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10 Stretching Exercises You Can Do At Your Home Desk

As seasons change we look for better ways of doing things. It can be hard getting into a new routine or getting out of an old one. One way you can easily stir up the daily grind is by stretching. Even if there is a pandemic, many of us need to be seated at the computer whether at the office or home office. That’s why in order to be motivated you should keep your body active and awake while you are sitting at your desk. You can try stretching exercises for your spine, neck and back health, and in this way, you can have better posture and prevent musculoskeletal disorders. Here are 10 stretching exercises that you can do at your home/office desk.

American woman working from home during coronavirus pandemic

The majority of people spend long hours working at a desk. The head is usually bent to look at a monitor or book, where the back is arched and the waist is in an uncomfortable position. This may lead to poor posture and musculoskeletal disorders in later following years. However, you can take action by doing small 10-15 minutes increments of exercise. By doing stretching exercises you will feel motivated and more energetic in addition to having better posture.

Related: 12 Best At-Home Workouts You Can Do Without Any Equipment

Sitting motionless and uncomfortable at your desk may lead to:

-neck and shoulder pain

-musculoskeletal disease

-obesity

-Stress

-back pain

-carpal tunnel 

1. Triceps stretch 

This exercise will help you stretch your upper arm which is usually not in motion while you are using your computer. Raise your right arm bent backward as if you are trying to reach your back. With your left hand hold your raised elbow and pull it towards your left side. Try to hold for 10 seconds and release your arm. Then repeat with your left arm.

triceps stretch

2.Shoulder stretch 

Clasp your hands at your back and push your hands downward. Move the post of your shoulders towards the back and your chest out. With this stretch, you will prevent your back from hunching and maintain a good posture.

3.Torso stretch

Place your feet on the ground and hold the top of the chair with your hand. Then twist your upper body towards your hand. Hold this pose for 10 seconds. If you have back pain you should try this exercise and stretch your back muscles.

4.Upper body and arm stretch 

Clasp your hands and stretch upward with your hands facing upwards. Try to stay in this pose for 10 seconds. You can stretch further by leaning your hands left and right. With this exercise, you will stretch your upper body which is generally in a bad posture while you are sitting on your desk.

stretching exercise to do from desk

5.Hip and knee stretch

While sitting down on your chair, inclement your back a little. Hug your knee with your both arms. Pull them towards your chest and hold for 10 seconds. Do it with your other leg. This exercise will move your hip area which is generally not moving while sitting and carrying the weight of your upper body.

6.Hamstring stretch

Your legs are generally stable when you spend the day at your desk. You should work these muscles with this short stretching exercise. Straighten your legs while seated and try to reach your toes. Hold this pose for 20 seconds.

7.Neck stretch

Throughout the workday, you look at the monitor and keep your neck in an uncomfortable position. To prevent neck problems here is a stretching for you. Relax your neck and lean forward. Roll your head from side to side for 10 seconds. Lean your head backward. Roll your head from side to side for 10 seconds.

Back view of fitness woman reaching her back

8.Latissimus stretch

Latissimus is the widest muscle in the human body, the area between shoulder and hip. When you sit down without moving or keep your back in an uncomfortable position you may have back pain or bad posture. To prevent it, you can stretch your latissimus with this exercise. Raise your left arm straight and try to reach your right side slightly bending your upper body. Hold this pose for 10 seconds. Repeat with your right arm.

9.Upper trap stretch

Place your right arm on top of your head and gently pull your head to the right. Hold your head like this for 10 seconds. Repeat with the other arm. This way you will exercise the side of your neck and upper trap areas.

10.Forward stretch

Raise your arm parallel to the ground, while your palms are facing downward. Then lower your head between your arms while arching your back. Hold this pose for 10 minutes. This upper back stretch will help you to keep your posture in a healthy position. 

If you have more time or want to exercise further, you can increase the pose time to 20 or 30 minutes and carry your stretching exercise to a higher level. While doing these stretching exercises, don’t be harsh on yourself, if you do so this may lead to an injury. 

