It’s inevitable, some would say, to experience some level of stress at work, or in your work. In fact, it’s important for us to experience stress to a certain extent in our lives as long as it’s balanced with times of deep relaxation and comfort regularly.
There are a lot of studies about the impact of stress at work and on peoples lives and we know for a fact that prolonged stress can often cause more severe health concerns for us physically and mentally over time. Despite knowing this managing stress in our lives is actually quite hard, and particularly because we often feel that we are unable to control the stressors that enter our daily and most importantly work lives.
I know myself that I experience stress almost daily in my work life, and whilst sometimes it really impacts me in what I do and how I am feeling there are other times where I am able to recognise it for what it is and implement these quick fixes to help me feel instantly better.
1. Take a deep breath. The yogi in me always comes back to this. It is the easiest way to bring yourself back to the present moment particularly in times of self doubt, when you’ve just realised you’ve forgotten to do something that you had promised the day before or even in times when you’ve got an unhappy customer or client in front of you (or on the phone). Taking one slow breath all the way into the diaphragm helps us to massage our vagus nerve which is connected to our parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation).
2. Take a minute or two to get a drink (preferably not caffeine), go to the bathroom or go for a quick walk. When we perceive or experience a fight or flight reaction our body sends a rush of adrenaline into our body, you may even notice the reaction to it by becoming a little shaky, maybe you feel hot or sweaty all of a sudden or short of breath. This is your bodies physical reaction to stress and what we too often do, especially when we’re at work, is that we try to ignore the feeling of stress rather than allowing our bodies to experience the sensations to then move on. If we don’t let them happen and pass we end up storing this nervous, or anxious energy within our bodies somewhere, often causing digestive issues, tight muscles, sore neck or jaw and even we can even hold on to those emotions meaning that our recovery and ability to move on in our day. Getting up and taking a brisk walk to the water cooler, the bathroom or and perhaps even taking a deep breath when you get there (see point one above) can help us to release that energy instantly, and enable us to move forward and refocus on the next task at hand.
3. Allow yourself 5 minutes at the end of every day to decompress. This may not seem like much, but often 5 minutes in silence, even if it’s thinking over the day and then finishing by focusing on one thing that you are grateful for that day, allows us to compartmentalise what we have experienced and return ourselves to the present moment through practicing gratitude. You may be grateful for the fact that you made it through that day at work, that you had the strength to carry on when you had a bad experience or perhaps for the fact that you now get to go home or go to a yoga class or maybe you’re grateful for your work because it helps you to pay for your upcoming yoga retreat (if you want some inspiration look HERE). There is no better feeling than knowing that part of your day, or experience in your life is over and replacing that with gratitude is a sure way to help you to de-stress and relax.