Are you feeling a little bit stressed at work? Have you forgotten to finish that report? Did you just realise you have a deadline this afternoon? Are you getting a bit behind in your filing? Do you have an inbox full of emails? Should you be working harder right now?
Sorry. That probably didn’t help.
But if you’re feeling stressed, here’s a few breathing exercises that WILL help. Relax, spend a minute or two on your breathing, and your focus will be razor sharp.
1. One nostril.
This will sound crazy, but it works. Close your eyes (when you’ve finished reading this entire article, of course) and concentrate on breathing in one nostril, and out the other. At first, you can gently use one hand to guide it, by resting the middle three fingertips on your forehead, and using your thumb and pinkie finger to alternate nostrils. Breathe in through one, out through the other. Repeat several times, then remove your hand, and focus hard on continuing the same flow. You can change the pattern and alternation until you find one that calms you down.
Sit right on the edge of a chair, with your feet as wide apart as possible (like the infamous man-spread). Lean forward, resting your elbows on your knees, with your spine relaxed, but not slumped. Breathe deeply into your belly. Let it out slowly. Concentrate on filling up your diaphragm. Continue until your body feels more relaxed. NB: This may be hard to do in a tight skirt. Alternatively, stand with your back against a wall, completely flat and pressing into the wall as much as possible. Bend your knees if you need to. Repeat the breathing exercise.
3. Use some music.
Put on a song that you find relaxing. It can be anything from classical music to heavy metal – we won’t judge you. It doesn’t need to be loud (don’t annoy your colleagues), it can even be with headphones. Now sit back, and breathe in time to the music. In for 8 counts, then out for 8 counts. In for 8, out for 8. Adjust the timing based on the speed of the song – you don’t want to be hyperventilating or holding your breath until you faint, obviously – but just concentrate on the steadiness of your breath.
4. Salty air.
We’ve saved the most important for last. Book in a salt therapy session. If you are stressed, your body is already in need of one. It’s heaven for an anxious body – a peaceful room with comfortable massage chairs and soft lighting, and pharmaceutical-grade salt pumping through the air. The salt has anti-inflammatory properties that help the lungs absorb more oxygen, making for easier function throughout the day. Not to mention it can aid with better sleep, better congestion, better skin, and better well-being. And all you have to do is sit there.
If you’re feeling stressed, give yourself a break as soon as possible. Take some deep breaths, book in for some relaxing salt therapy, and take care of yourself. You only get one you.