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Throughout the fall and winter months, it’s easy to let your post-work exercise routine devolve into lifting a full glass of wine to your mouth and repeating until it’s empty. But when you consider seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and the holiday blues, you should be focusing on exercising and taking care of your body and, by extension, your mind, now more than ever.
Here to make your end-of-year workout slump a thing of the past is Dana Slamp, a senior yoga instructor at Pure Yoga in New York City (sign up for her class here). She contends that all you need to improve your range of motion, increase circulation, and calm your mind during the stressful holiday season is a little post-work stretching. Slamp recently created a short stretching routine for Real Simple designed to “fend off injuries and illness, as well as bring on a better night’s sleep.” In her own words, here’s how to get your post-work stretch on:
The Runner’s Stretch
(A) Step your right foot forward and lower into a lunge, placing your fingertips on the floor or on two firm cushions if your hands don’t reach.
(B) Breathe in, then, in one motion, exhale as you straighten your right leg. Slowly return to the lunge position. Repeat four times. Switch sides.
The Standing Side Stretch
(A) Stand with your feet together and your arms straight overhead. Clasp your hands together, with your fingers interlaced and pointer fingers extended. Inhale as you reach upward.
(B) Breathe out as you bend your upper body to the right. Take five slow breaths. Slowly return to the center. Repeat on the left side.
The Forward Hang
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and your knees slightly bent.
(A) Interlace your fingers behind your back. (If your hands don’t touch, hold on to a dish towel.) Breathe in and straighten your arms to expand your chest.
(B) Exhale and bend at your waist, letting your hands stretch toward your head. Hold for five deep breaths.