When I first learned to run, we were all encouraged to warm up and cool down with a few stretches. I’ve kept that habit, and not just for fitness. I find it helps me get focused before I start work. It doesn’t really matter what sort you do: it’s a gentle movement that gives you a beginning and end to activities. For example, I frequently use the Pomodoro technique to write in chunks. When I get my five-minute break, I take one of those moments to stretch my fingers and then wiggle them.
This article by Kate Bratskelr talks about how stretching can help your mental health. She quotes Kelvin Gary, a fitness expert, who says “Stretching can keep you balanced. (…) (It) can help you keep better posture and alignment in your spine. It helps you feel physically better, which, in turn, keeps you from getting into a degraded mental space.”
Bratskelr also talks about how different kinds of stretches help the mind and body connect, and there are links and examples of good stretches to try. Here’s a link to a another guide for three uncomplicated poses: cow stretch, cat stretch and side angle.
Recently I did a workshop on energizers: my favourite is to spacewalk like an astronaut. It’s surprisingly effective and loads of fun. The slow movements help you to lengthen your muscles that may have gotten tight while sitting and the emphasis on slow movements reminds you not to rush. Go on now, have a stretch and reconnect.