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HR Magazine: Avoiding HR Burnout

By Linda Wasmer Andrews  7/1/2003

HR Magazine, July 2003 Vol. 48, No. 7

Stress Relief Anywhere, Anytime

Whether you're sitting in a meeting, typing on your computer or talking on the phone, these exercises can help you de-stress fast.

  • "Take at least 40 deep breaths every day," says L. John Mason, an executive coach from Cotati, Calif. If your phone rings a lot, don't answer it on the first ring. Instead, let it ring an extra time or two while you take a slow, deep breath, then exhale fully. If you're a clock-watcher, Mason suggests sticking a Post-it reminder on the clock. Every time you look at the clock, the Post-it is your cue to take another deep breath.

  • Take an elevator ride in your mind. "Imagine yourself riding down in an elevator, watching the floors as you descend and relaxing more deeply as you pass each floor," says Mason. You can also inhale slowly and deeply as you reach a new floor, then exhale fully before you get to the next one.

  • Do some gentle stretches at your desk.

To relax your shoulders: Raise your right shoulder up toward your ear, then slowly lower it all the way back down a few times. Next, gently roll your right shoulder all the way forward and all the way back a few times. Repeat on the left side. Then lift and lower both shoulders at once a few times.

To relax your neck: Drop your chin to your chest and feel the weight of your head stretch the back of your neck. Hold for a few seconds before returning to the starting position. Next, drop your right ear as close as you can to your right shoulder without raising the shoulder. Hold for a few seconds before returning to the starting position. Then, slowly turn your head to look as far as you can over your right shoulder. Hold for a few seconds. Repeat on the left side. 

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