Chicago IVF Blog

Cut Stress Right Now - 8 Things You Can Do From Your Desk

Posted on March 17th, 2014

Those magazine articles telling us how to cut stress by taking more exercise, dancing our cares away and enjoying a long massage are all very well, but what about those times during the day when we need a remedy immediately? You're in the office. The phone is ringing. Deadlines are looming. If one more person appears with yet another request, you may just reach boiling point.

We often think that because we're in an office, we should ignore our senses when the best thing we can do is stimulate them. With this in mind, here a few quick fixes you can try for instant stress relief...

  1. Step Outside. Not always possible, I know, but a quick breath of fresh air, or even opening a window is often just the boost we need.
  2. Stop. Breathe. Smile. Take ten deep breaths in and out, and then smile. The very action of smiling has been shown to stimulate the brain into feeling more positive. If you feel silly grinning to yourself, keep a picture on your desk that will make you smile.
  3. One Thing at a Time. It all needs to be done but constant interruptions confuse projects and increase stress. If you're on the phone, close your email. If you're finishing that report, let voicemail take over the phone. Focus on one thing and then deal with the next. By the time you return that call, the problem may have solved itself.
  4. Herbal Relief. Most of us don't have an oil diffuser in our office but that doesn't mean we can't benefit from essential oils. Put a few drops of Lavender, Orange and Clary Sage essential oils on a face cloth or handkerchief and keep in your drawer or purse. When you need a quick stress relief, sniff it for a minute or so.
  5. Rip it up. Quickly write down everything that is bugging you right now on a piece of paper. Scrunch it up then rip it into shreds and flush it down the toilet. It may sound hokey but it can work as a great alternative to those little stress dolls.
  6. Tea Time. Stop everything and sip a cup of herbal tea or coffee. Don't worry about whether it's decaf if going without your caffeine fix is going to make you more cranky. The world isn't going to end in the 5 minutes it takes you to calmly sip your beverage of choice, and it can help to calm you down.
  7. Music. Something you sing along to is just going to provide distractions but a soothing instrumental piece can help you relax and stay focused. An attorney friend if mine wouldn't be without her movie soundtracks as she prepares for a deposition.
  8. Let It All Out. Just need to scream or punch something? Go ahead and do it. Close the door, or escape to a bathroom cubicle, punch a cushion, stomp on the floor, shout… sometimes you just have to get it out. Then take a deep breath and carry on with what needs to be done. A few words of advice though -- use discretion, and do not vent by shouting at someone else or you'll both end up feeling worse.

Fiona Young-Brown
Fiona Young-Brown is a Life Coach, specializing in helping executive women lessen stress and reprioritize their lives. Find out more at
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