

Bring your chin to your chest and rotate it toward an armpit.

If you need more stretch, place your hand on the back of your head and push your head closer to your armpit.

Repeat, rotating your chin to the other armpit.

Be mindful not to elevate your shoulders, keeping them relaxed throughout the stretch.

Note: If you experience tingling, numbness, or pain when trying any of these stretches, or if you have an illness or injury that prevents you from doing them safely, speak with your doctor for appropriate modifications.

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