Don't let workday stress get you down. De-stress with our no-nonsense tips
Got the Monday morning blues? Marie Claire is here to help…
Susannah Marriott, author of 1001 Ways to Relax says, 'Everyday you should do something you love. It's not all about relaxing with a glass of wine on the sofa. It's about making plans to do something you really enjoy, like going horse riding or going wild swimming, in a lake or somewhere. You should just do something you absolutely love. It should be something to look forward to and something active.'
'When you're stressed out, you need to take your body out of the situation. You should do something imaginative, like holding a meeting in the park,' says Susannah Marriott. 'I used to hold MA sessions in an orchard, and everyone comes out with really creative ideas. Even something like a sauna after work can be good.'
Scattered papers and messy piles of books are a reminder of things that need to be done and that's stressful. Remove your physical clutter and you'll eradicate your mental clutter. Buy some cute containers to put your stationary and paperwork in. Try to tidy up at the end of each day and write a to-do list for the next day to keep things organised.
If you feel at home at work then you're much more likely to relax and not stress as much. Decorate your desk with pictures, plants, pretty mouse-mats, etc. Bring home comforts into work with you, a cushion to make your seat more comfy, or perhaps your favourite tea bags.
'Eating is a coping mechanism when we are stressed,' says Jeannette Jackson, a Nutritional Biochemist & Stress Expert. 'As often as possible you should eat protein for lunch and carbohydrates for dinner. Protein helps to release dopamine, a neurtransmitter that helps with memory, concentration and alertness. This helps stop the afternoon energy slump. Carbs help release serotonin, which helps in relaxation and sleep, so you wake feeling refreshed and energised.'
Ann McCracken of The International Stress Management Association (ISMA) says that you should 'take regular short breaks to re-energise and refresh your mind and body'. If you take regular breaks then you will be much more focused when you get back to your desk. You should also try to 'reduce coffee/tea/red bull/coca cola and replace with fresh water'.
In moments of stress when you can't get away from your desk, take a few deep breaths. Inhale for five seconds, hold it for a few seconds and then exhale. It may sound simple, but a few deep breaths will help you relax.
Sometimes it helps to put things in perspective. Try relaxing by going to the sea; not only can water be calming, but it helps to see that there are other things away from your work stresses. Star-gazing is also good; lying and staring at your stars can make your troubles feel tiny in comparison to the rest of the world.
If you're already drowning in an avalanche of work and your boss asks you to take on another project, it's not the end of the world if you say you can't do it. Don't try to be Super Woman. It's better to do a normal amount of work well rather than doing piles of below average work. If you have too much to do then it's alright to ask for help.
If you're overwhelmed by your stress or are feeling suicidal, contact The Samaritans on 0845 909090 or drop into your local branch (address and telephone number in your local phonebook) or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.