With looming deadlines, endless spread sheets and to-do lists, not to mention hundreds of emails to reply to, many of us can become stressed and anxious at work. Today is National Stress Awareness Month, an annual event held every April since 1992. It’s a good opportunity to evaluate how much stress you experience at work and learn how to combat it. 

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Over time, stress can build up and take a toll on your physical and mental health and general wellbeing. So, we’ve written up five simple relaxation techniques that you can try out at work next time you’re feeling a little on-edge or stressed out. 

1. Breathe deeply 

It sounds simple, but taking a few deep breaths can really help to slow down your heart rate and encourage your mind and body to relax. Breathe in through your nose, hold it for a few seconds, and then breathe out through your mouth. 

2. Body scan 

This is something you can do with just your mind. Sit in a chair and close your eyes, then gradually (and very slowly) work your way up from your toes all the way to the top of your head, like you’re giving yourself a mental body scan. Note any areas of pain or pressure, and as you go, gently let each muscle relax and release any tension. This will help to relax your body and mind, while also taking your thoughts away from the stresses in your day. 

3. Declutter 

Tidying your desk and work space can make you feel that little bit more in control. Decluttering can be used as a technique for helping you organise your life while also giving you something new to think about. Get rid of anything in your desk drawers that you no longer need, and tidy up loose papers, notepads, pens, folders and other work material.  

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4. Five-minute slow down 

Take five minutes out of your busy schedule to slow down. That can mean different things to different people, but try to either sit down and be still for five minutes or go for a slow five-minute stroll outside. This is a great technique for separating yourself from work for just a few minutes and clearing your headspace.  

5. Meditate 

This can be a good thing to try when you’ve got a quiet lunch break. Just a few minutes of meditation per day can help to ease stress. Sit up straight in a comfortable chair with both of your feet on the floor. Focus your attention on slow, steady breathing and place on hand on your belly to feel your breaths. Let any distracting thoughts float away. 

This National Stress Awareness Month, think about the little things you can do to improve your wellness at work. Whether it’s decluttering your desk or dedicating five minutes every day to some deep breathing, it’s important that we all try to reduce the stress-factor in our daily lives. 

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