Tips for Managing Stress at EOFY Like a Boss
Sounds easy, right? Well it is! It’s the quality of our breath that really has the power to impact stress levels. When we feel stressed, we draw shorter breaths that sit higher in the chest and consequently don’t engage the diaphragm. When the lungs are full, the diaphragm moves down into the belly and sends signals to our brain that we are calm, stress hormones dissipate and BAM, we feel like we can take on the world.
Hold your breath and count to 10
Slowly breathe out and think “I am relaxed” to yourself
Inhale slowly through your nose for 5 seconds, drawing air down into your belly
Exhale through your mouth for 5 seconds, making a whooshing noise as you breathe out. Think “I am so relaxed” as you exhale
After a minute of breathing in and out this cycle, hold your breath again for 10 seconds
Wash, rinse, repeat as desired
The food we consume has the power to reduce stress and increase energy in our bodies. There is a direct correlation between your gut and your brain. Think of your body as a beautiful car. The quality of the fuel you use will directly impact performance.
Instead of subtracting unhealthy foods, make adding whole, unprocessed foods your first priority. Ie: "I will have at least 2 serving of veggies with lunch and a serving of protein. I may also have a square of chocolate mid afternoon to keep me motivated." This keeps it simple and ensures you’re getting nutrients without overthinking it. Easy breezy. You’ve got this!
Moving your body is good for the brain - it releases endorphins, giving us that “feel good” vibe. Endorphins help reduce stress and anxiety by triggering positive feelings in the body. Our bodies love to move, even a short burst of activity has long lasting positive effects.
Move throughout the day! This can mean taking a short walk at lunch, hitting the gym after work or doing 5 minutes of exercise in the morning when you wake up. Find something that feels good, and then make it a habit.
Stress and sleep are in a love-hate symbiotic relationship. When we don’t get enough sleep, our stress hormones elevate, and if we are already stressed, it makes it difficult to fall asleep. Lack of sleep also has an effect on our hormones, which can make us cranky or hungry on days when we haven’t slept well the night before.
Create a sleep ritual. Power down your brain by turning off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Grab a book or your loved one or pet and spend a few minutes unplugged. There are some great sleep meditations/music on Insight Timer and they are FREE. Yes, that’s right. Relaxation at your fingertips for zero dollars. Download it here.
Bonus points: Don’t forget to take breaks throughout the day. It may feel counterintuitive, but stepping away from your desk for short breaks encourages focus and productivity.
Here is a short desk yoga session you can do on your break: