HOW TO RELAX AT WORK TO BEAT STRESS & ANXIETY
As a therapist and counselor many of my clients tell me that their stress and anxiety levels are at their highest when they are at work. Does this also apply to you? Coffee breaks or smoke breaks aren’t the only way you can take a moment for yourself. In my previous blogs I shared the top 20 tips that I give to my clients as a therapist and counselor to fight stress and anxiety. In this post I am going to share a technique that can be specifically used at work.
The first step is to find a place where you can sit. Sit up straight and use the back of your chair to support your posture. Make sure to place your feet flat on the floor and do not have your legs crossed. Allow your hands to rest comfortably on your legs. If you feel comfortable close your eyes. You don’t have to close them but doing so will allow you to relax even more so.
Start by doing diaphragmatic breathing. Inhale at a slow pace through your nose to the count of 5. Then hold your breath to the count of 3. Exhale through your mouth at a slow pace to the count of 5. In order to take deep relaxing breaths make sure that you are not breathing from your chest, instead use your diaphragm. So when you inhale your stomach will rise, and when you exhale your stomach will lower. Continue this diaphragmatic breathing by repeating all the above steps for at least one minute.
The exercise I am now going to discuss is progressive muscle relaxation. This exercise involves tensing muscles in your body for a count of 10, and then relaxing them. When you tense each muscle area make sure to do it as hard as you can without hurting yourself. When you release the hold try to let your body be as loose and relaxed as possible.
Start by tensing your feet. You can accomplish this by either pointing your toes and your feet or by pulling your feet off the floor towards you while you keep your heels on the floor. Hold this for a count of 10. Then release the tension and feel the relaxation. Take two deep diaphragmatic breaths as discussed above by inhaling for 5, holding for 3, and exhaling for 5.
The next step is to tense the muscles in your thigh area. You can accomplish this by squeezing your thighs against each other or squeezing them so that they are slightly elevated off your chair. Hold the tension for a count of 10 and then release. Take 2 deep diaphragmatic breaths.
The next area is your abdomen. You can tense this area by sucking your stomach in as much as you can or by pushing it out as far as you can. Hold the tension for a count of 10 and then release. Take 2 deep diaphragmatic breaths.
The next areas are your arms and hands. You can tense this area by making a fist and squeeze your arms as tight as you can. Hold the tension for a count of 10 and then release. Take 2 deep diaphragmatic breaths.
The next area is your shoulders. You can tense them by pushing them up towards your ears as high as you can or by pushing them down as far as you can. Hold the tension for a count of 10 and then release. Take 2 deep diaphragmatic breaths.
The next area is your jaw. You can tense your jaw by either biting down or by opening your mouth as wide as you can. Hold the tension for a count of 10 and then release. Take 2 deep diaphragmatic breaths.
The next area is your nose. You can tense this by flaring your nostrils or by pulling your nose down. Hold the tension for a count of 10 and then release. Take 2 deep diaphragmatic breaths.
The next area is your eyes. You can tense them by squeezing them tight. Hold the tension for a count of 10 and then release. Take 2 deep diaphragmatic breaths.
The last area is your forehead. You can tense it by lifting your eyebrows up or by squeezing them together. Hold the tension for a count of 10 and then release. Take 2 deep diaphragmatic breaths.
This entire process should take about 10 minutes. The great thing about this exercise is that you can do it anywhere. If you can’t find a place that is private at work and are worried about others seeing you, then you can adjust the exercise by keeping your eyes open and avoid tensing the obvious areas such as your eyes and forehead. If you do that then no one will even notice what you are doing. You could also leave the office for a few minutes and sit in your car to do this. Progressive muscle relaxation is a great way to relax. The important thing is to practice it often so that when you are really stressed or anxious it will be easy to do because you are so familiar with doing it already.
ABOUT ESSENCE OF HEALING COUNSELING:
Roberta Alves is a therapist and counselor at the Essence of Healing Counseling with an office located in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. She is a Certified Anxiety Specialist and uses a scientific and evidence based type of therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Research has shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is proven to be extremely effective in treating anxiety. Roberta is truly passionate about the work she does and loves serving her clients in Ft. Lauderdale and the surrounding South Florida areas. If you want to learn the proven techniques to overcome your anxiety call 954-393-2930 to schedule an appointment today.
Essence of Healing Counseling
333 N New River Drive East, Suite # 2200, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301