Benefits of stretching exercises while you are working

  • Increases energy levels
  • Reduces stress levels and in this way increases productivity
  • Improves posture
  • Reduces muscle tension and increases circulation
  • Lowers risk due to injury
  • Increases motivation

7 Ways to Stay Connected and Prevent Burnouts While Working Remotely

Thousands of companies have begun telework from home as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic in the world. Even if there are employees and companies that have worked from home for years, this was a new experience for many sectors. The new reality has caused people to have difficulty in setting clear boundaries between their personal and professional lives. This dilemma can hinder the flow of creativity or productivity. As such, people feel the need to embrace a routine, prevent burnout, and stay connected.

Telework has created new circumstances in our lives. For this reason, many people are not confident about their productivity level at home and have committed more time and effort to show commitment and motivation to management than ever before. Furthermore, parents who work remotely have had to play a more active role in their children’s education and care. Parents with one hand follow-up on their children’s online timetable for school, homework, as well as their children’s general well being while teleworking on the other hand. There are also some people who have had difficulty in embracing new daily and weekly routines and due to this have increased difficulty in time management. Consequently, people have increased responsibilities and stress, and look for a way to better balance during these trying times. 

After the COVID-19 Pandemic, working remotely may become more popular than before. Therefore, let’s take a look at ways we can improve our lives. Here are 7 ways to stay connected and prevent burnout while working from home.

1. Keep a Long-Term Perspective

Having long-term plans provides the ability to look forward with optimism towards the future and feeling more secure. Feeling of hopefulness and security can sustain you mentally. Long-term plans are not limited to only your profession. All aspects of life can be included such as holiday plans, postgraduate education plans, etc. The more you look towards a long term goal, the more hopeful you will be about the future. Creating order also increases our productivity and concentration levels. A long term perspective helps to keep up positive and look forward to the exciting news that will motivate you to be more creative and enthusiastic.

7 Ways to Stay Connected and Prevent Burnouts While Working Remotely

Therefore, think about your plans for the upcoming winter holiday and next summer holiday. Take the time now to make a plan to read that book or watch that film you’ve had on your reading or watch lists. 

Styled stock photography white office desk table with blank notebook, computer, supplies, and coffee cup. Top view with copy space. Flat lay.

2. Claim Your Workspace

According to various research, your physical environment directly influences your motivation, productivity, and creativity. So, prepare an appropriate workspace for your profession. But, how? What have you needed most at your workplace? Low-level music, a coffee machine, or a table lamp that has better lighting? Firstly, you must determine this. After that, your basic needs are only a desk, chair, and computer. Make sure not to spend your day in bed! Make your workspace work for you!

working remotely

3. Get Out Of The House And Connect With Friends to Stay Connected

Socializing, sharing feelings and thoughts with others allows us to feel better, and connect socially. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, you can socialize with your friends in open spaces, public gardens by following social distance protocols and wearing a mask. Therefore, when you go back home to work, you can be more focused and have more energy.

7 Ways to Stay Connected and Prevent Burnouts While Working Remotely

4. Keep Your Phone Out of the Bedroom While Sleeping

Cell phones (as well as tablets, TVs, and other gadgets with LED screens) spread blue light.  Blue light prevents the production of the hormone, melatonin that is the sleep-inducing hormone. Furthermore, blue light causes your brain to have difficulty in perceiving the time of day. After you fall asleep late, how will you focus on your work? Most probably, you won’t be able to focus on your work as you want, you may want to spend your time at bed.

Whenever it is time to sleep, turn off your phone and keep all other electronics out of your bedroom as well while sleeping. Improve the quality of your sleep, and your life will improve as well!

5. Opt For Fresh Air Instead Of An Extra Cup Of Coffee

Coffee may make you feel energetic at the moment. However, in the long term, your sleep routine may be disrupted because of caffeine. So, to feel energetic and work with more motivation, get some fresh air while taking a walk or listening to music outside.

Fresh air is a more logical decision than caffeine to be energetic! Get more oxygen in your lungs!

6. Get Out & Smell The Flowers

Breaks cover one of the most important areas in improving work performance and boosting energy. In addition. Breaks prevent burnout and help you stay connected while working remotely.

