Monday Perk Up: Ten ways to care for yourself right this very instant

Need a Monday pick-me-up? These exercises can be done almost anywhere, at any time. For the most part, you won't even need to leave your desk.

  • Take a deep breath. A really deep breath. As you inhale, focus on sending breath to any parts of your body where you're feeling tension. Visualize the tension dissipating as you exhale. Now take four more breaths like that.

  • Tilt your head to one side until you feel a gentle stretch in your neck. Gently roll your head back, then to the opposite side and then forward. Reverse directions and repeat.

  • Use your non-dominant hand to give your dominant hand and wrist a mini-massage. It's amazing how much tension can build up in our hand muscles just from typing, mouse-clicking, etc.

  • While seated at your desk, take your left arm and cross it over to your right knee (palm facing up) while raising your right arm up toward the sky for a gentle spinal twist. For you yogis out there, think of this as a seated Triangle pose. Repeat on opposite side.

  • Send an email to an old friend or family member you've been meaning to catch up with. Update your friend on your life and ask for an update on his or hers.

  • Drink a really big glass of water. Alternately, if you have some tea on hand, make yourself a mug of hot tea and drink it slowly. Add lemon to your water or tea for a refreshing twist.

  • If you have any nagging to-dos in the back of your mind (such as making a dental appointment, paying the electric bill, sending a thank-you note, etc.), take a five minutes out of your lunch break and get it done. Most of these things really take no time at all, and yet we spend loads of mental energy trying to remember to do them and/or worrying about them! If you don't have the neccessary supplies/time/whatever to complete the task, at least take a small step toward getting it done, such as looking up the address for whomever you owe a thank-you note.

  • Make a mini Gratitude List. Write down five things you are grateful for today (a la Carolyn of Hang on Little Tomato. Carolyn, we must be on the same wavelength as I saw your post while I was writing this!) and tack it up somewhere you can easily see it.

  • Raise your arms over your head and behind you in a slight back bend, stretching out your abdominal muscles as you breathe in and out. Repeat several times.

  • Visualize the rest of your day going exactly as you want it to. Close your eyes (I promise your cubicle mates won't even notice) and mentally describe what you want to happen. It might go something like, "I will finish X project or Y report, receive positive feedback from a colleague, and take a few moments to clear off my desk at the end of the workday." Now imagine the rest of your evening and do the same visualization. Mine would go something like "I will have an easy commute home, go to the gym and have an intense cardio workout, make healthy and delicious turkey and spinach lasagna for dinner, take a relaxing bath, and go to bed early."
Photo by Debi Treloar via her website.


Elise said...

I'm going to keep this page open all day at work to remind myself to do what I can of this list! I need reminders to stretch at work, I walk out at the end of the day hunched over like an old lady with arthritis.

Melita said...

sounds very, very nice!

AnalieseMarie said...

Elise, I am the same way. I'll often realize that my shoulders are all hunched up and I have to constantly remind myself to relax them.


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