Author: ratikah

The stressors at work are everywhere, pulling us in different – and often opposing – directions. They start as minor distractions at best and can lead to frenzy and long-term overwhelm over time. This in turn impacts our focus, performance, and satisfaction at work. We go home frustrated, tense, and short-tempered, unable to be present to our families and friends. All this, only to go to bed, wake up, and do it all over again.

How can we Zen ourselves back to calm throughout our workday, for our sake and for those around us?

How do we deflect the stressors? How do we restore our serenity?

Here are 7 tips to bring you back to tranquility several times in your day so that you can execute at work with purpose and creativity, and head home in the head and heart space to enjoy your evenings:

1. Go for a walk

When the going gets tough, the tough gets moving. Stepping away from your desk gives your brain a break and your body an outlet to release the stressors. By taking yourself out of your immediate surroundings, you distance yourself from the pressing issues just long enough to regroup and reset. It does not have to take a long time and it does not have to be a long walk. Get a drink. Refill your tea. Take a lap around your office. Find reasons to leave your desk. You will return with a new perspective and new energy to tackle your task.

2. Talk to a friend

If the walk didn’t work, get up again and walk right over to a coworker with whom you can commiserate. Verbalizing our stressors has an amazing way of reducing their charge. That clears the path for brainstorming and problem-solving. Or use your colleague as the more active distraction you need to put your thinking on pause and recollect yourself. If not in your office, pick up your phone and phone-a-friend. For bonus points, walk while you talk!

3. Stretch

Sitting is the new smoking so be sure to give your body regular stretch breaks. Done proactively throughout the day, this will actually fight off the fatigue you feel after a full day sitting at a desk. Aim for an hourly break to stretch your neck, shoulders, arms, hands, waist, legs, and ankles. There are apps available which alert you to stretch break time and guide you through simple stretches, or set your alarm and give yourself an hourly 3 minute break. Whatever you do, be consistent and don’t blow it off. Your body will thank you!

4. Meditate

Meditation is the ultimate practice to quiet the stressors. With your feet planted on the ground, hands on your knees, palms up, close your eyes, roll your shoulders back and take a few deep breaths. Keep your focus on your breathing – that will keep you in the present moment, not regretting the past or fretting about the future. Take a break from the fast-paced thinking by allowing your thoughts to pass without reacting to them. While this habit takes time to develop, you will find its benefits to be immediate and long-lasting.

5. Create a music moment

Replace the words swimming in your head with those of your favorite song for an instant escape. Tap your foot, snap your fingers, chair dance, or get on your feet and stomp out the stressors. Shift your attitude with the right song that delivers just the right message you need to return to your happy place. Create a playlist and celebrate an hour of work with a song and dance. If you can, play the music that connects you to your soul in the background while you work to create an ongoing zen-like state.

6. Write

If the requests are coming in faster than you can address them and you have so many thoughts buzzing in your brain, then quiet it all down by getting it on paper. Release the stressors through the power of your pen and watch as the chaos gradually comes to order. List what is on your mind, all of the tasks at hand, and how you are feeling. You will slowly begin to feel calmer and you may just find a solution to better your day.

7. Essential oils

Essential oils can instantly lift your spirits and redirect your energies. You can find them in your local natural food store. You can dab them on your wrist or under your nose to keep their potency contained to you or share with nearby workers by diffusing them throughout your office. Lavender is great for relaxing and calming your mind. Lemon will increase your alertness and productivity. Peppermint can rejuvenate and revitalize. Experiment with blends and find the ones that you love.

Work can be crazy. The days can be long and unforgiving. The only way to have the inner peace is to create it continuously throughout your day. These are a few ideas. Pick a couple, try them, and see what works for you. Then observe yourself when you are at your best and find creative ways to recreate that environment at work. In doing so, you will introduce more serenity to your work life and your home life – and both will thrive!

It is now April. Perhaps you have not written your goals, you have not set your intentions, you have not mapped out your annual plan, and you are beginning to feel a little off, without direction, ungrounded. Don’t worry — it is not too late to put pen to paper and create a remarkable year. Use these tips to get started.

  • Dream. Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Now is the time to dream. Take a deep breath, clear your mind, and take yourself to December 31, 2017. What do you want to look back at this year and celebrate? What do you want to feel proud about? What do you want your heart to be happy about? What do you want your soul to be grateful for? Jot down all of the things you want to accomplish, learn, explore, see, do, teach, share, and experience this year. What do you want to start? What do you want to finish? Who do you want to visit? Where do you want to travel? Where do you want to simplify? Where do you want to dive in? Think about the professional and personal aspects of your life. Consider relationships, career, health (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual), recreation and fun, and your finances. Create your bucket list. This is your time to brainstorm all of the reasons you will smile as you close out your year. Take 10-15 minutes to do this, and remember that you can always add to it later.

Some examples

    • Make exercising a natural and easy part of my week
    • Read one book a month
    • Establish myself as a contributing writer to SharpHeels.com
    • Arrange for biweekly date nights
    • Take a class on mindful parenting
    • Enjoy girlfriend time weekly
    • Have a wonderful trip to India
    • Cook a new recipe each week
    • Develop a meditation practice
    • Soak in self-care (monthly massage, spiritual sessions, reiki)
    • Go salsa dancing 2+ times a month


  • Prioritize. You now have a wide array of wonderful goodies to fill your 2017 basket. Go back through your list and select the things that will have the greatest impact in creating the kind of year you want to have. This is your 2017 list. Don’t throw out the rest because they may be perfect for one of your years to come.
  • Plan. On another sheet of paper or on your computer create twelve boxes, one for each month of this year. For your January and February boxes, think about what you did, what you accomplished, what you are proud of, and write those things in there. (You should still get credit for them!) Now go through each item on your 2017 list and consider what kind of action you will take in each of the rest of the months to make it happen. If you have something like, “Get fit” on your list, then you should put “Workout four times each week” in your March-December boxes. If you are excited to “Party on my Bahamas cruise,” then you may put exactly that in the month of your trip. Now is your time to think about what it will take to make your 2017 dreams come true.
  • Assess. Now take a look at your twelve-month plan. Is it realistic? Is there margin for the wonderful surprises that may find you mid-year? Is it overwhelming or inspiring? Make your edits to make this motivating and exciting for you.
  • Do. You have planned your work, so now work your plan. Put it where you can see it and reference it often. Check off items as you do them and give yourself a pat on the back.
  • Review. At the end of each month, take a look back. Which items got done? Jot down a few memorable details if there are any – it will be fun to read them at the end of the year. Which items didn’t get done, and why? Ask yourself if they are still worth doing. Now look to the month ahead of you. Carry over those items that didn’t get done but are still important. Remove items that are no longer important to you.       What needs to get scheduled? What do you need to block off time to do? Set aside the time to complete the items on your list. Add to your list if something new finds you. This is a fluid plan meant to ebb and flow with the amazing life it is helping you create. Set yourself up for success!
  • Repeat. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for the rest of the year. Stay focused, stay committed, and enjoy the life you are creating.
  • Celebrate. On December 31, 2017, take a look at your plan and revel in the magic you created. Celebrate everything you accomplished. Know that you were fabulous this year!

Then start the process again for 2018!