There's no getting around it. Even if you love what you do, work can still be stressful. Whether it’s dealing with your crazy boss and her even crazier demands, or just finding enough time in the day to get everything done, we all feel our shoulders and chest tightening up sometimes. I absolutely love my work at Alder New York, but if anything, sometimes that make it even more stressful, because I want to do such a good job.
But the good news is there are things you can do to relieve that tension. And the great news is that you will actually be better at your job if you’re calm and clearheaded. So even though some of these tips may take ten minutes out of your already tight workday, it is so worth it for the better work you will be doing after.
Focus on Those Deep Breaths
This one may seem obvious, but it's actually the first thing we forget when we're stressed out. When you're stressed, your body naturally gets into the fight-or-flight-rhythm that is super helpful when you’re running from a bear, but less helpful when you’re working on long-term corporate strategy. By focusing on long, slow, deep breaths, you give your brain some much needed oxygen and break the fight-or-flight cycle, giving your brain and body a chance to calm back down.
Aromatherapy is Your Friend
There is hard science to back the healing effect certain scents can have on our brains. So give yourself an emotional recharge with a quick dab of your favorite essential oil or fragrance. I am a huge fan of Palermo’s aromatherapy oils, which come in travel friendly roll-ons that you can take out from under your desk and discreetly apply. Go with Tranquility which is specifically formulated with essential oils and absolutes that calm nerves. Apply to your pressure points or under your nose and breath the scent in slowly for a round of eight to ten slow breaths. When you get back to your work project, you'll be blown away at your new found calm and focus.
Meditate Your Way to Productivity
While meditation may seem like way too much of a time commitment when you’re in the middle of work, even adding just ten minutes a day is beneficial. I love using an app like Headspace, which allots ten minutes per session, to help me stick to it. Plan to add it to the tail end of your lunch break, or just plan to do it the minute you feel yourself tightening up in response to work stress. Studies show that you actually perform better after you've given your brain that mental down-time, in addition to feeling greater happiness at work.
Stretchy Stretch Stretch
There's nothing better than a good morning yoga class to clear the mental cobwebs, right? But even if that's just not going to happen with your schedule, you can still get some great benefits from a few quick, not-crazy looking stretches at your desk. No, I'm not advocating that you get into downward dog in the workplace. But just a few rotations of your neck or a couple shoulder stretches can really help to relieve tension, and you won't look crazy doing it.
Take a Hike
If you couldn't tell by now, I'm a huge fan of taking a ten minute break from your computer. When it's nice out, use a ten minute break to do a quick walk around the block, or if it's crappy out or there's nothing scenic outside, just put on your headphones and listen to music while you stroll the hallways and let your mind wander. Just giving your brain and body a break from the routine will actually leave you feeling more equipped to get back to the task at hand.