When you say you’re too busy
Are you one of these people who uses the phrase “I’m so busy” about 20 times a day? All these virtual meetings that make your head spin and cause “Zoom fatigue”, endless emails, errands around the house, trying to socialise with friends… while also striving to stay sane and finding time to be healthy.
Our lives are crazy busy to the degree that it almost feels weird to have free time. Some of us even feel guilty or restless when that happens. But don’t let your nervous system, which might be addicted to stress, make you want to run around like a headless chicken. We get you! We’ve been there, but we’ve also fallen in love with feeling peaceful (and the concept of #selfcaresunday – check out our Instagram for tips on those). The good news is that it’s all reversible and you too can find the balance!
Sympathetic vs parasympathetic nervous system
You must have heard these terms – sympathetic vs. parasympathetic nervous system. The one where you’re rushing around and feeling mostly stressed or overly energised, and the other one where you breathe more slowly and have time to digest your food and your thoughts.
Fight or flight
You know when your “fight or flight system” is on when you feel very tense, you grind your teeth, you breathe in a more shallow way and at some point it feels like one more unexpected phone call and you’ll start crying uncontrollably.
The sympathetic nervous system is an automatic physiological reaction to an event that is perceived as stressful or frightening. It’s something we’ve inherited from our ancestors that helps us survive unexpected attacks (like a tiger running towards us, or a volcano erupting nearby that we need to escape from). It can be helpful in small doses (because we stay more focussed and get things done), but if we are habitually in that state, that can lead to burnout, anxiety disorders and panic attacks.
Rest and digest
The “parasympathetic nervous system” on the other hand is when you feel more zen and relaxed. This system helps the body get into a neutral position when stressed. Your heart rate drops, your pupils constrict, and your muscles relax.
Your body begins to repair itself, your energy becomes conserved, and your digestion improves. Needless to say, this is the place where you want to be. It’s healthier for your body, you stay younger for longer and you’re much more pleasant to be around.
You can enter this system by taking deep breaths in, listening to calming music, lighting a candle, taking a shower or bath, or going for a calming walk. We’re sure you understand which system is better for you!
When you’re tempted to go, go, go
If you are a career person and your main objective right now is to do well, you might be tempted to do “shortcuts” such as skipping your breaks, doing longer hours to get more things done, working over the weekends to progress quicker…
As great as the prospect of succeeding in your work might be, the effects of too much rushing around might take a toll on your mental and physical health.
For example, Zoom fatigue has become a thing during the pandemic – given how many conference calls people have been having a day – staring at multiple little screens and trying to keep track of everything that’s been said.
You might also be experiencing stiffness in different parts of your body, incorrect posture, back pain, aching neck and so many other little signs of overworking. Make sure to check our post where we talk about beating the Zoom fatigue, combatting back pain and improving your posture in more detail.
Stretching is the solution when you need to slow down
If you want to enter the parasympathetic mode more often, and also enjoy these added benefits:
- Become more flexible
- Get to the splits
- Do the fancy yoga poses
- Dance better (yes, you become more elegant when you stretch ofen)
- Have a better posture
- Reduce back ache, stiff shoulders and neck
Then here is your answer – start stretching!
You don’t need fancy Lululemon yoga pants, incense, spiritual music or expensive props (although all of these are very welcome if you have them on hand). All you need to do is put on some comfy clothes and do a couple of simple but highly effective stretches.
You’re too busy, but you find time for Netflix?
We don’t mean to be mean, but if you think about it, an episode of Friends is about 25 min, times… however many episodes you watch. You might say you’re too busy to exercise, but you find time for TV series?
During that time you could easily fit a quick HIIT session, although if you’re trying to destress from your over-stimulated nervous system, you might be better off doing something slower instead.
We encourage you to dedicate 20-60 min a day to stretching and switching off from the external world, but if you really, really want to multitask when you’re so busy, you can stretch while:
- Watching Netflix
- Listening to a podcast
- Going through your emails
- Listening to your voice notes
- Watching your favourite YouTuber
- Waiting for the food do cook
Try these 10 stretching exercises – if all you can manage is 30 sec per exercise per side, that’s 10 x 0.5 min x 2 = 10 minutes! Half an episode of Friends. If you add a few breaks between these to change sides, it will take no longer than 15 minutes.
We do, however, believe that if you’re able to spend slightly more time, it will only help you become more flexible!
Stretching classes - how we got to where we are now
If you’re new to our website, you probably wonder why we talk about stretching so much. We are in fact a virtual flexibility studio. We offer daily stretching classes – live, on-demand and replay.
Following the growing global fitness trend for stretching classes in cities such as LA, New York, and Moscow, we were inspired to launch Good Stretch in London and we’ve been fortunate to reach a global audience. We managed to open our first studio early 2020 and had to cancel the opening of our second studio as the lockdown started in March. We quickly switched to virtual offering and we’ve been offering daily live stretching classes via Zoom, replay classes and classes on-demand ever since.
The idea for Good Stretch came from the frustration that, although there’s an abundance of yoga and pilates classes in London, there are very few professional studios that specialise in providing flexibility training through stretching. Having experienced the popularity of stretching classes in other parts of the world, nothing beats that great feeling and self-confidence boost after a good stretch. We wanted to give more people the opportunity to get that feeling too. When you’re stretching, not only are you working on your muscles, but you’re also calming your mind, taking away stiffness, and getting a release of endorphins which makes you feel better when you leave class.
With the rapid increase in online virtual sessions taking the internet by storm, we make sure our sessions are like no other in terms of flexibility and fun! It’s new, innovative and artistically simple.
We launched On-Demand sessions specifically for this purpose, so people can access the stretching sessions at a time that is convenient to fit into their schedule when they choose.
We’d love to see you in our classes!
We’re on a mission to stretch the nation and every single person who gives this form of exercise a try, deserves our undivided attention!
Our stretching classes are 30 – 50 min long, starting with warm up followed by trainer-assisted deep stretching. You will go through a variety of stretches and hold them for 1-2 minutes. During the stretches, our trainer will guide you into a deeper stretch to increase the range of motion in your joints and reduce muscle tightness.
Here is how you can get involved:
- Try our 7- day free trial – access all our weekly classes and attend as many live and replay sessions as you want to
- Special offer – if you’re ready to commit, why don’t you purchase one of our memberships? We have a variety of clases from Full Body Stretch, to Stretch for Desk Workers and even Barre & Stretch fusion. We during the next 3 months we offer 50% off to ALL MEMBERSHIPS (for new sign ups)
Looking forward to seeing you on the mat!