8 Important Stress-Relieving Stretches for Parents

Life with kids can be full of chaos and stress. It starts in the mornings, as you make sure the kids get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush their teeth and are at school on time. It continues on throughout the day as you meet work deadlines, deal with traffic headaches and even navigate relationship issues Then, there’s the evening hustle of dinner, homework and bedtime routines, rounding out a busy day before you collapse into bed to get some rest before it all begins again.

Fun stuff, right?

We know there’s a lot of joy in each day, too, but all that stress still builds up and creates physical and mental stiffness. When you feel your shoulders start to rise up to your ears, it’s time to stop, stretch and find some stress relief by lengthening those tensed muscles.

These 8 stretches are specific to busy, over-scheduled parents and can be done anywhere, anytime.

Woman working

At Work: Upper Back Stretch

Sit up straight in your desk chair. Clasp your hands in front of you, with arms parallel to floor. Keep your head relaxed while you round your upper back. Push hands forward, with palms away from the body.

Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, breathing steadily. Repeat 2 to 3 times.

At Work: Lower Back Stretch

Sit up straight in your desk chair. Keeping your spine in alignment, bend from your hips and reach toward the floor. Aim to touch your toes, but if you can’t reach, rest your hands on your ankles or shins.

Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, breathing steadily. Repeat 2 to 3 times.

Woman driving

In the School Pick-up Line: Shoulder Rolls

Sit up tall in your seat. Begin by slowly shrugging your shoulders repeatedly to get the blood flowing to your shoulders and neck area. Hold your shoulders up for a couple of seconds then slowly roll them back.

Repeat 5 to 10 times before reversing direction and rolling shoulders to the front.

In the School Pick-up Line: Neck Stretch

Sit up tall in the driver’s seat. Slowly lower your right ear towards your right shoulder, keeping the shoulder down. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds before slowly raising your head back to center.

Repeat on left side.

Woman cooking

In the Kitchen Making Dinner: Standing Forward Fold

Standing tall, fold forward with a straight back. Tuck your chin in toward your chest, relax your shoulders and extend the crown of the head toward the floor to create a long spine, straightening your legs as much as possible. Place your hands on the ground or grasp opposite elbows for a rag doll position.

Hold for 20 to 30 seconds before slowly rolling up to standing position, one vertebrae at a time.

In the Kitchen Making Dinner: Elevated Pigeon Stretch

Stand next to a counter or table that is about hip-height. Raise your right knee and bring it towards the inside of your right hand that is resting on the counter or table. Angle your knee at a 2 o’clock position so the lower portion of your leg and foot are resting on the surface. Remain with your hands resting on the table with the upper body upright.

Hold for 20 to 30 seconds before switching to left side and repeating.

Mom and daughter

Playing With Your Kids in the Living Room: Cat Pose

Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position with your knees directly below your hips, with wrists, elbows and shoulders perpendicular to the floor. Your head should be in a neutral position, looking at the floor. Exhale and round your spine toward the ceiling, like a hissing cat. Inhale, coming back to tabletop position.

Repeat 5 times.

Playing With Your Kids in the Living Room: Cow Pose

From tabletop position, inhale and lift your sit bones and chest towards the ceiling while your belly sinks to the floor. Lift your head to look forward and hold for a breath or two. Return to tabletop position and repeat.

Repeat 5 times.

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