Quarantine has got me in a bit of a funk. I wake up feeling groggy and my body has been super tense, likely the result of too many days spent hunched over my laptop at my couch/desk. From what I can tell from our morning team Zoom meetings, Refinery29 Canada’s Visuals Editor Yazmin Butcher definitely does not seem to be having the same problem. So, what’s her secret? “When social distancing began, I found the tension in my body began to increase, so I decided to finally take the time for myself,” she says. “Now, I stretch and do breathing exercises every morning. I can already feel a change.”
“Stretching can act as an antidote to the positions and postures you’ve taken all day,” agrees Vancouver-based yoga teacher and massage therapist Anne Jones. By that, she means all of the sittings that we do and the negative health effects it has on our body.
Jones recommends stretching at the end of the day to release any built-up tension and to notice how your workday affects you mentally and physically. Toronto-based osteopath and celebrity body and posture expert Dr. Liza Egbogah prefers stretching throughout the day (holding each stretch for five breaths) every time you get up — whether it’s to answer a call or go to the bathroom. “Stretching encourages movement and you don’t want to be static for too long.”
If you don’t have time to stretch, even just taking a break from sitting to make a cup of tea, or getting up to mentally reset and shake it off every 30 minutes, can help. Stepping away from the computer or couch can chill you out and potentially boost your immunity, according to studies.
Because we’re stuck (mostly) inside for the foreseeable future, I asked Egbogah and Jones for five of their go-to stretching exercises that I promise I will be attempting first thing tomorrow morning.