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Smart ways to keep work stress at bay

health-and-fitness Updated: Jul 13, 2013 02:29 IST
Aditi Pant
Aditi Pant
Hindustan Times
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Feeling overwhelmed at work? Take heart, you are not alone. Numerous studies have shown that stress at work is felt across professions and countries, and can severely impact our physical and emotional well-being. That was the bad news. The good news is that there are easy ways to manage stress at workplace that don’t involve making huge changes to your routine, but only minor changes that you can easily incorporate in your work life. We talked to experts and devised easy ways to help you de-stress at work.

Take a break
Drop that pen. Log out. Breathe easy. After working for a few hours constantly, don’t forget to give yourself a mini-break. This could involve you grabbing a cup of coffee or simply closing your eyes for a few minutes. “Take a conscious break. This way, you are giving auto-suggestion to your brain that you need to switch off from work temporarily. If you are having coffee, feel it, smell the aroma. Don’t just gulp it down while stressing over a report,” says Dr Juhi Sharma, psychologist, Narinder Mohan Hospital. “Close your eyes for 30 seconds to a few minutes after intense work, so that your eye muscles get some much-needed rest,” suggests Dr S Chatterjee, senior consultant, Indra-prastha Apollo hospital.

Simple stretches and deep breathing can help you de-stress too. “Inhale and hold your breath for 5 seconds, then exhale the same way. If you are very stressed, then inhale-exhale on a count of 3 seconds,” advises Dr Sharma. “Take short walks, either outside your workplace or in the office alley. Short walks help ease back muscles and other body muscles. And, they also aid in blood circulation,” says Dr Chatterjee. Also, don’t forget to stretch your hands and legs at regular intervals. “Every one hour, stand for 2 minutes and stretch your hands, standing straight. Also, stretch your legs while sitting. Always stretch with your face upwards,” says fitness expert Neeraj Mehta. “Always sit on your hip bone when you’re working, and make the posture of your spine straight because if you don’t sit this way, your back muscles curve. Sitting on the hip bone helps metabolise food intake easily,” adds Mehta.

Eat right, stay hydrated
Keep yourself hydrated because dehydration can lead to medical problems. “Also, most of us work in spaces that are air-conditioned, due to which people don’t drink fluids that much,” says Dr Chatterjee. “The abdomen area of our body hardly moves when we’re in a desk job. So avoid heavy meals. Go for smaller meals instead, as they can be easily absorbed. This keeps the energy levels in your body high and keeps you less stressed,” says Mehta. In terms of diet, “Go for fruits over fried snacks. Opt for fruits that are high in alkaline like pineapple, oranges and grapefruit. Also, diet snacks like chiwdas can be consumed. Avoid too much salt as that is the main culprit for causing water retention. This heightens stress levels in your body as it increases toxins and gastric issues,” advises Mehta. Dr Chatterjee adds, “Avoid heavy intake of coffee, tea and aerated drinks. They too increase stress levels of the body.” Instead, opt for healthier options like green tea, considered a good stress-buster.