File folders piled on the edge of your tiny desk, a group of 5 articulation students due into your room in 6 minutes, an inbox full of unanswered e-mails, and that annoying blinking light incessantly alerting you to those voicemails that await you. You’re beginning to wonder if SLP stands for Stressed-Language Pathologist! Taking time for yourself can be difficult but here are a few ways to de-stress in 5 minutes or less and are easy to accomplish at your desk, in your car, etc.
- Green Tea: Sipping on herbal Green Tea (a source of L-Theanine) can help relieve anger! Perfect for post-IEP meetings or that tough group! Keep a stash at work and grab a cup of tea when you need it!
- Stress Ball: I’m sure you’ve grabbed a stress ball/object at a conference or the like. Keep one nearby and squeeze when you’re feeling a tiny bit violent 😉
- Chocolate: You heard me, chocolate! Dark chocolate can help to regulate your cortisol (stress hormone) levels! You just need a nibble (1-1.5 oz) so keep a bit of delicious dark goodness in your drawer and nosh on it when you’re feeling a bit stressed!
- Jaw: Release tension in your jaw – where many of us carry stress without knowing! An easy way to do this is to open your mouth wide for about 30 seconds, breathing normally, and then gently release it back to a closed position.
- Smells: Smelling citrus fruits can increase norepinephrine, a stress-related hormone, and help decrease your stress! Also, a nose full of coffee aroma helps reduce stress hormones! (you don’t actually have to eat/drink these… just a sniff!)
- Cold Water on your Wrist: Do you have access to water? Great! Dab a bit on your wrists and even behind your earlobe. Major arteries run through those areas and cooling these can help calm your entire body!
- Gum: Now, in full disclosure, I detest gum (misophonia is real!)! But, a few quick minutes of chewing gum can also lower cortisol! So, go for it…
- Breathe!: It’s that simple. Take time for some slow and deep breaths. This helps to lower heart rate and blood pressure and is easy to do anywhere! Closing your eyes while you do this helps too! (just don’t close your eyes while driving)
- Take a walk: Get outside, grab some sun, be alone and quiet, and walk. Just a quick walk around a track or the block can help. If you can’t take a walk, just stand in the sun or look out the window at the nature around you. Any of these can help you to de-stress!
- Music: Listening to one of your favorite songs can help you to de-stress! If needing to relax, try some classical music. Needing a pick-me-up, try a fun new pop song. Whatever lifts you up and makes you feel great!
- Laugh: Laughing lowers cortisol as well! It also boosts endorphins which lighten your mood! Tons of great funny video clips are easy to find on YouTube. You can also peruse comic strips, ecards, memes, etc. for a pick me up!
- Clear the Clutter: Organize those piles. Remove unnecessary bits from view and get everything looking neat. Keep only the most pressing docs on your desk and move the rest to a drawer or folder. This can also apply to desktop on your computer if it is overrun with documents and to-dos.
- Shoes: Taking off your shoes and even doing a quick foot massage, stretch, or rolling your foot over a golf ball can help reduce stress. Plus, if you’re wearing uncomfortable shoes, a break from those will automatically make you feel better!
- Look Up: Take a look at the ceiling and count backwards from 60. Looking up stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system and lowers blood pressure and rate of breath.
- Support/Lift up Another Person!: Focusing on others and spending a few minutes to support them or write a quick note to a colleague helps you to focus on something besides your stressors. Plus, you’ll probably help them to de-stress too!
So, take a few minutes to de-stress. Not only will you feel better, but you will be better at your job. An important job that can impact lives! Get de-stressed and enjoy your day at work!