3 Simple Stress Reducing Techniques You Can Do at Work
As more businesses open up and more staff return to work we wanted to highlight some really simple stress reducing techniques that can help regulate your response to stress and stop it having a long term effect on your body.
Stress levels have been higher than normal due to the pandemic. Concern about the virus, separation from loved ones and worry about jobs and finances. All this can have an effect on our emotional and physical wellbeing. The osteopaths at Osteopathy For All in East Hoathly all have additional training in the effects of stress and chronic pain and these are some of the tools we recommend from our self-care toolkits.
Focused Relaxation Breathing
This is a very effective breathing technique that you can do at your desk. Firstly find a word, or phrase, that is calming for you. This might be ‘peace’, or ‘relax’ or ‘calm’. Then sit comfortably and concentrate on your breath. As you breathe in feel the air as it flows in to your nose. Focus on it; the temperature and how it feels on your upper lip or nostrils. Then when you breathe out say your chosen word to yourself in your head for the whole of the out breath. Continue this pattern for a couple of minutes until you start to feel more settled and relaxed.
The effect of this technique is three- fold. It increases the oxygen in the blood stream and brain – hopefully making you more productive. It balances the autonomic nervous system and calms the fight/flight response and it also calms your thoughts as you have to focus on the present moment. When your thoughts start to spiral it is easy to start to catastrophize which elevates the stress response even further.
This is another simple technique that can help to prevent your thoughts getting the better of you. When stressed our thoughts can be less organised and become overwhelming. A really simple way to help is rationalised journaling.
This is a place to sort out your worries big or small. It could be anything from how am I going to manage with the kids not at school to what are we going to eat tonight or even to what happens if I get the virus.
Take an A4 piece of paper and draw a line down the middle top to bottom. In the left hand column write your worry and in the right hand column write what you can do about it. In the example with the children you might find a solution such as doing a swop for childcare with another family. When you put the problem and a possible solution on paper it stops it spinning round unhelpfully in your head and this decreases your stress levels. However, some problems are not so easy to solve. Attempting to rationalise them helps but if you identify that something that is completely outside your control then try to breathe and let it go.
Reconnect with your body
When you get stressed it can leave you feeling less grounded, a bit ‘stuck in your head’ and disconnected from your body. This is not the most relaxed state to be in but there are some really simple ways to reconnect with your body. If you are stuck at your desk you can visualise growing roots from your feet. Imagine that these roots go deep into the floor and this can really connect you to your body and bring you down out of your head.
Another way to reconnect with your body is to move. It doesn’t really matter how – unless someone is watching! Walk round the block at lunchtime, dance to the radio or set up some office Tai Chi. Move how it suits you and this will help your body reduce the tension produced by the fight/flight stress response.
If you are experiencing the effects of stress which include tension, stiffness, increased pain levels, headache and even digestive upset, and you can’t shift them by moving or relaxation then gentle hands-on osteopathy may help. We can also offer many self-care techniques to help you manage the effects of stress at home or at work.
If you would like more information please contact Osteopathy For All on 01825 840582