7 Ways to Stay Connected and Prevent Burnouts While Working Remotely

Take a break! Go for a walk! Furthermore, try meditating or doing fitness in open areas. In this way, you both are more productive in tasks and manage your stress in a healthier way.

7. Take regular breaks

By embracing a regular daily routine such as the Pomodoro technique, you can improve your work performance. Breaks provide you to focus on your job better.  According to Pomodoro technique, you work for 25 minutes and that is “A Pomodoro”. After that, you take a five-minute break. By increasing the amount of Pomodoro, you can take breaks for more than five minutes. Consequently, you will live more efficiently and productively at home.

7 Ways to Stay Connected and Prevent Burnouts While Working Remotely

  

Related: Freelance Stress: How to Maintain Your Mental Health When You Work From Home

 

7 Hand and Wrist Exercises for Long Hours Home-Office Workers     

Most of us are spending much more time on our laptops as home-office workers since Covid-19 has spread around and we are at home. Moreover, we not only spend time online for work on our laptops, but we also spend more time on our computers to socialize, as well. This causes some muscle and joint pain in our hands and wrists and may cause edema problems. On the other hand, repetitive actions (such as typing and controlling the mouse) may also cause serious problems like RSI (repetitive strain injury) or carpal tunnel syndrome when they are done thousands of times a day. Research has shown that 1.8 million workers suffer from RSI per year. It is also found that half of the workers with computers in Sweden are affected by RSI, in addition to the fact that in Australia, even 60% of children complain about wrist problems.

7 Hand and Wrist Exercises for Long Hours Home-Office Workers     

Also, 6.7% of US workers will suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome in their lifetime. More than that, there are lots of hand and wrist problems that arise from repetitive actions. Here are some of those problems that are caused by using the computer too much.

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Repetitive Stress or Repetitive Motion Injuries (RSI)
  • Posterior cervical dorsal syndrome (“Mouse shoulder” or “Computer Back”)
  • Lumbar sprains and strains
  • Tennis elbow
  • Disc injuries

Since it may not be possible to be away from computers completely, it becomes much more important to find the best hand and wrist exercises to minimize or prevent these problems.

7 Hand and Wrist Exercises for Long Hours Home-Office Workers     

Benefits of Wrist and Hand Exercises

Even if you don’t suffer from any pain or injury in your wrists or hands, practicing some exercises can help you prevent the probability of having bigger problems.

Exercising may help to strengthen your hand and wrist muscles. Finding the best hand and wrist exercises and practicing them regularly makes your fingers more flexible. Furthermore, exercising the hands and wrists emphasizes joint health and increases mobility and stability that becomes weaker with age, as well.

Here are some of the best hand and wrist exercises you can perform while you give yourself a break from the computer.

 1. Wrist Flexion and Extension

Wrist flexion and extension means moving your hands up and down from the wrist joint when your fingers are tall. This exercise directly stimulates your wrist area and increases blood flow. It also prevents problems like carpal tunnel syndrome or RSI in the long term as well.

  • Stretch out your hands to the front.
  • Stretch your hand upwards until you feel a nice stretch while inhaling.
  • Hold this stretch for a while exhaling, release, and go back to the starting point.
  • Stretch your hand down as you inhale.
  • Hold while exhaling and release again.
  • Repeat this at least 5 times.

Wrist Flexion and Extension

 2. Wrist Flexion with a Fist

This exercise is basically the same movement of the wrist joint but should be practiced by making a fist with your hand. When you practice this exercise, it stimulates your entire arm.

  • Stretch out your hands parallel to the floor.
  • Make fists with your hands and stretch them downward while inhaling until you feel a nice stretch on your arm.
  • Hold this stretch for a while, then go back to the starting point by exhaling.
  • Repeat this at least 5 times.

3. Shaking Your Hands Out

Shaking your hands out is the simplest exercise that may be used when working on the computer. This exercise also helps to relieve stiff joints.

  • Stretch out your hands to the front.
  • Release any tension that you may have in your fingers.
  • Slowly shake your hands out by letting your wrist move gently.

