We all have those days. Even when you love your job, sometimes the stress just builds up and you have a hard time letting it go. Try these easy techniques to relax right at your desk. Each one only takes a few minutes. Or better yet, combine a few. They may not completely remove your problem but they will give you enough clarity to put those issues in perspective.
1. Breathe deeply
If you do yoga, you’re already familiar with the powerful impact focused breathing can have. Refocus your thoughts by using your abdomen while you breathe. You’re doing it correctly when you feel your abdomen expand as you inhale through your nose. Inhale slowly to the count of 7, then hold the breath for another 7 seconds and exhale slowly through your mouth to the count of 7. Counting helps distract you and forces you to focus just on your breathing. Repeat this cycle at least five times.
2. Energy Booster
Can’t wait to get home and take a nap? Get an energy boost instead. And I’m not talking about a caffeine jolt. Rub a small amount of an energizing balm on your pulse points – temples and wrists – for a quick pick-me-up. Better yet, after touching your pulse points, rub a little extra into the palms of your hands. Cup them around your nose and mouth and do the breathing exercise above. Some of my favorite soothing fragrances are lavender, orange/ginger and mint. Check The Body Shop, Origins or Bath and Body Works. All have stress relieving lotions.
3. Shoulder Scrunch
Our shoulders carry the brunt of our stress. Ever feel like they are so tight that they start right below your ears? Here’s how to drop them down. Purposely raise them as high and close to your ears as possible, squeezing them tight. Then all at once drop them down, releasing the tension. Repeat this 5 times.
The second thing that happens to our shoulders is that we tend to slump and round them forward as if we are really carrying that extra weight. Do this – pull your elbows and wrists together in front of you. Hold for 7 seconds. This will help stretch out those back muscles. Then keeping your arms raised about the same height, push them back toward your sides until your shoulder blades are almost touching. Repeat this 5 times. Now remember to sit and stand tall with your shoulders back and dropped down from your ears. It will help you carry that load!
4. Massage the Pain Away
Head throbbing? Shoulders tense? WebMD.com offers detailed massage tips you can easily do at your desk. Here’s one to relieve tired eyes – close your eyes and place your thumbs under your eyebrows, closest to the bridge of your nose. Gently apply pressure and move your thumbs in small circles around the outside of your eyes. End at your starting point. Repeat several times.
Check out the site for more quick self-massage tips to ease headaches, back pain and to help you relax.
5. Take a Break
When was the last time you left your desk to have lunch? Most of us eat at our desk, continuing to work, which only increases stress levels. Even if you bring your lunch to work, take a break and head outside for a walk, alone or with a friend. An increase in physical activity along with social interaction increases your sense of well-being. But try to leave the work discussion out of it.
If it’s not lunch time, and you feel stressed, simply step away, take a walk even if just down the hall. Stretch, breathe, just a change of environment can help empty your head a bit.
Action: Next time you feel stressed or overwhelmed, try a few of these exercises. How did they work? Comment below on other routines you use to quickly reduce stress.
Diane, The Midlife Woman’s Career Coach
Diane Howell Topkis is author of A to Z: 26 Keys to Unlock Career Change Success: for Midlife Women (Career Clarity Book 1), the first in her Career Clarity series. Diane works with midlife women to gain the clarity and confidence to reinvent or re-energize their career into meaningful work for their next chapter. Please visit www.YourNextChapterNOW