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  • Writer's pictureDr. Cindy Kelly

Wellness Activities for Workplace Relief

Updated: May 31

To promote good mental and physical health:

  • Take Regular Breaks: Get up and move around every 30 minutes to avoid prolonged sitting. Trying stretching while at the desk.

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to maintain energy and focus.

  • Deep Breathing: Take a few minutes to practice deep breathing exercises to calm your mind and reduce stress.

It is very important to find time to exercise and stretch regularly. Exercise reduces stress and invigorates the mind. Whether you are seeking high intensity or low, the gym, home or outdoor activities here are some activities to help you alleviate stress and improve your overall well-being:

Office Exercises

Desk Exercises

  • Seated Leg Raises

    • Sit up straight and extend one leg until it is level with your hip.

    • Hold for a few seconds, then lower it slowly.

    • Repeat 10-15 times on each leg.

  • Seated Marches

    • Sit with your back straight.

    • Lift one knee towards your chest, then lower it and repeat with the other knee.

    • Do this in a marching motion for 1-2 minutes.

  • Seated Torso Twists

    • Sit with your back straight.

    • Place your hands behind your head.

    • Twist your torso to the right as far as comfortable, hold for a few seconds, then twist to the left.

    • Repeat 10-15 times on each side.

Standing Exercises

  • Calf Raises

    • Stand behind your chair, holding the back for support.

    • Lift your heels off the ground and rise onto your toes.

    • Hold for a few seconds, then lower back down.

    • Repeat 15-20 times.

  • Standing Leg Curls

    • Stand behind your chair, holding the back for support.

    • Bend one knee and bring your heel towards your buttocks.

    • Hold for a few seconds, then lower the leg.

    • Repeat 15-20 times on each leg.

  • Chair Squats

    • Stand in front of your chair with feet shoulder-width apart.

    • Lower your body as if you’re going to sit down, but don’t actually sit.

    • Stand back up just before you touch the chair.

    • Repeat 15-20 times.

Stretching Exercises

  • Neck Stretches

    • Slowly tilt your head to the right, bringing your ear towards your shoulder.

    • Hold for 10-15 seconds, then switch sides.

    • Repeat 2-3 times on each side.

  • Shoulder Shrugs

    • Raise your shoulders towards your ears as high as you can.

    • Hold for a few seconds, then release.

    • Repeat 10-15 times.

  • Wrist Stretches

    • Extend one arm in front of you, palm up.

    • Use your other hand to gently pull your fingers back towards your body.

    • Hold for 10-15 seconds, then switch hands.

    • Repeat 2-3 times on each hand.

Mobility and Flexibility Exercises

  • Ankle Rotations

  • While seated, lift one foot off the ground.

  • Rotate your ankle in circles, first clockwise, then counterclockwise.

  • Repeat 10 times in each direction, then switch feet.

  • Seated Cat-Cow Stretch

    • Sit with your feet flat on the floor.

    • Place your hands on your knees.

    • Arch your back and look up towards the ceiling (Cow pose).

    • Then round your back and tuck your chin to your chest (Cat pose).

    • Repeat 10 times.

  • Hamstring Stretch

    • Stand up and place one foot on your chair or desk.

    • Keep your leg straight and bend forward slightly from the hips.

    • Hold for 15-30 seconds, then switch legs.

    • Repeat 2-3 times on each leg.


GYM / Home Exercises

Yoga and Pilates:

These mind-body practices combine physical postures with controlled breathing and meditation techniques, promoting flexibility, relaxation, and stress reduction.

High Intensity (HIIT):

HIIT workouts involve short bursts of intense exercise followed by brief recovery periods. This type of training can reduce stress and anxiety, boost mood, and improve sleep. Modify intensity levels to suit your fitness level.

Strength Training:

Lifting weights or using resistance machines builds muscle and strength, releases endorphins (the body's natural mood boosters), and increases self-confidence. Start with lighter weights and gradually increase as you get stronger.

Cardiovascular Exercise:

Activities like running, swimming, cycling, or using the elliptical machine get your heart rate up and pump oxygen to your brain, helping to clear your mind and reduce stress. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio most days of the week.

Group Fitness Classes:

Joining a group fitness class like Zumba, kickboxing, or dance can be a fun and social way to relieve stress. The music, energy, and camaraderie can lift your spirits and take your mind off work worries.

Boxing or Martial Arts:

These activities provide a healthy outlet for aggression and frustration while also improving fitness and coordination. The focus required can help you clear your head and leave your worries behind.

Specifically for 50+:

Water Aerobics:

This low-impact exercise is gentle on joints while still providing a great cardio workout. It's a fun way to stay cool and refreshed while reducing stress and improving flexibility.

Tai Chi or Qigong:

These ancient practices combine slow, flowing movements with deep breathing and meditation, promoting relaxation, balance, and stress reduction.

Chair Yoga or Pilates:

These modified versions of yoga and Pilates are ideal for those with mobility issues or those who prefer a gentler workout. They offer many of the same benefits as traditional yoga and Pilates, including stress reduction, improved flexibility, and increased strength.

Tips for Maximizing Stress Relief:

  • Choose activities you enjoy: The more you enjoy the activity, the more likely you are to stick with it and reap the benefits.

  • Set realistic goals: Start slowly and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workouts.

  • Listen to your body: Don't push yourself too hard, especially when you're feeling stressed.

  • Consult your doctor: Before starting any new exercise program, it's always a good idea to consult with your doctor, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.


The key is to find activities that you enjoy, fit into your schedule, and are appropriate for your fitness level and age. By incorporating regular exercise into your routine, you can effectively manage stress, improve your overall well-being, and ultimately enhance your work performance.

Cindy Kelly PhD, MBA, BCC

Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, Board Certified Coach

Genesis Professional Services

Phone: 770-704-6701

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