Low pay, long hours and an unreasonable workload are just some of the reasons that 83% of American workers say they’re stressed-out at their jobs. Unfortunately, a troubled economy has many feeling stuck without options.
We know that chronic, unrelenting stress can cause anything from headaches and digestive issues to depression, heart disease and even cancer. Several studies have determined that heart attacks are most prevalent on Mondays, and at their lowest rate over the weekend, leaving one to believe that the stress of returning to work has a lot to do with it.
So how do you protect your health and perform your job to the best of your ability? Instead of just getting through the day and living for the weekend or dare I say retirement, create a wellness survival kit. Dedicate a desk drawer or tote bag you take on the road. Think of this as your happy place to access when the going gets tough and you feel you need a timeout or a reboot.
You may find just the site of your survival kit is enough to regain your sense of peace and calm or you may need to dive in and immerse yourself in all its serenity!
Select a remedy to treat each of your senses. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Smell – Essential oils have been used throughout history for their aromatic, therapeutic and medicinal benefits. Often just a drop or two in the palm of your hands rubbed together and inhaled can promote a feeling of well-being. You can also use an electric or candle lit diffuser to dispense the scent throughout the air. Bergamot, lavender, wild orange and peppermint oil are my favorites. Sample each scent and see which one has the desired effect on you.
Taste – Chamomile tea decreases anxiety and is calming to the stomach. Lemon balm tea calms the nervous system and may reduce headaches. Passionflower relieves muscle tension and calms nerves. Green tea is high in antioxidants and the amino acid L-Theanine known for its calming effect. Steep, enjoy and feel the stress melt away.
Touch – Squeeze a stress ball. Do these really work? Yes, they do! When stressed, we clench and tighten up; squeezing a stress ball causes us to release tension and induces relaxation. If your stress ball is not in reach, put your hand on your heart and take a few deep breaths, this will slow the stress response.
Sound -Soothing music is an effective tool for relaxing and distracting obsessive thinking and overwhelm. Set a mellow station on Pandora or download relaxing tunes on your smartphone. My favorites are instrumental music, (you can find free online) Nora Jones, Enya and Sade. Start your day with calming music on your way to work.
Sight – Having a picture of a loved one that you adore, a picture from a magazine that inspires you or a vacation photo that relaxes you will provide a calming visual. Think of it as a mini vacation escape.
Don’t let work stress rob you of your health. Now it’s time for you to gather your favorite essential oil, tea, stress ball, music and photo and create your wellness survival kit. All have a long shelf life and will be there when you need them most.
I would love to know what works for you, leave a comment below!