No matter your profession, you may sometimes experience strained workplace situations or periods of time. As a fitness trainer, I believe that it’s important to strive for balance with your physical and mental health which includes reducing stress. But with our hectic everyday lives, it may feel like you don’t always have time to release that built-up tension. To help fit into your busy schedule, I’m sharing my guide of top 5 stress relievers that you can achieve in a matter of minutes!
Silence or Turn off Alerts
The #1 most important thing you can do to lower your stress level, while also increasing your productivity, is turn off all the notifications on your computer and personal devices. No more alerts, whether it is bing, ding, vibration or silent screen flash, turn them all off. Every time you are alerted, you place your body in a subtle state of instant fear.
The very idea of an alert is to awaken the nervous system, evoking fight or flight response in the hypothalamus part of our brain. This alarm initiates a sequence of nerve cell firing and hormonal release that prepares the body for running or fighting.
The bells and whistles going off on your computers and personal devices today is leaving your mind and body in a perpetual state of anxiety.
Additionally, a 2015 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, found that although people’s interactions were brief with their personal devices, social media, messages etc, their productivity went down astronomically. Even if they did not engage with the notification, a missed called or message caused the stream of thought to be disrupted, resulting in incorrect answers and moments of confusion. When we are kicked off our task at hand, stress is brought on as our mind struggles to get back to the task at hand.
Walking Lunch Break
Take a break and walk outside, you don’t have to go fast or get sweaty, just get up from your desk and move! The sheer act of leaving all your work behind, even for 10 minutes, will return you to your desk more refreshed.
2 Minute Mediations
Every hour on the hour, pause what you are doing, sit back comfortably in your chair, with your feet on the ground, close your eyes, and take 2 minutes to calm the fluctuations of your mind by meditating. Here in 2017 we have all heard about the endless studies proving that meditation relieves stress, anxiety, sleeplessness, and improves concentration and productivity. Well known studies are showing that even small bursts of mediation, especially if performed multiple times a day, can have the same benefits as longer 20-60 minute sessions.
If you are not sure how to meditate here are some helpful tools:
- Use an app. There are apps that provide guided mediations, talks and music.
- Find online mediations. There are free ones provided online.
- Less is more. Here is my simple go to:
- Sit comfortably
- Close your eyes
- Take a deep breath in through your nostrils for 5 counts
- Gently hold your breath for 2 counts
- Exhale out through your nostrils for 5 counts
- Continue for 2 plus minutes
Sip Tea and Ditch the Coffee
A cup of coffee can be a great way to get you up and at ‘em first thing in the morning, but when you drink more than that one cup it can start to stimulate your nervous system, increasing the stress response in your nervous system. Instead, try sipping on caffeinated tea through the day. Tea also has an added benefit over coffee, to make you more successful! L-Theanine helps your brain pay better attention, and theobromine & theophylline cross into the brain after consumption, causing a calming, focused, stimulant whereas coffee only provides the stimulant of caffeine.
Obviously, you are breathing if you are reading this. You are alive and therefore breathing. But, there is breathing to survive and there is breathing to live. Similarly, there is food that you eat to survive, but there is food that causes you to live vibrantly. Yogic breathing techniques have been used for thousands of years to calm the system, and modern studies have proven what the ancient sages know organically. Try this simple technique while seated at your desk, or while commuting to work- it magically both calms and enlivens you.
Ujjayi (pronounced oo-jai) Close your mouth and breath through your nostrils only. Take deep breaths in through the nostrils like you are inhaling the beautiful scent of rose. Now exhale through the nostrils while restricting the back of the throat, this makes a similar sound to Darth Vader’s breathing. Continue breathing like this for 2-10 minutes.
Vionic Innovation Lab member Juliet Kaska is one of the country’s leading fitness experts, celebrity trainers and fitness entrepreneurs.
Now that you feel great at work, make sure to look great as well. Check out how to wear fall trends in the office.