How to ease anxiety in the office
Helpful hints on how to retain your natural karma throughout the busy working day
Culture Whisper's resident nutritional advisor and health coach Annabel Arkwright offers 7 helpful tips on how to make some small daily adjustments to your routine to help reduce tension and stress and feel on top of your game at work.
Kickstart your day with a brisk walk
Whether it’s contorted bus routes or the discomfort of the underground system in rush hour, few people enjoy the daily grind of commuting. Leave home a little earlier than usual and experiment by getting off the bus or tube one or two stops early, and walk briskly the rest of the way to work. A mile of walking takes fifteen minutes, which is a valuable chunk of exercise, and gives you a good rush of endorphins (the happy brain chemicals) to kickstart the day. Or maybe walk, run or cycle the whole way to work.
Posture at work
Long periods seated in front of a computer can cause muscular aches and pains in the back, shoulders and neck. Protect your back by sitting in the middle of your seat with both feet planted firmly on the ground. Keep your back upright, sit up tall and strengthen your core by drawing in with your tummy muscles.
Avoid hunching in front of your computer as this can cause shoulder and neck tension, which in turn can lead to headaches. If using a laptop a good investment might be a mouse, a keyboard and a laptop stand, to ensure that your head is held high and your neck is in line with your spine.
You can do this as often as you feel necessary. For core control and good posture throughout the day some people use a Swiss ball as an office chair substitute – this can help to prevent slouching. Ensure you get up from your desk at least every hour, take a few paces and shake out your legs and arms to ease any muscular tightness.
Keep your eyes bright
To help protect your eyes whilst working, sit the recommended distance from your computer screen – about an arm’s length away with your eyes roughly in line with the top of the screen. Every hour or so avert your eyes, close them, and gently roll them behind closed lids. Air conditioning systems or heating systems in offices can play havoc with eyes, so keep some eye drops in your drawer.
Enjoy your lunch break
Get a change of scene at lunchtime, ideally leaving the office for a walk around the block.This unclutters your mind, gives you some fresh air and allows you to rejuvenate for the afternoon ahead. London is home to hundreds of pretty squares and parks, so find a scenic spot to relax and eat your lunch. By preparing your food at home the night before you can be sure it is jam packed with the nutrients, minerals and vitamins essential for long-lasting energy. Listen to a Podcast or read a book, or for the ultimate in good karma, tune in to the ‘Headspace App’ for guided meditation and mindfulness.
Healthy snacks and hydration at work
For staving off mid-morning or afternoon hunger pangs keep some healthy snacks at work. Simple nutritious snacks include seeds, nuts and fruit. You could also try MACA powder, a wonder nutrient mix of fibre, minerals, protein and carbohydrates derived from a Peruvian root. A quick sprinkle will supercharge a yoghurt or smoothie or almost any tasty nibble you may fancy. It is important to keep adequately hydrated, so drink at least a litre of water, sipping at it regularly during the course of the day. If you feel like a hot drink during the day, hot water with fresh lemon and ginger is wonderfully restorative and can help as a remedy to soothe sore throats, colds and coughs.
We take breathing for granted. It is an autonomous function requiring no conscious effort, but despite this, many of us actually breathe in a way that exacerbates mental stress and anxiety, by taking shallow, irregular breaths. Learn to breathe deeply, slowly and evenly by drawing air in through the nose and completely filling your lungs, so that if you rest your hand on your stomach you can feel it swell slightly. Then breathe out through your nose expelling all the air on the out breath. This yogic style breathing provides us with the necessary oxygen for brain and body function and has a massively beneficial effect on our mental, emotional and physical state. We all breathe about 20,000 times per day, so consciously focus on slow breathing technique and practise for a couple of minutes a few times a day.
Post work relaxation
After battling your way back home from the office morph into your evening with a little relaxation technique. The ‘constructive psoas position’ combined with some yogic breathing will leave you feeling energised and ready to enjoy your evening. That is, if you don’t end up falling asleep in the process.
Lie on your back with your legs in the air, bent at the knees. Position your calves and feet on a chair or soft sofa and keep your arms by your sides. Maybe put a cushion under your head and put a blanket over you for extra comfort. Neal’s Yard do some relaxing essential oils that you can dab on your wrists and temples. Close your eyes, use the breathing technique described above, try to clear your mind by focusing exclusively on your body and breath, relax every muscle and wash away the cares of the day.
by Annabel Arkwright