Gratitude is medicine, and saying “thank you” to your body can help boost your mood, rewire your brain for better happiness, and even strengthen your immune system. (Really.)
Meanwhile, gentle stretches before or after work can help unclench the body and mind, reducing stress and relaxing muscles for better health, taller posture, and better sex. (Again: really.)
That’s why today’s small step is to combine both with a 5-minute stretch routine to say “thank you” to your body, and to the world we’re lucky to call home. Each stretch is adaptable for sitting or standing, so do what works for you!
THE “HELLO SKY” STRETCH(Target: Back + Neck)
Place your feet on the ground, hip-width apart. (Imagine two oranges between them and you’re all set.) Interlace your fingers behind your back, and gently push your palms down so your chest tilts up to the sky. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Breathe in for 5 counts. As you exhale, thank the sky for sunshine, rain, and endless Instagram content.
THE “I’M ENOUGH” STRETCH(Target: Calves + Hips)
Place your feet on the ground, hip-width apart. Let your arms fall to your sides. Allow your head to fall forward, slowly guiding each vertebra of your spine down to the ground. Do not worry about touching your toes! Instead, let your arms swing gently, wherever they are, releasing any tension in your back and thighs. Breathe in for 5 counts. As you exhale, thank your hands and feet for being part of your body. Use your next breath to slowly rise back up, thanking your legs, belly, back, and shoulders as they help you grow tall.
THE “OPEN HEART” STRETCH(Target: Shoulders + Wrists)
Place your feet on the ground, hip-width apart. Stretch both arms up to the sky while keeping your shoulders lowered. Grab your elbows with opposite hands and gently pull outwards to release your back. As you exhale, give thanks to yourself for being brave enough to care deeply and live kindly, which is actually really hard. You’re doing a great job… and now, your shoulders and wrists are holding a little less tension, too.