Beliefnet
Can you really turn your office into a spa? Darrin Zeer thinks so.

No matter how overprogrammed your schedule is, no matter how stressful your job, he's sure you can find ways to nurture yourself through the workday. "We're living very busy lives," said Zeer, a yoga teacher and business consultant who divides his time between Hawaii and California. "People often say they don't have any time during the workday. What I'm trying to attack is the few moments when you do have a break. Instead of making the stress more, step out of your day for 5 or 10 seconds and relax."

Zeer has published a guide for doing exactly that. "Office Spa" (Chronicle Books, $9.95), is full of stress-reducing tips to shepherd you from what he terms "Mellow Monday" all the way through "Fulfilling Friday." "If your computer freezes, instead of getting even more stressed out, take the moment," he said. "Flick open the book and try just one technique."

The advice ranges from New Age ("Imagine for a moment hiking through snow-capped mountains") to Old School ("Walk your worries away"). Some might sound a little goofy ("Pay attention to the busyness of your mind"); others seem obvious (keep mint mouthwash handy for use before presentations).

Zeer, who wrote an earlier book about office yoga, said he tried to keep the ideas practical. "When you're using alternative ideas that aren't always in the mainstream, it's important to make it accessible for people," he said. "I use a lot of ancient techniques like shiatsu and aromatherapy, but the techniques are pretty simple and doable."

So if you brew a cup of peppermint herbal tea at your desk, inhale deeply and "relax into the experience," as Page 51 advises. "Nobody's going to think you're strange," Zeer promises.

And if they do, that's their problem, although you might want to be discreet regarding the tips that involve taking off your shoes. Good colleagues and good bosses, Zeer said, want work to be a less stressful place. "They know if you're more calm and relaxed you'll be at work more," he said. "Your interactions will be more polite and helpful, and you'll be more efficient and more intelligent. When you're relaxed, the decisions you make are so much wiser."

Here are more tips from "Office Spa."

  • Depending on how accommodating your co-workers are, and how private your cubicle is, you might want to give them a try. The only advice we would add is to have a good explanation ready if the boss catches you barefoot.
  • Before work, eat breakfast wearing a morning mask of yogurt, oatmeal and honey.
  • Keep a vial of ylang-ylang oil in your desk and take a whiff when you get in. It's supposed to relieve anxiety.
  • Make room on your desk for a tea corner.
  • Trade in your chair for a Swiss ball, a big inflatable ball that forces you to sit up straight and keep your balance, thus improving posture.
  • Take off your shoes and massage your feet, preferably with a reflexology map handy.
  • Keep a container of healthy honey at your desk.
  • Revitalize yourself with a spritz of lavender oil dissolved in water.
  • Clear your thoughts with a sniff of eucalyptus oil.
  • Keep running shoes at your desk for errands and cozy slippers for late nights.
  • Take a power nap.
  • Roll your bare feet over a golf ball.
  • Put some flowers on your desk, and stop to smell them regularly.
  • Join the Discussion
    comments powered by Disqus