How to beat stress at your desk.
How to beat stress at your desk.
It’s normal to have the occasional stressful moment at work; be it a looming deadline, an unexpected meeting, or an urgent request from your boss. For the days that are more likely to make you fret, we’ve compiled four handy tips for you to keep on standby.
Essential oils such as lavender and chamomile are most commonly used for pre-bedtime relaxation, but multiple scientific studies suggest that these aromas also relax your central nervous system, and can quickly alleviate general symptoms of stress and anxiety. If your work environment doesn't allow for fragranced candles or diffusers, you can still use try out these scents when stress strikes by applying a lavender roller ball on your pulse points, or using a chamomile hand cream. Alternatively, you can also make your own scented balm quickly at home by mixing a few drops of lavender essential oil with a spoonful of coconut oil.
Control your breathing.
Don't forget to breathe! There are a number of quick breathing exercises you can use refocus your mind and relax. Alternate nostril breathing was recently brought into the spotlight by Hillary Clinton, who uses this yoga-inspired technique as an anti-anxiety ritual. Put simply, this trick alternates the flow of oxygen between the right and left side of the brain, which is thought to relieve stress and calm the mind. The easiest way to do this is to cover alternate nostrils, breathing through one, and out of the other in alternate directions.
If this looks a little too unusual at your desk, try the Dr Andrew Weil's 4-7-8 method. Another yogic breathing exercise, it's designed to send you to sleep, but has been shown to equally work wonders on anger and stress levels. Simply breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds.
Make use of your headphones.
In an open plan environment, it's easy to be distracted your colleagues, even above the noise of your favourite playlist. Recent reports suggest that an increasing number of us suffer from misophonia - aggression caused by noises such as typing, chewing, or loud phone conversations. To conquer this, try listening to brown noise. Deeper than white noise, brown noise contains all frequencies audible to humans, so it blocks out all distracting audio and helps you to induce a calm, focused state of mind.
If this isn’t for you, why not give yourself a moment to meditate? Apps such as Headspace and Calm feature guided meditations, which can also be used both before and after work to help naturally reduce your overall stress levels.
Limit your caffeine intake.
As tempting as it is to reach for a coffee when you're tired or stressed out, caffeine can mimic the effects of stress and anxiety, such as increased heart rate, nausea, and - when you're sat still at a desk - strong feelings of restlessness. If you've already had a mug too many, help your body flush away caffeine by drinking plenty of water, and stick to non-caffeinated herbal or fruit teas. Don't forget that even if you're not a coffee drinker, plenty of healthy drinks and snacks often contain caffeine, including green tea, dark chocolate, protein bars, and diet energy drinks.
Remember, if you find stress and anxiety affecting your daily life, always seek professional advice from a registered medical practitioner.