Feeling relaxed or tense varies for all of us during the day. We have set out a number of practical tips to practice regularly when sitting and working at your desk.
Before we start, what is tension?
When we get tense we notice: tense muscles, heart racing, tiredness, aches and pains, difficulty thinking straight, sense of rush and pressure. In the last week, how tense or relaxed would you say you have been at work:
Here are some useful tips to practice to get more relaxed and calmer when you are at your desk today:
- Expect that you can get more relaxed. Would you like this?
- Tell yourself ‘I can relax already’. For example, when you read, have a bath, go for a walk. Visualise this pleasant feeling now (while you are at your desk).
- Use the word ‘Relax’ in your mind every few minutes whatever you are doing. Bring on the feeling and thoughts you have in when, for example, you sit back in your chair. Use a deep slow breath to help you bring on this calm feeling.
- Practice a simple systematic relaxation exercise at the beginning of the day when you arrive at work. Learn and accentuate the difference between TENSION and RELAXATION by, bit-by-bit, tensing one muscle tight (eg your shoulders) for 10 seconds and then let them go. Notice the difference. Then move to your arms, hands, neck, face and legs. Let your breathing become gentle, easy, regular and slow. This exercise can take less than 5 minutes and be practiced a little or often – it works.
- Generate pleasant and relaxing thoughts. Look out of the window or look at a photograph or visualise pleasant things, real or imaginary, that make you happy.
- Think about yourself and your abilities in a calm way; link relaxing with approaching a difficult task or job. Get yourself relaxed physically and mentally and tell yourself in a clear and calm inner voice that you can sort it. Break it down into small Active Steps and begin at the beginning!
- From time to time, allow yourself to talk to someone (in the office or by phone or email or text) to share some non-work conversation. This brief interlude helps to maintain a bit of a work-leisure balance during the day.
- Stop regularly to appreciate your senses: see, smell, hear, feel what is around you. Doing this can help you feel more relaxed and more ‘in the moment’.
- Keep yourself well watered and have a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack break (some unsalted nuts, dried or fresh fruit, perhaps).
- Tell others in the office about how you relax. Sharing will get you support and encouragement, whilst also helping others to relax. When you put most or all of these 10 active steps into practice this week, how relaxed do you think it will make you feel?