I don’t believe anyone can escape work stress in some capacity, from a nasty boss to a huge workload or fear of redundancy. In fact, statistics show up to 80% of us are affected.

If it gets overwhelming you must address the cause of the problem, but if your stress is low level or sporadic, tweaking your daily routine can make you more resilient.


When you’re feeling stressed, sit down in a quiet place and take a few deep breaths. Take this time to scan your body from head to toe. Where do you feel tension? Do you feel exhausted or full of adrenalin? When I’m stressed I always get the urge to run it out. Cardio exercise can reduce stress hormones and stimulate endorphin production, which helps you relax.

After a stressful day, this yoga and mindfulness sequence may also help. It works on a physical and mental level to quieten the mind and target physical tension.

Whatever you choose, don’t wait until you’re totally strung out to give it a go. Start when you feel good, keep it up regularly and then when the going gets tough, you have the tools you need to cope.


If you’re balancing on one leg there’s only one thing you can think about — and that’s balancing on one leg. If your mind wanders, your body wobbles. That’s why balances are the perfect antidote to a busy mind. Tree pose also opens the hips and releases the shoulders, which feels great if you’ve been hunched over a desk all day.

Transfer your weight onto your right foot and place the sole of your left foot on the inside of your right calf or thigh, depending on flexibility. When you feel stable raise your arms in a wide V shape.

Soften the jaw and breathe steadily for several breaths before changing feet.


Forward  bends increase the length of your exhalation, which has a calming effect. A standing forward bend also relieves tension from the spine and, as a mild inversion, it brings a boost of energy.

Keep your feet parallel or together and stand tall. Slowly begin to come forward — rounding the spine, arms dangling — into a forward bend. Stay here for several breaths. Bend your knees slightly and return to an upright position slowly, in the same way as you came into the pose.


This intense stretch targets shoulder tension. Sit comfortably. Raise your right arm and bend the elbow so the hand drops behind your back. Next reach around with your left hand to see if they touch. Keep your head in a neutral position. Stay here for several breaths before changing sides.


Photos by Sean Dwyer

Gaye Mullen of mindfulbusinessireland.com regularly works with stressed employees. Here she shares a simple yet effective mindfulness exercise that you can even practise at your desk.

‘Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor,’ she says. ‘Close your eyes or lower your gaze and rest your hands gently on your thighs.

‘Give permission for your body to relax and notice any sensations. Bring attention to your breath, focus on the belly. Breathing in belly rises, breathing out it falls. ‘Now inhale and imagine you are breathing in a deep navy blue colour. Retain the breath for five seconds and as you release slowly, visualise a light blue colour.

‘Connecting to your breath is a core mindful practice that is constantly available to you throughout the day.’

If you have a question email janine@thisisyoga.ie. Follow This Is Yoga on Facebook and Instagram; thisisyoga.ie

Published in the Irish Daily Mail, Tuesday May 22, 2018