10 Quick Ways to Relieve Stress During Your Workday!
Here’s a quick list to try throughout your day:
- Deepen and lengthen your breath. Allow your belly to expand on the inhale. Try at least 5 counts on the Inhale (“Inhale 1, 2, 3, 4, 5”) and 7 counts on the Exhale (“Exhale 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). Do this for 5 breaths (roughly a minute), every hour. Set an outlook reminder.
- Get up and move your body. Shake, shimmey, convulse, dance, hop up and down… do something that moves your entire body and shifts your energy. Just 1-2 minutes and you’ll start feeling a shift.
- Talk to your stress monster (the one that spins stories of how you’ll never get it done, or won’t do it well, or always make a mistake, or have to prove yourself, or have to make yourself important…). Ask your stress monster what he or she is bringing to this experience that is helpful. If anything feels helpful, keep it. Get rid of everything else. Just let it go, or file it away in a drawer.
- Find a helpful thought and stick with it. This may be something you know to be true about yourself (“I am strong”), something you know to be true about the world (“There are starving children in Africa”), something that makes you relax (“green grass”), something that inspires you (a person or a quotation or a word), or anything that is helpful to your state of being. Repeat it like a mantra throughout the day.
- Drink more water. Feeling hydrated can help us not crave food that dulls and slows us down. And it can boost our energy level in a non-caffeinated way. Plus, a trip to the water cooler every hour is a great way to get up and move your body- extra credit if you skip there!
- Listen to music that is soothing and positive. Let it play in the background as you work. Classical or ambient music is great because there aren’t words to sing along to, but find what works for you- Pandora or Spotify can be great to introduce new tunes that might introduce new moods.
- Laugh at something. We don’t necessarily recommend laughing at your boss or co-workers (though somedays…!), but find a website, blog or cartoon that cracks you up, and in less than a minute you can have a good laughing fit. When I was a lawyer, my favorite was www.damnyouautocorrect.com and now I’m a big fan of www.dogshaming.com If you have a tendency to spend more time than intended with these things, set a timer and let it gently guide you back to work. A minute an hour is a good ratio!
- Sit up tall. Change your posture to something that makes you feel powerful and strong and energized. As we slouch and lean in towards our computer, we are energetically conceding. Stack your shoulders over your hips, ears over shoulders, and find whatever pose allows your perspective to shift.
- Eat well. Think about your food as fuel, and then decide what grade fuel you want running the show. Would you put french fries in your car tank? The way we eat can have a profound effect on how we feel, and what levels of stress we can handle effectively. Have healthy snacks available through the day, and choose your meals wisely.
- Stop looking for the quick fix! Spend 5 minutes right now or this evening looking at BIG things that need to shift in your life— adding a meditation practice, a morning run, diet changes, a yoga practice, a weekly counseling or coaching session, or an evening bath… Then look at your list and ask what honestly holds you back (this is bigger than I don’t have enough time… we find time for what we prioritize. So, what is it that has you not making the time for your health and well-being?). When you see what holds you back, it can be easier to move forward. Then pick one, just one, and commit to it. Decide what you’ll need to say yes to in your life, and what you’ll need to say no to in your life, to make it happen. Write down your commitments. And make it happen.
Please comment with any additional stress-relieving tips you use in your life, or share your experiences with trying any of these!