7 Easy Ways to Relax on the Job (without Getting Fired)

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Your boss just dropped another project on your desk. Your co-worker spends more time at the water cooler than at his desk. The phone won't stop ringing, your email inbox is so full it's about to burst, and you've got a meeting with a client in an hour.

Yep, you're stressed.

So how can you present your most cool, calm and collected self and accomplish all the tasks you have to do today?

Take a breather, and try a few minutes of yoga.

Most of us can't unroll a yoga mat and drop into down dog at the office, but that doesn't mean we can't take time for a bit of relaxing and energizing stretches. (Note: These poses are also appropriate for people with mobility issues.)

The next time you need to chill out, try some or all of these poses:

Neck rolls

Begin by sitting up straight in a chair.

Gaze up to the ceiling, keeping your neck long. Then bring your left ear down towards your left shoulder and hold. Roll your head down towards the ground and bring your chin to your chest. Hold and finally, roll your head to the right and bring that ear to your right shoulder. Inhale and exhale through the nose in a slow and controlled manner. Repeat twice.

For a deeper stretch, extend the opposite arm down towards the ground and hold. You should be relaxing your neck muscles and using the weight of your head for this stretch. Do not attempt to force your head lower with your neck muscles or your hands. Stop immediately if you feel any discomfort.

Repeat five times on each side, taking long, slow and even breaths through the nose.

Mountain pose

Begin by sitting up straight in a chair.

Roll your shoulder blades back and down, arms relaxed at your sides. Pull your bellybutton in to your spine to engage your abs, and keep your feet flat on the floor, if possible.

Inhale through the nose and raise your arms overhead. Keep your arms shoulder width apart, and relax your shoulders. If you feel your shoulders creep up around your ears, relax them. Keep the belly strong, and gaze in between your hands, to the ceiling. Stay here for five breaths.

Alternative: After raising your arms, interlace your fingers, and press your palms toward the ceiling. Relax your shoulder blades. Remain for five breaths, with your gaze up to your palms.

Cat/cow stretch

Begin by sitting up straight in a chair.

Roll your shoulder blades back and down, arms relaxed at your sides. Pull your bellybutton in to your spine to engage your abs, and keep your feet flat on the floor, if possible.

As you inhale, arch your back and look up toward the ceiling. Lift the chin and allow your arms to relax next to you.

As you exhale, round your spine and let your head drop forward. Tuck the chin and allow your shoulders to roll.

Repeat five times.

Seated forward fold

Begin by sitting up straight in a chair.

Roll your shoulder blades back and down, arms relaxed at your sides. Pull your bellybutton in to your spine to engage your abs, and keep your feet flat on the floor, if possible.

Spread your legs slightly wider than hip's distance apart.

Exhale and round your back, slowly lowering your chest in between your legs. Place your hands flat on the floor (see photo above) or grab opposite elbow with each hand (see photo below). Allow your shoulders to relax and round.

Stay here for five breaths. Inhale and slowly roll up, allowing your head to be the last part of your body to lift. Relax the shoulders back and down.

Eagle arms

This is my favorite arm stretch. It stretches in between the shoulder blades, which is an area that gets really tense if you spend all day on the computer.

Begin by sitting up straight in a chair.

Roll your shoulder blades back and down, arms relaxed at your sides. Pull your bellybutton in to your spine to engage your abs, and keep your feet flat on the floor, if possible.

Begin by extending your arms out in front of you at 90-degree angles. Then place your right arm under your left and press the backs of your palms together. (If your arms and shoulders are tight, you might not to get your arms as close as mine are in the photo. That's OK. You'll still feel this stretch.)

Inhale sit tall, then exhale and tuck your chin to your chest to stretch the back of the neck. Hold the pose for five breaths, then switch arms and stay another five breaths.

Head to chair pose

Sit on the floor in front of your chair with your legs extended in front of you, under the chair. Pull your belly in to your spine to engage your abs and flex your feet to engage your legs. Place your arms on the chair and round your back. (If your chair is open at the back, place your forehead on the chair.) Allow your chin to drop toward your chest and relax your shoulders.

Stay here for five to 10 breaths, then slow roll your chin and chest up.

Forward Fold with a Chair

Begin by standing about an arm's length away from a chair. Your feet should be directly under your hips; your shoulders should be back and down, with your abs engaged. Inhale and reach for the chair, allowing your body to roll down. Bend your knees slightly to prevent locking them, and allow the head to hang. Stay for five breaths, then roll up slowly.

