How to De-Stress at the Office and the Home Office
For those of us that work in front of a computer,
When the pressure is mounting
we spend the majority of our days sitting. And
and your to-do list seems endless,
we’re not just sitting at our desks all day. We are
very often your breathing will
sitting in our cars (I think car seats are terribly
suffer. When you are not breathing
designed in regards to healthy posture), we are
properly, your body isn’t getting the
sitting at meals, we sit in front of the TV. Think of
oxygen it needs, and you will start
how much time is spent moving versus sitting!
to feel unwell. When you are in a
For many of us, it’s not a healthy ratio.
stressful situation, take five
minutes to focus on breathing
Too Much Sitting Can Kill You
deeply. Flush out your lungs and
take even, deep breaths for some
Need motivation to get your butt out of that chair? You have probably by now come
needed stress relief. This will calm
across the articles about how sitting can kill you by significantly shortening your
your mind and body and give you a
lifespan. The University of Sydney conducted a study and findings concluded that
adults who sat 11 or more hours per day had a 40 percent increased risk of dying in
the next three years compared with those who sat for four hours or fewer each day.
Physical activity, weight, and health status were all taken into account for the study
Sometimes you simply aren’t able
which included more than 200,000 people. (Study is published in the Archives of
to block off a larger chunk of time
to do something relaxing. Perhaps
deadlines are looming or you’re
Get Out of Your Chair and Get Moving
facing an especially busy season.
Meditation can bring immediate
Even if you aren’t one of the 40% with an increased risk of dying in the next three
stress relief, and can be an
years and whether or not you believe in the validity of this study, too much sitting
invaluable tool in long-term stress
still isn’t healthy for you. Our bodies adapt to how we use – or more importantly,
don’t use them. In front of the computer, shoulders forward, head often forward,
meditation will help you to quickly
hips flexed, everything is closed off. Our sitting posture in prolonged periods leads
clear your mind of negative
to muscle tightness, shortened hip flexors and hamstrings, shallow breathing, and
stressors as you slip into a state of
slowed circulation, all of which lead to even bigger health concerns over time.
relaxation and peace. Learning
Extended sitting also slows fat and cholesterol metabolism.
effective meditation does take time
and discipline, but it is a proven
So, get up and get moving! Five to ten minute increments several times throughout
stress-buster for anyone who
the day is a small commitment that can make a big difference.
But, I’m in the middle of a big project, I don’t have time!
Actually, this is the best time to take a break. A little stretching and breathing or a 5
minute walk will both calm and refresh the body and the mind. You will come back
clearer and may even have a few new insights on the project.
You don’t have to schedule a full
Take a Walk
workout at the gym every day to
reap the stress relieving benefits of
A five minute walk around the building or around the block provides a mental,
exercise. Even a ten minute walk
physical and emotional boost and is an excellent after lunch habit to develop. Walks
in the fresh air and sunshine can
improve respiration and circulation, and some fresh air and sunshine is an
do wonders for you. The change of
invigorating bonus. Walking after lunch can also aid digestion and have a positive
scenery gets your mind off the
effect on blood sugar levels.
work for a time and the exercise
will help you to breathe deeply.
Power Nap Instead of a Coffee
While it’s great if you can get
vigorous exercise regularly or
This is one of my personal favorites. When I worked at my first corporate job, I
some bodybuilding workouts, just a
often had that after lunch slump. I would find a spot for a 10-20 minute nap –
small amount of exercise daily can
glorious! (If it’s an on-going occurrence, it is important to take a closer look at diet,
bring a great amount of stress
but that is a discussion for another time.) A quick nap can reduce stress and
increase focus and creativity. One to three in the afternoon is an optimal time and if
you can find a dark room or cover your eyes, it helps you fall asleep faster. If
napping just isn’t an option, the walk outside is the next best bet. If you need to
When your work is overwhelming,
convince your boss of how an afternoon nap can help you be more productive,
it can be very tempting to neglect
there are numerous studies and tons of evidence readily available.
yourself – especially in areas like
nutrition. Substituting a quick
A Quick Break at Your Desk
snack or soda for a meal might
save you some time immediately,
Here is an 8-10 minute sequence you can do at your desk – standing of course –
but in the long run it will hurt your
that is relaxing and rejuvenating. These breathing and stretching exercises open
health and make you even more
the hips and shoulders, stretch the muscles, and increase circulation in the body
susceptible to the effects of stress.
and the brain. Ideally, do this several times throughout the day in addition to
A healthy diet will bring overall
walking around the block for some fresh air or that awesome power nap. To begin
physical and emotional wellness.
with, work it in twice a day at least. Set an alarm on your phone or computer as a
reminder. Read below or follow along in the De-Stress at Your Desk Video.
1. Stand up and stretch.
2. Take several deep breaths, sighing on the exhale.
3. T Stretch – Stand with arms out in a T – rotate the arms back in the inhale and
forward on the exhale.
When your to-do list seems a mile
long, playing may be the last thing
4. Wrist Stretch – Pull the fingers back towards the top of the arm, repeat on the
you feel like doing. It might seem
frivolous or like a waste of time
initially, but taking time to relax with
5. Shoulder Opener – Interlace the fingers behind back and squeeze the elbows
family or friends can be some of
together to open the shoulders and the chest.
the best stress relief therapy.
Laughter releases tension and
6. L Stretch – Place both hands on the edge of the desk or back of the chair and
provides a better outlook. Simple
walk back, folding to make an L, feeling the stretch in the hamstrings and upper
games and creative hobbies are
proven stress-relievers as they
relax you and bring overall peace
7. Side Stretch – stand with the right hip next to the chair or desk, holding with
to both mind and body.
right hand then extend the left arm overhead for a side stretch. Repeat on the
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8. Twist – from side to side, initiating movement from the pelvis, allowing the arms
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to trail freely.
9. Figure 4 Stretch – (can be done sitting or standing) Place the right ankle on the
left knee, keeping the foot flexed and bend the left knee as if sitting down in a
chair, holding on to the desk for support. Lower until you feel a stretch in the
right hip. Repeat on the other side.
CLICK HERE - To learn more about breathing and other ways to relieve stress
and improve your quality of living at