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Whether you’re stuck at your desk all day or stand on your feet in the salon, it is important not to stagnate. Failing to keep your joints and muscles moving can lead to chronic pain and stiffness. Fortunately, it is possible to squeeze a self-care break into your day with just 10 free minutes. Here we’ll walk you through how to take a 10-minute self-care break to feel refreshed for the rest of your day. 

 

Take a Breath

Sit with your eyes closed and take a breath. Sigh it out through your mouth and shake out some of your stress. Take 3 more breaths like that. Now begin inhaling through your nose to a 3-4 count and exhale out of your nose for a 3-4 count. As you inhale expand your belly, side body, and back body like a balloon opening up inside you, and as you exhale, release back to your center. Keep your breaths even, deep and slow. This will calm your nervous system, lower your blood pressure and create clarity and focus in your mind. Now continue to breath in and out through your nose for the rest of this routine. This keeps your awareness within and connects your mind and body together, giving you lasting results.

 

The Warmup

While this only takes a couple of minutes, it is crucial that you warm up before you start stretching or you risk an injury. Try walking or marching in place, circling your arms, shoulders, and wrists. You can also circle your hips as if you’re doing a hula hoop. This will help get your muscles warm enough to start stretching and get your fluid moving. 

 

Cow/Cat Pose

Sit up or stand tall and place your hands on your knees. Inhale as you arch your back, gently squeezing your shoulder blades together, lifting your tailbone. Then exhale and round your spine. Pull your belly to your spine, round your shoulders and tuck your chin. Use a 3-4 count breath and repeat 3 to 5 times.

 

Standing Stretch 

Stand up and as you inhale stretch your arms out to the side and above your head. Keep your arms overhead shoulder-width apart with your palms facing each other, shoulders relaxed and down as you reach for the ceiling. As you exhale, release your arms back to your sides. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

 

Standing Side Bend

Inhale reaching your arms out and up over your head. With your left hand, grab your right wrist and lift up and exhale while you bend over to the left. Hold for 3 breaths then switch hands and repeat on the other side. Be aware as you hold this position that your hips are neutral, not leaning back or forward. Release your arms and roll your shoulders to work out any kinks.

 

Chest Opener

Stand tall with your belly pulled into your spine and reach your hands behind your lower back. Keep your palms facing each other and interlace your fingers, then roll your shoulders back and down as you squeeze them together. Hold for up to 3 breaths, lifting your chest, gently looking up without straining your neck and keeping your tailbone pointed to the ground (neutral). Repeat 2 - 3 times.

 

Downward Dog

You can use your chair or desk for this, but you’ll need to make sure whatever you are using is secure. Place your hands on the top of the seat back, seat cushion or desk and step both feet back. Place more weight in your lower body (hips/legs) than your upper body (being kind to your hands), keeping your arms shoulder-width apart and feet hip-width apart. Hold for 3 breaths and repeat up to 3 times. 

 

Neck Circles

Finally, finish by standing or sitting tall and slowly turning your head from side to side a few times. Drop your chin to chest, do a half-circle rolling right ear to your right shoulder. Hold for a breath and repeat several times. On the final repetition, hold each side for 3 breaths. Release and roll your shoulders to work out any remaining kinks. 

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Meryl Hayton was a nail tech for 30 years before becoming a transformational life coach and yoga instructor. She has created a salon wellness program called Living Well. For more information, go to merylhayton.com/online-programs.