Oct 09, 2020

World Mental Health Day: Staying the course with proven strategies to combat stress

  • Article
  • hse
  • Health, Safety and Environment
  • mental health

Work and daily life can be stressful, particularly during this period of uncertainty we are currently experiencing with the global COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, you can adopt some easy strategies to help you relax and refocus.

  1. Just breathe!

    When times are stressful, a good breathing session can help bring tension down a notch. Here are a few simple and easy tips you can try to master the art of belly breathing:

    • Close your eyes and take a few seconds to focus.
    • Inhale deeply through your nose and fill your belly with air. Hold your breath for a few seconds, then slowly exhale through your mouth, gradually releasing the air from your belly.
    • Repeat at least three times.

    Did you know that there are several apps available to help guide your breathing? Sit back and try some guided breathing exercises to promote relaxation.

    Express relaxation session to clear your mind

    This visualization technique allows you to quickly relieve tension. Practising the technique for at least three minutes will help clear your mind of intrusive or negative thoughts.

    • Close your eyes and take a few minutes to focus on an image, sound or word that pleases and soothes you.
    • Relax your forehead, jaw and shoulders.
    • Breathe slowly.
    • Limit your movements and don’t dwell on your thoughts.
    • Imagine a feeling of warmth moving from your head down to your shoulders. Bring that warmth all the way down to your left arm. Notice the difference between both arms.
    • Then move that warmth over to your right arm, then into your chest and abdomen.
    • Finally, let the heat continue to move down into your left leg, then the right.

    A number of apps are now available to guide you through short relaxation or meditation sessions. Sometimes, taking just 5 minutes in your day can make all the difference in your state of mind and allow you to refocus your priorities.

    Rethinking lunch

    Getting outside for some fresh air, stepping away from monitors and talking about something other than work at lunch are surefire ways to take a physical and mental break from work. Give yourself some time during the day to do something other than work so you can return to your desk stronger and better prepared to complete your tasks.

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