At least 15 unanswered emails? ‘Always’ running late for appointments? Demanding customers on the phone? Feeling like an office zombie? Deadlines? Your boss being a boss?
Thinking you urgently need a holiday or change, or both?
Trust me, I know what it feels like, I was there!
When you’re stressed at work, a two-hour deep tissue massage is by far the most effective. A nice and relaxing yoga flow sequence is also a good idea. But alas, for most of us, a massage is not really a feasible corporate expense. Changing into tank top and legging and rolling out your mat in the middle of the office? Well…, maybe not the best option either.
On those days, where your upper back aches from being hunched over your computer all day with your shoulders in your ears, your lower body stiffens from sitting in that office chair all day and your head aching from your screen and the sheer number of tasks you still have to do. When you’re tired, cranky and, well, to put it mildly, seriously stressed out? Well, exactly for those days I have written down 5 tips that work instantly for relieving stress. From my own experience as a manager, coach, yoga teacher and research. Nobody will see you doing it, everyone will notice the difference.
Tip 1: Stop and take a deep breath.
I know, not exactly rocket science, but we just don’t do enough of it. This not only helps calm you down, but it also prevents you from saying something you might regret. The higher your breathing (chest) is situated, the easier we get stressed so gently start lowering your breathing towards your belly. Breath in, belly goes out, breath out, navel to the spine. Placing your hands on your belly might work very well to guide you.
Tip 2: Take a break.
When you’re so plugged into your work and the endless items on your to-do list, it can be hard to remember to check in with yourself. Build in five minute breaks between meetings and tasks at least three times today. It’s imperative to make these breaks part of your schedule, just as you would a conference call or a presentation.
Without a break, you will be less productive, so if there’s a boss around, just tell him or her, you’re working on your productivity whilst making tea. Those emails will still be there in 5 minutes, but your sanity may not …, so go for that short break!
I used to make myself a cup of tea at least 5 times a day, funny thing is that it wasn’t about the tea itself! I usually even forgot my cup in the kitchen so didn’t even drink the tea… It was all about the making of it, very mindfully, as I was defusing a nuclear bomb, but it would distract me completely from the pending to do list.
Tip 3: Be present and reflect
The best way to do this is to first acknowledge that you’re stressed, in order to release negative, stressful thoughts. Look at yourself from a third person perspective and ask: What is it that makes <your name> so stressed or angry?
More the visual type? Picture a huge red stop sign and silently say: “Stop!”
Tip 4: Silently repeat and keep repeating
Inhale slowly. As you exhale, silently say a word, phrase or mantra (like peace, calm or relax). Do this for just one minute, set your alarm. If you have curious co-workers in the neighborhood, just pretend to look at one of the most challenging graphs ever on your computer whilst you’re looking at a picture of your last holiday…
Tip 5: Gaze gently at something you like.
Look at a picture of your family, pet or a vacation spot you love, use it as a screensaver or post it on the desktop. Just gaze at it.
Remember the good feelings you had during this holiday, how grateful you are that you know and may love this person or pet. Allow yourself to even smile…
At work, you are bound to experience unpredictable moments of stress that don’t fit in neatly into your schedule. That’s because stress is a normal response to our workday disasters, it’s actually your brain telling you that things aren’t quite right.
With these 5 tips, you can actively take control again and remind yourself that you are in control of your brain, no matter what.
I invite you to share your thoughts here below.
What are you tips for relieving stress at work? What works for you? What doesn’t? Let’s Learn from each other and Relax just a little bit more at work.
Just drop your comment here below, and share this blog post if you like it!