In today’s modern world, there are so many various things that can come up each and every day that can cause stress. Physical and mental stress both have negative impacts on our bodies – tension builds up, muscles tighten, headaches can occur. Many of us have probably heard how exercise can help with this, but maybe at the moment that the stress is occurring, that kind of movement just might not be convenient. This is when stretching for stress relief becomes our friend. It’s something that requires little effort and can be done just about anywhere for however long you choose! Even a few minutes of simple stretches can help to relieve stress, release tension, tightness, and reduce headaches.

Not only can stretch help ease the direct effects of stress, but it can also benefit our bodies in other ways as well. As a result of daily stretching you may find enhanced circulation, feel a boost in mood, increased energy, better sleep quality, more flexibility, better posture, and lessening of back pain and aches. So many benefits –  and your body will be thanking you for all of the extra attention and kindness! 

You can get started in a number of ways. You can start by focusing on an upper back stretch or neck stretch where you notice that tension building up and do what feels right for you at the moment. In addition, when time allows, you can also do some experimenting and research stretches to try out in order to find what works for you and possibly put together a more structured routine. A few tips to take into consideration are to be sure to stretch both sides of your body evenly, take it slow and with care, avoid stretching to the point where you feel pain, and remember to breathe into your stretches! This should be a time of relaxation physically by stretching your muscles and mentally by allowing your mind to focus solely on the present moment, your breath, and the feeling in your body to relieve stress.

The next time you’re under any type of stress, remember that stretching for stress relief is a tool that you always have right in front of you. At any time, any place, any state of mind, you can choose to take the time to show your body the extra love it requires and help heal yourself both physically and mentally in the process. I challenge you to give stretch a try and reap the many benefits that something so simple can bring. 

To your health and wellness,

Stephanie Pete

EPIC Functional Medicine

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