7 Hand and Wrist Exercises for Long Hours Home-Office Workers

 4. Drawing Circles

Drawing circles with any part of your body help to relieve any tension in that body part. When drawing a circle with your fist, it stimulates the muscle joints on your wrists that are not used often while working.

  • Stretch out your hands parallel to the floor.
  • Make a fist with your hands and start to draw a circle in one direction while you are breathing.
  • Reverse the circle.

 5. Table Press

Pressing the table with the back of your hands and palms builds strength in the muscles between your wrists and elbows.

  • Put your hands on the table while palms face up.
  • Press the table with the back of your hands while inhaling.
  • Release when exhaling
  • Place your hands under the table, palms up.
  • Press the table with your palms while inhaling. This will strengthen your forearms.

Touching Thumbs

 6. Touching Thumbs

Touching each finger to your thumb increases coordination between finger joints, helps to stimulate that area, and increases blood flow.

  • Put your hands on the table, palms up.
  • Gently bring your thumb to the tip of each finger. Touch and press slowly.
  • Do the same sequence with your other hand as well.
  • Repeat this at least 5 times with both hands.

 7. Squeezing

Squeezing something, like a tennis ball or grip, is a great exercise to strengthen your wrists.

  • Put your forearms on the table.
  • Grip something and squeeze gently while breathing.
  • Hold the squeeze for a while.
  • Release everything.
  • Do this at least 5 times with both hands.

Squeezing

The exercises that strengthen and stretch your hands and wrist may vary, however, if you practice these seven hand and wrist exercises, then you can help prevent the problems that may occur in the long term in your wrists or hands from long term computer use. If you are looking for more hand and wrist exercises, you can check out this quick joint-freeing series from Jana-Long that will really help you to boost not only your hands and wrists but also your whole body and your mood while you are working.

 

Related: All You Need to Know About: Working Out on an Empty Stomach

 

Freelance Stress: How to Maintain Your Mental Health When You Work From Home

Working as a freelancer can be a big issue depending on your personality.  Although there are many people who are able to work from home comfortably, it is definitely not for everyone. There can be many factors that disturb us and affect our general state of mind. This unpleasant feeling can be described as  ‘freelance stress’.

Freelance stress mostly depends on the loneliness and passivity that comes with working in a restricted territory. Isolation from the outside world can be tricky and may cause depression and anxiety. Being physically disconnected from teammates may lead to a sense of alienation. Furthermore, if your only method of communication is emailing or texting, that may deepen your feelings of loneliness.

Changing work hours and the lack of job security are other issues that may cause freelance stress. Feelings of increased responsibility can be extremely stressful as well. These conditions may affect physiological needs such as sleeping hours, maintaining a healthy diet, and a decreased desire to socialize… On the other hand, there are many ways to boost your mood when dealing with freelance stress. Working from home could be a great opportunity for building your mental health and well-being.

Freelance Stress: How to Maintain Your Mental Health When You Work From Home

Benefits of Working from Home

Varying work hours can be difficult when working from home. But it can actually be a great way to increase your efficiency.  If you don’t have to sit in front of your laptop for specific working hours, you can choose the time periods when you feel most productive. This choice may lead you to work more efficiently. Freelance stress may decrease if there are no specific working hours in a day when it comes to meeting a deadline. Moreover, your quality of sleep may improve when you are able to select your working hours as it might be easier to squeeze in time for self-care.

The ability to cook and serve your own food while working may lead you to have a healthier lifestyle, as long as you remember to eat and sleep regularly.  Having a chance to change the temperature or the lighting in your space whenever you want or designing the space you need is another benefit to working from home.  The best way to benefit from freelance work is to use your time efficiently and have fun in the environment you are in, whether you are alone or not.

freelance stress working at home

Here are some helpful tips to deal with your freelance stress:

1. Define Your Working Environment

Working from home as a freelancer could be a great opportunity to hone your efficiency.  Although it requires some discipline to work from home, once you get set up, your productivity during working hours may increase. Establishing a dedicated workspace that meets your physical and mental needs is especially important.

