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To Breathe or Not to Breathe: How to be a Cool Cucumber at Work

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

So, obviously, not breathing isn’t an option. It’s kind of important. But there are certain types of breathing that are better than others and can actually take those overworked, overstressed, want-to-punch-something moments and make them disappear.

Neon sign with the word breathe on a background of wines on a lattice

I know, less stress as a small business owner sounds amazing. Especially when you’ve sat at your desk and staring at a list of to-dos that are multiplying faster than Gremlins snacking after midnight. So, sit back and let’s walk through some of the easiest and most office-adaptable ways to fill up those lungs and let out the anxiety.

 

Before we dive in: the biggest thing to remember during all of these breathing tips is to focus on the actual breathing. It’s pretty much the key to clearing that stress-fog that likes to seep in and magnify every task at hand.


A still functional castle pictured on a sunrise with some early morning fog surrounding it
Is this your mind palace?

But when you give yourself a moment to truly focus on something else, i.e. your breathing, your mind begins to become impenetrable. That way you can actually create a little Mind Sanctuary in your head.


Fill that sanctuary with whatever you want… birds signing on a beautiful morning, colorful flowers blown by a light breeze, ice cold beer at a ball game, waves lapping the sand at the beach... you get the point.


Your inner sanctuary is a place where you can focus on and escape to. And it all starts with taking a moment for yourself and breathing.



Okay, let’s do this!


ENERGY BOOST: Simple 5 Count Breathing

neon sign of a lightning bolt hanging over a busy highway at night

This is perfect to get your mind in the right place and it’s one of the easiest to kick off and feel the benefits almost immediately.


You’re going to belly inhale for 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds. Really try and make each cycle go deeper than the last. You want to feel those lungs expanding and shrinking. Focusing on that expansion and contraction.


You want to do these at least 6 times, more if you have the time. Either way you’ll be grooving right along in no time. People may not even recognize you without that tell tale scowl.


Bonus: Here’s a nifty little tool help you truly visualize the movements until your body is doing them without thought:

 
 

A group of decreasing size rocks stacked on top of each other on a beach.
I always wanted to try this!

DE-STRESS & INVIGORATE: Pranayama


Meaning the extension of breath. The benefits of this one is two-fold. You'll feel a lighter stress load as well as being more energized to tackle the day.


You rock this method by alternating nostril breathing in intervals of 7, 11 and 21.


While at work, this type of breathing exercise will not only de-stress but also supplies oxygen to the entire blood stream. Helping you approach problems with increased function and vigor.


As a side bonus, you can ease that burden of small business ownership AND feel ready to run a marathon. Or hit the snack table… whichever one works for you, but pace yourself Schwarzenegger.




UNWIND: Relaxation Deep Breathing

an office with a concrete theme and one of the walls has punch today in the face painted on it.
But only the day, alright?

As the day progresses, we get ourselves twisted up in knots. Either by sitting in the same spot all day or the weight of the stressful decision in the pipeline. That's exactly why making sure to unwind every now and then is critical.


To do this method, start by taking a deep breath right from the bottom of your abdomen. Inhale and make sure your stomach is ballooning out to be certain you’re breathing from the deepest part of your center. Then let it out, slowly, through your nose, counting 5 seconds.


This is a super effective breathing exercise for relaxing any cramps or pains that are associated with seating positions in the office desk. Like that crinkly neck thing that always seems to set in around 2 PM? Or the fact that your butt has begun to feel like a petrified piece of coral… this can help that, too!



Guy in a cubicle both covered in sticky notes

BYE BYE PANIC: Equal Breathing


This is the perfect, on-the-fly technique best for when you have an impending item that you need to prep for. It can offer quick relief, allowing you to tackle your situation more skillfully.


Balancing the breath comes with perfect diaphragm control. Remember what we said up top? You want to see your stomach moving not your chest!


To start, inhale and exhale for a count of four each. This must be done through the nose which brings great flexibility to the diaphragms and synchronizes the breathing. This calms the entire nervous system thereby cooling the body naturally and relieving stress.


Ready to roll in and tell the boss his idea is a smoldering garbage pile? Or maybe you have a big pitch you’re worried about? This is the perfect exercise to get calm, stay calm and nail whatever is coming up.

 

Tried these exercises and feeling good, right? Ready to break down barriers and save the world one KPI report at a time? Okay so we’re idealists, what can we say?


Woman in a yoga outfit with her hand on her chest practicing some breathing exercise.
This can be you... at work!

I’m confident to say you’re at the very least, feeling a bit more mellow. And not as stressed as you were before you did any of the techniques above.


So boom! Baby steppin’ your way to less stress. Class dismissed.


If you've mastered the art of breathing, make sure to move on up to "Ohm'n Your Day" with some meditation! It's easily the next level in terms of taking your stress to the woodshed.


Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and if you’re finding yourself a bit lost as to where to start to implement these kinds of better health practices in your own office, reach out to us.


We can help you wade through the muck and create a plan that will help your office be as serene as can be. It all starts with a free consultation, book below!



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