I don’t know about you, but I find short weeks to be a bit of a catch 22. I absolutely love the extra day off work, especially when it’s been busy, however the downside is in my line of work you then have to fit an extra days work into the remainder of the week. Short weeks are always busy at work and when it coincides with the start of the month, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stressed very quickly.
Fortunately, it’s not the end of the world and there are things we can do to relax and reset ourselves during these times to make it easier on our bodies and minds so that hopefully we don’t go home screaming at the end of the day. These are exercises I do when I’m feeling stressed at work or even anxious at home.
Remember To Breathe
Seems like such a weird sentence but it’s a sentence I’ve heard a lot over the last year. The simple fact is when we’re stressed and panicky, we subconsciously hold our breaths or breathe too quickly which inevitably sends us further downhill. When I’m particularly stressed I have a tendancy to let out big unnecessary sighs every few minutes, which is actually my body warning me that I’m not in a good way. Unfortunately, these sighs don’t help.
The trick is to breathe deeply. Stop what you are doing, sit up straight and place your hand on your tummy and breath deeply and slowly in through your nose and feel your tummy rise. Slowly release the breathe through your mouth and feel your tummy deflate. Do this for a few breaths until you feel calmer and ready to move on.
I work in a office and I spend the majority of my day sitting down in front of a computer, with very minimal movement. When I’m particularly busy I have a tenancy to not take breaks and just grab a bite to eat at my desk, but this is a bad idea. Our bodies thrive on movement and we’re not designed to spend the day sitting idle.
Get up and go for a short walk, to the cafeteria, outside, or even just walk around your workplace or house, the key is to give our minds a break and our bodies some relief. Do a few light stretches, raise your arms high above your head and bend to the left then right. Shrug your shoulders, just get away from what you’re doing for a few moments and move.
Take A Break
Maybe your job is very physical, or maybe you’re having a particularly busy day, rushing around running errands or doing housework, trying to fit the million things that need doing in a single day into a few short hours. Maybe you work in a office like me, but your brain is running in overdrive. This is when it’s so important to stop, even just for a few minutes.
Stop what you are doing, move away from it and sit down. Allow your mind to wander from the stresses of the day and have a wee daydream, or just think about something else for a while, distraction allows us a brief escape and often when we go back to our tasks we are refreshed with a second wind. Have a hot drink or a nice cool glass of water and take your time to enjoy it. We are advised to spend at least 15 minutes a day doing absolutely nothing and I personally feel there is no better advice out there.
Sitting in a stuffy office all day can do my head in at times and it’s amazing how much better I feel after a few minutes outside. If it’s a nice day enjoy it and sit in the sun for a while!
Listen to Music
None of this, listen to relaxing music, that’s not going to help if you don’t like it. Listen to music that you enjoy and makes you feel alive. If I’m having a rough day at work I like to put my headphones on for an hour or so while I work and it’s amazing how much more productive I get when I do this!
These tips will not take your stress away, but they will help you feel calmer and more ready to tackle the job at hand. I practise these regularly with a lot of success and I definitely handle stress a lot better than I used to. If you are still feeling overwhelmed after trying some of these then there may be an underlying cause to your stress that you might want to talk to your doctor or a counselor about.
Smiles and Sunshine