Whether you work alone or live with your family or roommates, identifying your ‘working area’ in a home environment is essential to preventing freelance stress. Creating a well-designed but satisfying working space could be a great start to boosting efficiency, just like creating a separate space for sleeping or eating. A small table positioned in front of the window, a floor cushion in the corner of your living room, or a desk on your balcony could be just what you need to jumpstart your productivity… 

Once you set up your space for working, be sure to organize your desk. Good music and a cup of tea or coffee might be your best company as well.

freelance stress

2. Define Your ‘Work’ Time

Defining your ‘working’ hours versus your ‘resting’ hours is very important to stay mentally healthy while working from home. If you set up your work schedule wisely, it may give you more time to take care of yourself and prevent freelance stress.  When you are ‘online’ at work all the time, it may feel as though you are always working, which could result in burnout. The line between work and life blurs, and you feel like you can’t take time to sleep, socialize, or even eat a healthy meal. Setting boundaries about when to work, when to sleep, or when to socialize are very important for a feeling of normalcy. When you finish your work, try to leave it behind by physically walking away from your work area.

freelance stress

3. Best Workmates Ever: Pets

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but any kind of pet can be a great companion…  If you are a freelancer and have fears of loneliness, adopting an animal could be a way to balance your freelance stress. The company of a pet can boost your mood during working hours, and caring for it could help you break the boundaries of feeling socially isolated.  Playing games with your pet will make you move around and may even give you a little exercise.

4. Dealing with Freelance Stress Through Physical Activity

Having time for physical activity as a freelancer is very important for balancing freelance stress. Starting your day with some basic physical activities allows you to be more focused during your working hours. Whether you like to sweat or not, there are thousands of options to get moving in a home environment.  

Practicing yoga could be one of the best options for dealing with the stress of working from home. You can start your day with some basic stretches and awaken your spine.  Yin practices could be a great start to your day while yang practices help keep your body energized throughout the afternoon. Maintaining a regular exercise routine will decrease your lower and upper back issues, including sciatica or neck pains due to working long hours on the laptop.  You don’t have to take much time to exercise. Even doing some basic stretching exercises during your break time can be beneficial.

On the other hand, making time for exercise will improve your quality of sleep. That’s why it’s important to add an exercise routine in your daily life, especially if you are a freelancer.  YouTube is an amazing resource if you don’t know where to start. There are many channels for online yoga, zumba, pilates, and aerobic classes, many provided by teachers. Take a look and see if you can find one that is enjoyable and motivating.

meditiating to relieve stress

5. Meditate

Meditation can be a very effective way to deal with freelance stress. Studies have shown that meditation is very beneficial for mental health. The reduction in stress levels brought about by a regular meditation practice can help you focus better while working.

One of the basic principles of a simple meditation is to follow the breath in and out. When you focus on your breathing, it allows you to let go of other thoughts and feelings or a while. The point of meditation is to recognize what is going on in your body and mind. Although it takes time to build up your focus, meditating for even 2-5 minutes can have relaxing effects.

If you notice that you are experiencing deep feelings of loneliness or stress, a short meditation break can be a good choice to relax. If you want to build a regular meditation practice, there are many apps available to help you get started. You can choose between which consist of many guided or unguided meditation practices, whichever suits your needs best. Insight timer is one of the most popular free apps out there. There are also several guided meditations you can practice if you have sleeping issues.

cooking at home

6. Cook for Yourself

Working from home can affect your diet as well. It’s very easy to order takeout from a restaurant, and junk foods may quickly become your best friend. This habit can have a harmful impact on your physical health. That’s why setting a cooking routine is so important for both your physical and mental health.  Too much stress may make you eat more junk food and dissuade you from working out. Motivating yourself to prepare your own healthy foods and increase your physical activity will have benefits in the long run.

Finally, being a freelancer is not easy if you don’t control your ‘me’ time. Defining your work hours and space in the first place is very crucial in preventing freelance stress. Although it may seem hard to do, it is essential to feel like you are physically in a different environment for working hours and not let that work bleed over into your non-working time.  Setting healthy boundaries and sparing some time specifically for your well-being will help you cope with the poor concentration and the feeling of loneliness brought about by freelance stress…

 

Related: Negativity Harms Your Body, Your Mind and Unfortunately, Your Life