November 19, 2015
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of lifestyle articles for overworked attorneys, presented by Firm Central’s practice management free trial program.
We’re human. With little time to relax, rejuvenate, and refresh, being a legal professional isn’t easy on the body. In a perfect world, attorneys and supporting staff would get a weekly massage which allows a release of tension and plenty of relaxation, however, [fill in any number of time-sucking, work-related stresses that prevent your body from working at capacity].
Instead, here are 5 tricks to manage stress and relax while in the office. Below are five quick and easy tips to de-stress in the office and refocus on work when a break is needed.
- Drink Water: Drinking enough water throughout the day enables your body to function correctly. Sufficient water intake helps with brain function, increases energy, and decreases pain and stress levels.
- Essential Oils: Create your own aromatherapy “breathe jar” by placing cotton balls in a jar with a few drops of essential oils. Open the jar, place it under your nose and inhale slowly and deeply. You could also add a few drops of essential oil to an everyday hand lotion, which is beneficial aromatically and topically. Suggestions: Lavender is an excellent stress-relieving scent and has a calming effect. Citrus oils, such as Wild Orange, are uplifting and energizing.
- Deep Breathing Exercise: Sit back comfortably in your chair. Place one hand over your stomach, and the other hand over your chest. Inhale through your nose; you should feel the hand on your stomach rise while the hand on your chest moves very little. Exhale through your mouth, feeling your hand sink into your stomach while the hand on your chest again moves very little. Focusing on each breath, try to do this for about 10 minutes.
- Muscle Tension Technique. Although it sounds counterintuitive, this helps to lower stress and relax by deliberately tensing a certain area of muscle and then allowing it to relax. Focus on the area of concern—for example your shoulders. Inhale, and then tighten the muscles in your shoulders. Hold for ten seconds and then let your shoulders relax. Then exhale and feel the tension melt away. Relax for 15 seconds and move on to another area.
- Stretching: Take breaks to move and stretch. Stretching helps to break up muscle strain and may improve relaxation.
- Stretch your forearms by moving your wrists up and down or in circular motion.
- This motion can also be done with your feet to help stretch your lower legs.
- Stretch your neck down or from one side to the other.
- Stretch your spine by sitting straight in your chair, hands clasped behind your head and slowly turning to the right so you are comfortably looking behind you. Hold for a few seconds then repeat the other side.
- Stretch your shoulders by lifting them up and down or in a circular motion.
One or two of these tips will help when you find yourself trying to overcome stress at the office. Maybe just one will do the trick, or perhaps a combination of a few. When you are able to, and even though it may sound out of reach, take time for yourself to de-stress and rejuvenate your mind and body. You work too hard to not take time for yourself, so live life with a healthy balance of work and relaxation.