Stress symptoms making you miserable? From neck stretches to candles, osteopath Kemmy Gichaba reveals 7 instant stress fixes you can do at your desk
Everyone will experience symptoms of stress at one time or another.
In the fast-paced society we live in, stress has become an all-too-common part of our daily lives, and while some may thrive in stressful situations, in the long term, stress can have some pretty serious implications on your health.
It can stop us from enjoying a good mood, weaken our immune systems and even impair our cognitive health.
stress can have some pretty serious implications on your health
It can also cause physical symptoms, like headaches, GI tract symptoms, sleeping problems, or even be the cause of high blood pressure.
With the majority of our week spent working from a desk, there are some simple things you can do on a daily basis which can offer almost instant relief from stress which can help you to be more focused, positive and relaxed.
Here are seven stress fixes which can be done from the comfort of your desk…
#1 Sit up straight
Position is everything, and according to research, the position of the body can greatly influence the mind, mood, and levels of stress.
For example, if you sit up straight with your shoulders back and head up, you will feel more confident, happier, and as a result less stressed.
Sitting slouched with slumped shoulders tends to promote low levels of self-confidence and increased levels of stress and anxiety.
A spine that is properly aligned will enable to you sit up straight without pain and keeping your arms at a 90-degree angle will force you not to hunch over or shrug your shoulders, reducing stress build up.
#2 Keep your feet on the floor
To help maintain a fully upright, straight seating position at your desk, keeping your feet firmly planted on the floor can help.
Doing this will mean that you’re not leaning forward, or contorting your body in any strange or unnatural positions which can cause tension to build up and result in aches and pains which may add to your daily stress.
#3 Look up
In addition to the position of your body being a good way to instantly fix stress, how you fix your computer or laptop screen can also help.
For the best result, position your screen at eye level so you’re not straining your neck or eyes looking downwards or upwards.
position your screen at eye level so you’re not straining your neck
These small changes put your neck and your spine in a good position so that your feel generally calmer and more comfortable.
You can either purchase a laptop stand, or simply pile a couple of books up on your desk to bring your screen up to eye level.
#4 Move your arms
If your arms are stretching out in front of you for the majority of the day, then tension can build up in your upper body. To combat this open your arms and chest and then move your arms in circular movements.
Instead of holding the arms in a static position, work with the circular motion, making it wider and wider to further open out your chest and feel the stretch which can help you to feel more relaxed and ease upper body tension.
#5 Take 10 breaths breathing into diaphragm
In times of stress, or if you feel your workload is getting on top of you, simple breathing techniques can help to restore a sense of calm and positivity.
An effective way to use breathwork to relax instantly is to practice the following. While sitting down, have one hand on your chest and one hand on your abdomen.
simple breathing techniques can help to restore a sense of calm
The goal for this move, is for the hand on the abdomen to expand more for each breath as you focus on breathing into your stomach and not into your chest.
Focusing on your breath will bring you back to the present and help to destress. Complete 10 breaths and see how you feel, you can always repeat this if needs be.
#6 Soothing scents
There is an undoubtable connection between scents and relaxation/stress relief.
When we breathe in certain scents, they can trigger a reaction in the part of our brain (limbic system) which sets off a reaction in our bodies such as feeling calm or energised.
The limbic system also associates smells with emotion and memories and this can help to restore a sense of happiness, calm and tranquillity.
Scents like lemongrass, eucalyptus, lavender, and camomile can be effective for stress and anxiety reduction, so for a quick fix and ongoing relief, try lighting a candle at your desk.
Scents like lemongrass, eucalyptus, lavender, and camomile can be effective for stress
I recommend Holistic Impact’s Lemongrass and Eucalyptus Candle, £25, which is perfect for relaxation and pampering. The Lemongrass Essential Oil triggers the release of serotonin, the happy hormone which can quickly make you feel energised and more positive.
For an added benefit, it is also made with organic coconut wax which is best known for its clean and long-lasting burn thanks to a lower melting point than widely used soy wax, meaning that you can quickly revitalise your senses, ease stress and boost your wellbeing with zero toxicity.
#7 Stretch your neck and face
Stretching is an effective strategy for stress relief, but people often forget about the neck and the face, which can become especially tight if you’re sat looking and focusing on a screen all day.
Also, if you’re WFH you may spend quite a bit of the day in silence, not even using your facial muscles to hold a conversation. Stretching your neck is incredibly simple and can be done anytime, anywhere.
One simple stretch can be done by using your hands to guide your neck, rotating it forward, backwards and side to side. Your hands will help increase range of movement.
Stretching your neck is incredibly simple and can be done anytime, anywhere
A good face stretch can be done by your tragus (the opening of the ear), as this is where your jaw attaches.
Follow your jaw along while opening and closing your mouth to find where the joint is. With your thumbs press along the muscle in your cheek to reduce any tension build up in your jaw from clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth while concentrating at your desk.