Why chamomile, tennis balls and pencils could be the key to conquering work-place stress

By Esther Cato 

You’ve 84 messages in your inbox, your boss is calling you into the office because of something you’ve forgotten to sign off on Friday, your colleague Hayley is an incessant talker, who can’t stop bleating on about her new Boston Terrier Max which she rescued from Battersea at the weekend, (as happy as you are for her) it’s making you irritable as you just need a moments peace to focus on your ever evolving to do list! To top it all off, you’ve just spilled bacon roll grease down your shirt, on any other day it wouldn’t matter.. but today you’ve a client presentation in less than an hour…

Oh and …did I mention it’s only 9:15am on Monday morning?

Sound familiar?

Don’t worry, even Thor has his bad days. The first thing that you need to realise is that (unlike Thor) you’re human, therefore this myth of multi tasking only serves to make you feel inadequate.

You actually need to embrace Stress and work with it not against it.

Studies actually show that multi tasking is a Stress inducer and that working methodically may take longer, but it means you are more thorough, less likely to make mistakes and have to check something through obsessively , therefore actually saving time and you stay in the present moment.

You may have heard about staying in the moment. It’s a Mindfulness term which I was introduced to around 12 years ago. It’s now very much widely promoted and has its benefits.
Staying in the moment means that you are focused 100% on what you need to do and right now you need the tools to relax.

Enter The Office Survival kit!

You will need the following!

  • Chamomile Tea
  • 70-100 per cent Dark Chocolate / Carub
  • Tennis Ball
  • Lavender essential oil
  • Blue card or a digital Under water Scene / Sky Scene
  • Desk top pot plant (preferably a little shrub / mini tree)
  • A pencil

It might look like a conveyor belt of odd gifts on the

​worst ever episode of The ​Generation ​G​ame, but the items above are literally all you need to combat a dose of the office blues.

Drink Tea

Studies have shown that drinking Chamomile Tea not only lowers blood pressure, but it has a calming effect which if consumed in vast amounts can greatly relax your digestive muscles. It’s a great aid to sleeping and has been known to help with anxiety. So if you’re a big PG tips drinker , you may need to slow down to only 2 cups of this golden nectar per day and substitute it for some soothing Chamomile.

Eat Chocolate 

I love chocolate, who doesn’t really? In fact I love it so much that I actually designed a massage treatment being smothered in Chocolate Oils. I know it sounds weird.. but don’t knock it till you’ve tried it, it’s divine.

The downside of chocolate is well documented, weight gain, acne, but no one really talks about how good chocolate is for you. It can actually help you to lose weight, but in this case, when consumed over a period of a month, scientists researching on behalf of Nestle, found that just two blocks of chocolate a day can greatly reduce stress levels in the human body. You just need to make sure that it’s between 70-100% organic, dark chocolate. So off you go, grab some chocolate!

Self Massage with Tennis Balls 

A tennis ball? really? Are we about to start hosting Wimbledon indoors all over offices in the UK?

No, not quite. In fact you don’t need a racket for this. I use Tennis balls to treat my clients and help them to treat themselves by identifying and applying pressure to their trigger points when they are at home.

Tennis balls are very effective in reducing areas of tension in the body.

One simple trick is to get two regular sized Tennis balls, place them on either side of your upper back just in between your shoulder blade and spine and lean against a wall.

You can also roll up and down, your colleagues might glare at you with wonder but you will end up having the last laugh as the release of tension you get is awesome.

When you’ve embarrassed yourself enough, kick off your shoes, sit down and place a ball under each of your feet and roll them forward and back from your toes to your heel applying a gentle pressure.

This instant foot massage has many benefits including improving your circulation and is actually burning a few calories whilst you sit at your desk. It also focuses your mind on the present whilst you work on that presentation.

Sniff Lavender Oil 

For instant calm put a few drops of pure essential Lavender Oil on your wrists and inhale in gently until you feel your shoulders drop down.

Lavender is a natural relaxant but again use this in moderation.

Watch the Fish or the Clouds go by

Set your desk top to display an aquatic underwater scene, studies prove that shown various visual stimuli, groups of people of all ages prefer to look at the colour blue for the longest period of time, they really identify with under water scenes or fluffy clouds in a blue sky.

Plant a Plant 

Put a little plant pot on your desk. Not only will you have something else to tend to besides your work but it gives you an extra boost of oxygen, and who can say no to that?

Bite Down on a Pencil

Last but not least, you should have a ready supply of pens or pencils on your desk.

Whenever you start to feel stressed, depressed or moody, place a pencil in your mouth horizontally and grip it firmly between your teeth for one minute. Psychologist Richard Wiseman has identified that the upward movement of the muscles in your mouth creates an artificial smile which the brain cannot recognise as true or false. The movement sends a message to your brain to release more Seratonin, that feel good hormone and so you should get a rush of the ‘Happy Hormone’ within a minute.

I hope I’ve helped to create a happier workspace for you. If stress or back pain is causing you a real issue then do pop in and book yourself a treatment on the Chamomile Couch at Gracelands Yard Kensal Rise or in the comfort of your own office, I’ll have you relaxed and less Stressed in no time at all!

Esther Cato is a qualified massage therapist ​and provides complementary massage therapy to clients in various settings. She is also a qualified psychologist and has worked in a supportive capacity in residential rehabilitation and care settings to those in active recovery.

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