A Five Minute Relaxation Break

Got five minutes? That’s all the time it takes to relax and distress.

For starters

Sit upright in a chair on your ‘sit bones,’ with your spine straight but not rigid. Close your eyes if you wish.

Do the twist

Put your hands on your legs or the arms of your chair and twist your trunk to the right as you exhale. (Initiate the movement from your body’s centre, and your head will follow). Inhale and then twist to the left as you exhale. Repeat.

Breathe Deeply

Continue to breathe through your nose, focusing on the continuous flow of the breath. If your mind wanders to the past or the future, acknowledge these thoughts and then put them aside. Remind yourself that you’ve committed this time to relaxing – you could be doing a million things, but you’re not.

Let go

Systematically go through your body, tensing muscle groups as you inhale, holding the tension for a few seconds and releasing completely as you exhale. Tense and relax your face, neck, shoulders, and arms; then your stomach and entire back and buttocks; and finally your legs and feet. Make a point of memorizing how you feel
when you release.

Roll your shoulders

Imagine yourself as a puppet with strings attached to the tops of your shoulders. Keep your arms relaxed. Begin to roll your shoulders up toward your ears, backward so you feel your shoulder blades gently squeeze together; downward; and then forward so your shoulder blades separate. You’ll feel your shoulder blades massaging the muscles within. Repeat five times and then reverse directions. Breathe.

Try cleansing breaths

Take a deep breath through the nose, filling your lungs from the bottom (your stomach will gently puff out), through the middle, and through the top. Exhale forcefully through the mouth, using your lips for resistance.
As you inhale again, imagine gathering up all your tension and expelling it as you exhale. Repeat.