Battling Burnout: Stretch & Energize Your Body

Physician's Money Digest, March 2007, Volume 14, Issue 3

Sitting and standing all day can make you feel sore and achy by the end of the day. The following stretching routine is designed to soothe and energize your body, and can be done in between your patient appointments:

1. Neck relaxer. Look gently to your right. Hold that position while you breathe in and out deeply. Look gently to the left and take another deep breath. Look down toward your chest and then up to the ceiling, breathing deeply in each position. Drop your right ear toward your right shoulder and breathe. Repeat to the left. Finally, roll your neck all the way around in a slow clockwise circle, and repeat counterclockwise.

2. Side stretch. Sweep your arms up to the ceiling. Look up and reach up a few more inches. Bend your waist to the side and let your arms and head stretch a few inches to the right. Bend and stretch to the left. Come back to center and reach a few inches higher again.

3. Chest opener. Let your arms down and clasp your hands together behind your back. Straighten your arms. Bend down from your waist and let your arms fall over your head, toward the floor. Hold this position for a few, deep breaths.

4. Ragdoll hang. Still bending over from the chest opener, keep your knees slightly bent and your head hanging heavy toward the floor. Carefully, release your hands from their clasped position. Hold your left elbow in your right hand and your right elbow in your left hand. Shake your head "yes" and "no" slowly to relax your neck completely. Hang heavy in this ragdoll position for several deep breaths.

5. Legs energizer. While you are still bent from the waist, make your hands into fists and start to energetically "pound" your legs. Move up the outside of your legs, and then move down the inside of your legs. Complete a few cycles up and down your legs, then stand up and take one last deep breath.

If you do this stretching routine in between patient appointments, your body will feel revived and looser by the end of the day.

Christi Lehner-Collins is a certified holistic health counselor based in Boston, Mass. She specializes in helping busy professionals all over the world practice stress-free healthy eating and guilt-free self-care. She welcomes questions or comments at christi@ bostonhealthcoach.com. For more information and free resources, visit www.bostonhealthcoach.com.