5 Stress-Busting Exercises You Can Do Absolutely Anywhere


Don’t lose your mind traveling for the holidays. (Photo: iStock)

This story is part of a new Yahoo Travel series, #StressFreeTravel, dedicated to making travel better in every way possible.

The holidays are supposed to be fun, but getting to where you’re going and dealing with family politics once you’re there can be super stressful. Don’t worry, Yahoo Travel talked to psychologist Julie Pike, to get some ridiculously quick and simple exercises you can do anytime, anywhere to distress and get calm instantly.

The Seat Pull


Use this one when stressing out on a road trip. (Photo: Thinkstock)

Use it: Anywhere you can sit down — the car (as long as you’re not driving!), the airport, the mall, etc.

To do: Hold on to the bottom of your seat (so that your arms are next to knees) and pull straight up and back as hard and long as you can. Do three or four in a row and can do throughout the flight.

How it works: The action of pulling and then letting go causes your brain to release feel good chemicals like endorphins. “That calms you,” says Pike.

Related: How to Survive Stressful Holiday Travel (Without Killing Anyone)

The Belly Breath

Use it: Anywhere, anytime. It’s pretty inconspicuous.

To do: Put your palm over your lower belly. Breathe in through your nose really deeply and hold for four to six seconds and then breath out through mouth. Do this in sets of 10.

Why it works: “Deep breaths signal to your brain that you’re slowing things down” and takes the edge off, says Pike.

The Wall Stretch


Photo: Thinkstock

Use it: Anywhere that you can stand near a wall. Any wall will do — next to the Christmas tree at your Aunt Mary’s, or you can even use it on a plane near the bathrooms or crew area.

To do: Put your arm up and out to the side at shoulder height, and place your palm flat on the wall (so your wrist is flexed). Now try to raise just your middle finger back towards you. Do this for 45 seconds, but don’t pull too hard because get pretty deep stretch.

How it works: “There’s a tendon that runs and impacts length of the arm, shoulder, and neck and this exercise will stretch it and relax it surprisingly well,” says Pike.

Related: Air Rage: Why Does Flying Make People So Crazy?

The Armrest Push


Photo: Thinkstock

Use it: Anywhere there’s a seat with arm rests — whether that’s on a plane or train or even at a family dinner.

To do: Sit down and put your arms inside of the seat’s armrests. Push outward as hard as you can and hold for as long as you can. As you’re doing this, breathe in through your nose out through your mouth. Do this three or four times in a row.

Why it works: It’s those endorphins again, says Pike.

The Power Pose


Photo: Thinkstock

Use it: Anywhere — not props needed.

To do: Put yourself in a power pose: Stand or sit up extremely straight and put your hands on your hips. Hold this pose for 10 seconds.

How it works: “The position in which you put your body affects brain chemistry and can change your mood,” says Pike. “This will actually make you feel more confident” and in control.

Related: The Secret Weapon for Beating Holiday Travel Stress

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