The 5-Minute At-Your-Desk Destresser

Shane Barnard, JD
by Shane Barnard, JD
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The 5-Minute At-Your-Desk Destresser

The holidays aren’t the only time we need to actively manage our stress. If we ventured to guess, it’s probably a daily issue. But combine the added pressure of the holidays with work, and things can get out of control. Taking a moment to breathe and stretch can help you manage stress during this busy season. Set aside just five minutes, even at your desk, to do these quick and easy stretches.

Start by sitting up tall at the edge of your chair with your legs hip-width apart and your feet comfortably placed on the floor. Make sure your chair is stable and won’t roll if it has wheels.  


Pull shoulders up to your ears and down away from your ears. This opens up your chest and reduce tension from “texting neck.” Do as many as you like.


Drop your chin toward your sternum, then lift and look up to the ceiling. Then go side to side, rotating right to left and dropping your ear toward your shoulder. Don’t pull on your head. Be gentle.


Hold your arm straight in front of you, and flex and extend your wrists.


Pull your arm across the body to stretch the back of the shoulder. For an extra stretch, look in the opposite direction.


Interlace your fingers behind your back and open through the chest.


Slightly facilitate a gentle rotation to the right, center, then to the left, maintaining a neutral spine.


Cross your ankle over your opposite thigh to stretch the back of the hip and glutes. If you’re tight, you’ll need to facilitate a gentle pull. To go deeper, lean forward slowly.


Stand up, and place the top of your foot on a chair behind you. Hold onto your desk with your hand for balance. Keep your knees together to stretch the quadriceps.

About the Author

Shane Barnard, JD
Shane Barnard, JD

Shane is NASM, ACE, AFAA and USATF certified and the creator and founder of the Urbankick format and instructor certifications, co-founder of Urbanplay, a non-profit health and fitness education program for youth, and a business partner at Studio360. With over 20 years of fitness experience, she is a nationally recognized presenter and currently teaches at Crunch, Fitness SF, and the University of California at Berkeley, where she is a health coach. Shane is a CEC provider for ACE and AFFA and an honored ambassador for lululemon. You can work out with Shane and Urbankick anytime, anywhere at


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