If you liked these poses, you should try:

Have you tried any of these stretches? Do you like them? How do you relax when you get stressed on the job?

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RAPUNZEL53 1/17/2021
Thanks Report
CECELW 1/5/2021
I wonder how many times I have read this article Report
FRAN0426 12/18/2020
These are great , I need to do them more often Report
PHATPAT18 11/24/2020
Great ideas. Report
Thanks for the inspiration Report
Thanks Report
These are great. I can do all of them. Thanks.. Report
Thanks! Report
Thanks Report
As long as I can stay in my chair while doing these exercises, I'm good. Report
Great. Report
Great ideas. Thanks! Report
I have these printed and stuck on my office wall where they can remind me to do them. Report
Thanks for the info Report
These would be some awesome stretches to do if I was still on the job. Report
great pictures to help show how to do these- Report
Thank you! Report
These are great ideas. Report
If I did some of these at work, they would call 911! Report
ohhh!!! This really helped A LOT!!! I am a 4-H Agent and am usually on my feet in the classrooms of our county's schools doing 4-H Club meetings, but during this time of year I am seated a lot at my desk. Not being used to a "desk job" for long periods of time, I tend to have bad posture and end up hurting in my back because of this. I tried your stretches and they really work! I have bookmarked it on my computer screen so I can do them often! Thanks a bunch!!! Report
This is just what was looking for! Thank you so much! Feel much better! Report
These are great, I will try to do these on a daily basis Report
My body feels so much better after doing these. I have fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and back problems plus other things that slow me down. I spend a lot of time at home and a lot of time at the computer. I think that exercises like these will be really good for me. I am glad that I came across them. I just joined the One Minute Yoga team to get back into a yoga zone. I used do a bit of yoga and lately have not been doing more than a bit of stretching with some yoga poses. But, my schedule is so off with getting sick a lot that I slack off. So, little challenges like OMY and articles like these are excellent for me!!! Thank you!!! Report
These are awesome! I just started a yoga class at the school where I work and I recognize a lot of these poses and being able to do them during my planning period and before and after school will help with the stress. Thanks so much for your generosity and sharing! Report
Thank you! This article is great! I've been trying some throughout the afternoon. Report
Great ideas for relaxing and stretching during a stressful day! I can't wait to try them. I think I will try to print a copy as a cheat sheet. Thank you! Report
These are great, I will definately try them. By the end of my work day my shoulders are tight and my neck hurts. This should help out a lot. Thanks. Report
I just did these exercises and I enjoyed doing them. I am going to save this page so that I can start to do these exercises during my planning period. Report
These are great, but I also think I'll have to pass on the floor poses. Maybe I can do them at home, where I know the floors have been cleaned well.

I think this would be a good one for the break room! Report
Thanks!!! Report
I worked as a NURSE, so I'd never had time for this, except maybe in the "break room" but I hardly ever got to go there! Report
The floors in my office are filthy, so I wouldn't do anything that required getting down on the floor, but the eagle arms looks useful for sure! Report
I feel good Report
great tips... Report
great tips..
I love this.I am on my feet all day so doing these when I get home. Report
Good to see I'm not the only one who uses the Neck Roll and the Mountain Pose! I use these daily!! Report
Great ideas! When my coworkers and I need to de-stress, we put on the local dance station and bust a move to a good song. Report
Wow... My shoulders feel so much better! I'm printing these and hiding them inside my cabinet... great way to take a break from the screen. There were a couple that I couldn't do because of my rolling chair, but overall this was great! Report
These were great. I feel much better already! Thank you! Report
I think I'd get some strange looks if I tried the head to chair pose at the office, but the others will be helpful! Report
These look great. I might print them out to post in the break room for everybody to try! Report
Thanks Stef, I saved this to my favorites and will try to print when I get to work so I can post by my desk for 1. a reminder and 2. to spark whomever comes by being noisy and they will! LOL.
Frances Report
When I was working, either I would grab someone or they would grab me and we would power walk for 20 minutes - a mile-long course we could do either indoors or outdoors. I also used to walk during my one-on-ones with my associates. Report
WOW!! these really make me feel good, it relaxes my very stiff and painful muscles. I can't way to trying while flying of course everyone on the plane may think I have lost my mind but at least I'll be feeling good.
I have got to try the other two yoga. Report
These Yoga poses that you can do from your chair and not on the floor are really helpful. Thanks! Report
This was just what I needed this afternoon. Thanks! Report