It's National Relaxation Day today. Hurrah! But if, like us, you are spending it at work (boo), we thought we could all do with learning more about stress-reducing techniques you can apply in the office.
We got together with Natalia Hassanie, co-founder of wellness company Positive Performance, who told us more about what having stress in our lives means. Gulp...
"We often assume that stress is normal, which means that we can undermine it’s true effects because we don’t realise the impact it has on a person both physically and emotionally," Natalia explains. "Stress threatens our wellbeing on a daily basis by being at the root of many physical diseases. But also, it affects our social relationships and work performance. It has a chemical impact on our nervous system, on our cortisol levels and our brain."
If it all sounds a little overwhelming, fear not - there is good news. Natalia says, "We have the power to control stress - whether at home or at the office. By adopting a number of methods and tools, you will be able to help your brain start to function in a different way and alleviate stress."
Here are her tips on ensuring the 9-5 is as tranquil as possible. Here's hoping...
Tip #1: Expectation
You are the only one who can control stress levels in your life. You are the one who can determine what kind of relationships you want to develop around you and what or who is worth your energy. Be gentle and realistic in setting up expectations for people in your life, as well as yourself.
Tip #2: Breathe
Utilise your most valuable skill… and take a deep breath. Your breath is with you 24/7 and is absolutely free. Train yourself to pay attention to your emotions and when things get tough or hard to handle, slow down, breathe and respond (rather than react). Set up an alarm on your phone to remind you to “stop and breathe” a couple of times throughout the day.
Tip #3: Compassion
Compassion is another powerful tool for us to use in our relationships with others. Sometimes an unkind word can be more hurtful than a physical injury. Practise compassion, and this will hopefully help you to understand what’s going on in other people’s lives and also see what challenges they are facing. It will allow you to empathise more, not only with others but also ourselves.
Tip #4: Connection
Connection with yourself and others is a key tool for keeping calm under pressure. A tip I often tell my clients is to think of our thoughts like roots of trees. They are not what people see on the outside, they are not our physical appearance. However, they are the things that touch, connect with, support, and affect the people around us. When you have positive, loving, kind thoughts, you impact the people around you in the office.
Tip #5: Positive Spaces
Create spaces around you to allow you to connect within and with others, spaces that provide an opportunity to practice compassion, spaces that will allow you to breathe. At the office, try assigning days of the week with an intention - for example Mindful Mondays. Try and have mindful meetings. Practice mindfulness just before going into a meeting and really think about what you are bringing the table.
Positive Performance is a corporate wellness company that focuses on engaging teams and encouraging them into a more healthy lifestyle. To find out more follow them on Instagram @PositivePerformance @mrsposetivity
Photos: Instagram @misspatisserieuk