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A Holistic Approach to Workplace Stress

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A Holistic Approach to Workplace Stress

How to cope with stress at work

Like it or not, for millions of people around the world, their workplace is a home away from home. For the lucky few, this is a wonderful, fulfilling experience that brings much richness and joy into their lives. However, for  many, their work environment brings challenges and stress that can build up over days, months, and years. Sometimes this can affect a person’s physical as well as mental and emotional wellbeing. This article offers some suggestions that can help you make it through your day and possibly, change some old negative patterns that no longer work for you. This could be the start of a new, more positive outlook at work, thus relieving the stress and discomfort you feel as you move through your day.  Have fun with these suggestions and use the ones that feel right for you.

Your Physical Environment

• Bring photos of family, friends and/or pets and put them up around your workspace. There’s nothing like a loved one looking back at you during the day to brighten your mood. If you are feeling down or upset, just take a look at one of those pictures and allow yourself to have a few moments of gratitude and love for that person or pet.

• If you have the space, a green plant or two can be a wonderful addition to an otherwise stark environment. Also, taking care of a living thing is good therapy!

• Make sure that your workspace is ergonomically correct. A bad chair and/or computer that strain your body in any way can add to your physical discomfort and thus affect your mood. You can also play with the height of your computer and chair and the placement of your keyboard and mouse. The body likes variety, and if you change things around every couple of days, your body may thank you for it!

Your Mental Wellbeing

• With so much to remember during the day, and lots of responsibility to accept, the brain can get overloaded with seemingly millions of details. At this point many people feel “burned out” and unable to take on anything else!  A great technique to cool things down is what I call “the brain melt.”  Just sit quietly for a few minutes (even 1 minute will help!), close your eyes, and take a deep breath and let it out. Let your body relax and allow your seat to hold you up. Put your attention on your breath, and as thoughts come up, let them melt away like butter. As new thoughts arise (as they will!), notice them, let them melt, and gently put your attention back to your breath. There is no judging involved, just noticing. Do this for a few minutes and you may feel refreshed and restored and able to attend to your daily tasks with new clarity. 

• Try to get outside on your lunch break and walk around. If this isn’t possible, just walk around the workplace, and get your body moving. Sometimes just being by yourself and getting away from you work space can be the best gift you can give to yourself.

• Maybe listen to a book on tape driving to and from your work. A good thriller or mystery could help you have a mini vacation as you transition from home to work.

Your Emotional Wellbeing

• Sometimes a co-worker, boss, or stressful situation can punch your emotional buttons. It could be an off hand comment or a criticism of your work. In these circumstances it is important to take time every day to nurture yourself. This could take the form of a mental “pat on the back.” Tell yourself that you are doing the best job possible and that you are truly a good person. Maybe do the “mind melt” to calm your thoughts. When you feel easier about the situation, ask yourself how you can make it right. If you aren’t sure, ask a supportive friend or family member. But don’t dwell on the drama. It will only keep you in turmoil and pain! Then take the steps to make it right. Sometimes there is no action —just your relationship to the situation has changed.  

• Find things to do that give you joy in your every day life. Participating in sports, a hobby, or getting together with understanding friends and family are some ways to bring laughter to your life.

These suggestions are some of the ways you can lift your spirits and have more grace and ease at your workplace.  Maybe you will come up with some or your own ideas and use them.  Good luck!

Ilani Kopiecki, BA & CMT is a CranioSacral Therapist and Therapeutic Massage Practitioner. She has been in practice for ten years. She received her CranioSacral training through the Upledger Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida. She is a certified Advanced Practitioner. Ilani maintains her office at Stepping Stones Wellness Center, 803 Pine Street, in Sandpoint, Idaho. For more information about Therapeutic Massage, CranioSacral Therapy, or to make an appointment, please call her at 208 610-2005.  Or visit her website.

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Sandpoint Wellness Counci Sandpoint Wellness Counci The Sandpoint Wellness Council is an association of independent, complementary wellness practitioners located in Sandpoint dedicated to holistic health care. Pictured are: Owen Marcus, Penny Waters, Robin and Layman Mize, Ilani Kopiecki, Krystle Shapiro and Mario Roxas

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