Stress can be a killer and our modern lifestyle often results in a build-up of it. We all have times when we’re fortunate enough to have time for a walk in the fresh air, a trip to the gym, or even a holiday, but for many, days go by without slowing down enough to reset our bodies. Sometimes it may even be hard to remember what it feels like to feel calm.
For many people, the workplace is a big contributor towards stress and some also turn to alcohol or food to cope. While this may offer some temporary respite, it can lead to anxiety, depression and even addiction over time.
Healthy ways of dealing with stress usually involve getting more exercise, eating more healthily, and getting enough sleep. However, workplace stress often needs to be dealt with there and then. As you can’t always go for a run or have a sleep at work, here are four stress-busting things you can do at your desk to help overcome stress at work.
It sounds cliched, but we often forget to breathe deeply. Your mind, body, and breath are connected, and breathing regulates your nervous system. When you don’t breathe deeply enough, stress signals are sent to your brain and thinking stressful thoughts or feeling stress triggers the body’s ancient fight-or-flight response. A by-product of the fight-or-flight response is shallow, rapid breathing. It’s important to notice your breathing throughout your day as this will help prevent the stress response.
Try it: Take a deep breath. Fill up the lungs with air, feeling almost as if the air is in your stomach. Do this at least three times and notice how you feel.
Listen to music
When we get a minute, many of us read or watch the news. A side-effect of this is that we hear about all the negative things happening in the world. This can often wreak havok with our ability to think positively. When this happens, our stress levels can climb even higher, so it’s important to try and break this pattern. One of the ways to do this is by listening to music. Music can help shift your mood and therefore reduce your stress levels.
Try it: Take a music break! Plug in your headphones and listen to any music you find soothing.
Make a phone call
Connecting with those we are close to can be a great way to calm the nervous system. We are wired for interaction. Thinking about young babies – a carer’s presence, touch, and voice are often all that are needed to calm a crying baby. Adults can get the same effect from a close friend or partner.
Try it: Take a break and call someone you feel calm around. A quick hello and a chat can refocus your mind and help to banish stress. If you’re not able to make a phone call, talking with a co-worker can often bring about similar benefits.
Practice feeling grateful
Gratitude is good for the mind and body and it’s something we focus on in yoga a lot. Thinking about why you feel grateful rather than why you feel stressed is a great way to shift your perspective. This is simple to do and can be done anywhere, anytime. If you have trouble focusing on gratitude, try thinking about what life would be like without certain people or privileges in it.
Try it: List 3-5 things you’re grateful for and do this as often as you need to. It’s a great way to shift your mindset! You could even try writing these things on paper and putting them in a jar to open when you feel stressed.
Remember to take a break
While these ideas can help you overcome workplace stress, it’s also important to make sure you take breaks throughout your working day. Even more important, try to make late finishes the exception rather than the rule. This will help you maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle outside of work, something which is very important when it comes to overcoming stress.
Need help with stress?
If you would like an extra helping hand, we provide therapeutic yoga and hypnotherapy for stress. Contact us to see how we can help.