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Combat Your Stress At The Desk 19-Mar-2018

Guest blog post by our friends next door Real Fitness. When staying at The Hills Lodge, Real Fitness offers our guests great rates on classes (one off or whole day passes). If you have been sitting in a work conference all day, staying at The Hills Lodge will allow you the option to take a class (think Yoga, HIIT and more) for some time-out.     

You can be so into your work at the desk, not realizing you have spent the whole day sitting and not breathing. Causing your body to be in its sympathetic state of fight or flight. Our bodies are incredible machines that can adapt to most situations, however not every adaptation is benefiting our long-term health. Stress is not always a bad thing, it can be a positive stress. Think back to the caveman era, we needed that stress response. If a bear was chasing us and we didn't have that fight or flight response, we would be in a lot of danger. Research has shown that the problem in today's society is that we are spending far too long in our sympathetic state (fight or flight), which is causing our adrenals to over work, and raising our cortisol levels for an extended period; which is switching off main bodily functions like digestion, assimilation, reproduction, and the respiratory system. Which will then lead to a whole host of health problems.

At Real Fitness training we understand that peoples 5/10 of stress levels are usually, in fact a 9/10 to 10/10. With longer work hours, more deadlines, and the many different hats we are wearing, plus this stress response in our body, we have forgotten what it feels like to not feel stressed, so we just think it is normal. I have been there and have seen it with clients and close family/friends. I am now here to help you understand that it is not normal but there are simple strategies we can implement at the desk that will help to reduce this response.

#1 Awareness

First step is always awareness. If we dig our heads in the sand, we won't make the necessary changes to our health. Becoming aware that your main bodily functions have not been working as well as they should be, like poor digestion, low immune system, trouble sleeping and breathing, imbalanced hormones and the list can go on. This first step of awareness will prepare us to make changes. So, what does your day really look like? How would you rate your current health in terms of energy levels, digestion, and sleep?

#2 Stop to Breathe

Ahhhh ... close your eyes take one breath in now for a count of 4 (counting in your head) through the nose, hold for a count of 4, and let it go out through your mouth for a count of 4. Repeat for 4 rounds.

So, tell me how do you feel? Better, right? This breathing technique is called box breath. Oxygen heals the body, it heals us at a cellular level, and yet we would be surprised at how often our breath is short and shallow (also known as the stress breath). Try box breathing first thing in the morning, during the day, and at night. You will notice a big difference in the way you feel. Anytime you are feeling overwhelmed, or a stressful situation arises, just try coming back to the breath. You will start to do it automatically over time, that is when you will really know you have won the war around stress breath.

#3 Get up from the desk

Every hour get yourself up and away from your chair and go for a short walk, a great chance to duck off to the photocopier, make a business phone call whilst walking and talking, or take a peppermint tea break. If you are really into it, we recommend doing 20 squats and giving your body a good stretch. You can follow us on our Real Fitness Blog

for some great tips around this.

#4 Nourish

Healthy balanced nutrition is not only important for your health, but it is important both mentally and physically. Your gut is your second brain, so your productivity and even emotional behaviours can be dictated depending on the food you consume. Hence why we encourage workplaces to promote healthier eating habits. It will benefit you as an individual plus your entire workplace even productivity will increase.

If your workplace has a Binge Friday, perhaps encourage colleagues to bring in some wholefood recipes. There are many recipes that can be altered to make them healthier and still very tasty. You're usually with your colleagues more than your family so it is important that your colleagues understand why eating healthy is important to you. Sometimes it is just education that is missing. Knowledge is key to unlocking optimal health.

There is no button to switch off stress, but there are definitely ways to manage it to not only prolong your health but to have a more enjoyable life.

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