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5 Ways to Relieve Tension at Your Desk

Rear back view at relaxed healthy man taking break for rest finished work sitting at desk stretching with hands behind head enjoying peaceful mood lounge relaxation feeling stress relief at workplace

Working at a desk takes a toll on more than just your brain. Whether you work from home or in an office, hunching over a desk for eight (or, let’s be real, 10) hours each day catches up to you real quick — usually in the form of a stiff neck, achy shoulders, and a cranky lower back.

It is possible to make your work hours less uncomfortable, though. Investing in an ergonomic setup can help tremendously, but if that’s not in the cards for you right now, you can try some easy do-anywhere, anytime methods.

If you’re looking to relieve tension in your neck and shoulders while at your desk, look no further than these five tactics for relaxing and resetting while on the job.  

In this Article:

Some simple neck stretches, shoulder rolls, and spinal twists can make a massive difference in how you feel at your desk. You can do all of these stretches and more right at your workspace. You don’t even have to get up, although your body will probably thank you if you do.

Try it out: Roll your head to the right three times, then to the left three times. Pull your right arm across your chest and hold it for 10 seconds. Repeat on the left. Twist to the right, using your chair back to support you. Hold for 20 seconds, then twist to the left. 

If stretching isn’t cutting it, you might want to shake things out a bit. A little blood flow goes a long way! Don’t worry, you still don’t have to leave your office — just stand up next to your chair.

Try it out: Stand up and raise your hands above your head. Clasp your hands together and bend to the left, to the right, and come back to center. Hold your arms out to the side (make a “T”) and make 10 circles forward, then 10 circles backward. March your knees 10 times on each leg. Repeat this sequence until you feel loose and ready to tackle that next to-do item.

Ekrin athletics mini bantam massage gun in black and green colors behind a white background

The Ekrin BANTAM is the perfect massage tool to keep in your desk drawer, purse, or brief case.

Alright, so stretching, shaking, and squeezing didn’t do it for you? Let’s move onto a tried-and-true tactic that won’t fail to relieve tension in your neck and shoulders: percussive therapy. Soft tissue manipulation is proven to reduce muscle tension and related aches and pains. The Ekrin BANTAM percussive massage gun is the perfect size to keep in your desk drawer. Consider it your healthy work-from-home companion.

Try it out: While standing or sitting, use your percussive massage gun on each sore muscle group for up to two minutes. Start on the front of your shoulder, moving to your traps and neck, and then your upper back. Breathe deeply throughout the session.

Scientific studies show that deep breathing can induce full-body relaxation, so whether you feel tense in your neck, shoulders, or back, try taking a few deep breaths as a quick, simple fix you can do at your desk.

Try it out: Close your eyes (gently; don’t scrunch). Breathe in for four seconds. Hold for four seconds. Exhale for four seconds. Hold one more time for four seconds. Repeat this sequence three to five times.

Businesswoman takes short time-out in office work. Beautiful girl lying relaxed on back chair. Female entrepreneur resting at workplace. Comfortable office furniture for long work in sitting position
Close up of anxious white woman hands holding anti stress therapy ball at work. Female professional squeezing rubber ball as therapy for hand injury. Work related stress and rehabilitation

Taking a moment for deep breathing exercises or relieving stress through a ball can help ease tension.

When in doubt, take it back to the basics. Whether your coworker (virtual or not) is driving you up the wall or you’re stressing about a project deadline you may or may not meet, it can help to have a stress ball handy. While this technique isn’t specifically geared toward relieving stress in your neck and shoulders, we know that mental stress often manifests as physical stress, like clenching the jaw or tensing the neck.

Try it out: Grab that thing and squeeze! Squeeze hard or soft, go for reps or for time. Just squeeze until you can let out a sigh of relief. 

Written by Ekrin Athletics Staff

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