Hayley’s BLOG

How to reduce stress levels at work…

less-like-a-crazy-lady

Or ‘Why Business does not have to mean ‘Busy-ness’!

See what I did there in that headline? That clever play on words? Like it?

I’ve been helping women with their energy levels for about 8 years now, and one of the most common challenges I see us all face is stress. Yuck! Chronic stress is so detrimental to our energy levels and our overall health – why is it that we’ve all just accepted this constant overwhelm as our new normal?

As a business owner, high achiever, constant student and mother, I have a deep appreciation for exhaustion. I get what it is like to have so much on your plate that you just feel overwhelmed and can’t see a way out of the ‘busy-ness’.

From my training and experience as a clinical naturopath, nutritionist and health coach, here is what I know to be true:

If you continue to overwork yourself, constantly pushing yourself to get more done, achieve more, hustle more… after a period of time, this will inevitably lead to BURN OUT.

Our bodies cannot handle being in a constant state of stress.

Our nervous system needs some downtime from the ‘fight or flight’ mode, otherwise our health will quickly begin to deteriorate.

In other words, we women need to get a handle on our stress response.

More like a zen monk, less like a crazy lady.

So how do we do that? How do we manage to be in a state of calm in the middle of a busy day?

Here are my top 3 tips to integrate into your work day, to help you bring a little downtime for your frazzled nervous system:

The 20 Minute Meal: Every lunchtime (EVERY DAY) schedule yourself a 20 minute lunch break (the operative word here is break!) We owe it to ourselves, to our clients, to the business, to take a bloody break! In your 20 minutes, physically move away from your desk to somewhere quiet where you can focus on eating your meal. Don’t answer emails, don’t talk or look at your phone. Eat mindfully and relish the opportunity to nourish yourself with your delicious lunch.

Breathe: Okay, so I know we’ve all heard this one before… but how many of us actually practice calm, deep breathing? I promise you, if you take a moment whenever you feel those stress levels rise to actually stop and focus on taking slow, deep breaths you’ll feel the difference. It’s not woo-woo, it’s science. Slow, deep breathing triggers our stressed out nervous system to calm down.

Try the 5-5-7 breath: Stop what you’re doing (close your eyes, if you like) and consciously breathe deeply into your abdominals to the count of 5. Then hold that breath for 5 counts. Now sloooowly exhale for 7 counts, pulling in your abdominal muscles as you breath out to help expel the air. Your tummy should ideally move in and out as you do this exercise. Try 3 rounds and see how you feel. Go longer if you need to and feel free to try this technique any time you feel stressed.

Move your body! When we are in the stress-response, we have all these stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol flooding our body. As long as they’re cycling around in our bloodstream, we are going to feel stressed. Best way to clear them out? Exercise! Go get moving to use up all those hormones and the glucose they release and you’ll feel so much more balanced. A brisk walk around the block, 5 minutes on an exercise bike, a run, the gym, swimming, high-energy yoga, even running up and down on the spot for a few minutes can help. Do what you can.

 

I really hope these tips have been helpful. I’d love to hear of your experiences trying them, or even any other little de-stress hacks you have that help you at work. Please feel free to comment :-)

Hayley xx

 

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