Move Your Body: Stretching for Beginners

We all know that one of the most important parts of self-care is moving our bodies. So this week I want to talk about the challenges of exercise when struggling with PTSD as well as a beginner stretch routine to help you take baby steps towards better self-care.

Motivation is Hard When You’re Depressed

Most of us have been told, if you exercise it will help you with your depression. Which is true, exercise does get all the right hormones pumping all the feel good stuff. Thing is, when I am depressed, the last thing I want to do is get up and get active.

Even when I know it is the right thing to do.

This has been one of my biggest struggles as well as something that is one my monthly goals every month because it is so important.

I am proud to say I have been slowly working body movement into my daily routine, and I have started with beginner stretches.

That’s it, about 10 minutes of stretching each morning. It connects me to my breathing and my body in those moments, and it is helping keep my more active that simply sitting on the couch.


The Benefits of Stretching

There are a number of benefits to stretching, some of them include:

  • Better flexibility
  • It keeps joints active with full rage of motion
  • It decreases your risk of injury
  • It improves your overall physical performance
  • It focuses your breathing
  • It connects you to your body.

Things to Consider When You Stretch

Make sure you stretch safely. Which means understanding the limits of your body and if need be, researching movements specific to your own physical needs. Always try to warm your body up a little as you begin to stretch your muscles, listen to what your body is telling you.

Focus on major muscle groups: arms, shoulders, back, calves, etc and be sure to stretch both sides of your body equally.

Stretch using smooth body movements. Never bounce your body into a stretch, you could risk injuring yourself. Instead move slowly and smoothly into each stretching position for optimal results.

Hold it and breathe. Try to hold each stretch while breathing deeply and steadily to the count of 30 on each side of your body.

It shouldn’t hurt. If you fell pain in the muscle you are concentrating on, back off a little bit – you are pushing to hard. Stretching should never hurt.

Be consistent. The best results both physical and mental, come from consistency. Try to set a time and certain days a week that you will stretch your body and hold yourself accountable to that schedule.


My Routine

Every morning before my family rises (with the exception of the days my kid wakes me up) I spend 7-10 minutes stretching my legs, arms, shoulders, and back. I finish up with a couple head rolls.

I don’t do much, and I have aspirations to do more – but for now this is working for me and I am sticking to it. The best plans are the ones we can stick with and feel accomplished because of, which is why I say start small.

Go For It!

Self-care doesn’t have to be difficult. Moving your body doesn’t have to be a chore. Give yourself at least 10 minutes a day – you deserve it!!

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