Workplace Stress

floral-865823_640We got to the point that stress is a constant factor in our lives. Stress is particularly high in the workplace. Instead of constant suffering from the impact of stress why don’t you try to find ways to reduce your stress and enjoy your work life? Do you think this is impossible?

Here are a few easy tips to help you with stress reduction!

Create your day. It is so easy to get caught up in the negative atmosphere in a workplace. That is why it is paramount that you decide to create the experience you want to have. Resolve each morning that you will focus on the positive and not indulge in gossip or any other activity that brings down the morale at the office. Focus on the best and strengthen the good you find in your work and in your company!

How can you create your day? It is best done the day before:

  • Plan ahead of time so you know what to focus on the next day!
  • Decide how you want to feel when you wake up tomorrow morning.
  • Prepare your dress, your breakfast in advance for an easy start tomorrow. Pack a healthy snack or even a lunch so you never stress about eating something healthy.
  • Take at least a minute (or more if you possibly can) and create an image of tomorrow: how you feel, what you get done, etc.
  • Remember to breathe! Take a relaxing, deep breath whenever you notice stress inching its way into your life.

Give yourself plenty of rest. Sleeping between seven and eight hours a night gives the body time to repair you. Lack of sleep causes jitters, lack of concentration, irritability, and health problems. How can you get more sleep? Decide how much time you want to spend with media consume. Nowadays it is our media consumption that cuts back on our sleep time. you are just a decision away from having more relaxation time and getting to bed earlier! Don’t forget about social media, that counts as media consumption, too!

Leave early for more Zen. Traffic jams, accidents, car problems, kids waking up late and noticing a run on your stockings… and stress is programmed in the first hours of your day. Build in time for error, especially if you stress out easily. General rule of thumb: plan twice as much time as you think something will take. So if you believe your commute will take 30 minutes tomorrow morning, try to hit the road an extra 30 minutes earlier. What if you arrive 20 minutes earlier at your office? Enjoy the sanest 20 minutes of the work day! Can you imagine how much focused preparation and planning you could get done with minimal distractions before everybody else arrives totally stressed from the daily commute to work?

If you take action on just one of the tips you just read, you will experience a reduction of pressure. Don’t just read these tips! Pick one and put it into practice right away! And please share your experience below in the Comment section.

Why is Thai Yoga Massage Private so Beneficial?

buddhism-462358_640We are often the ones making life so darn difficult: over-scheduled lifestyles, lack of spontaneity, poor sleep, erratic diets, judgmental thinking. This built up mismanaged energy does not need more doctors and pills, but perhaps some sacred realignment time to finding more happiness and greater fulfillment.

One of the best ways to improve the quality of our relationship to ourself and others is to bring our energy back into balance. Many studies tell us that a healthy lifestyle not only requires less energy to maintain but also elevates our appetite for life. With greater energy, we may step outside our regular comfort zone, and take long walks, or practice compassion, offering forgiveness. Respecting our time management skills, pays back double, as we gain both vitality and insight and have bigger desires to set and meet new personal goals.

Traditional Thai Yoga massage is an ancient form of therapeutic healing. It’s roots are in India from where it was brought to Thailand over 2000 years ago by Ayurvedic doctors and Buddhist monks. It combines acupressure, energy balancing, stretching and applied yoga exercises. Traditional Thai Yoga massage is a unique and powerful massage therapy. This very ancient form of bodywork, is excellent both for those extremely stressed as well as those with many years of yoga and meditation experience.

Receiving a Thai Yoga Massage is unlike any other kind of experience. An experienced Thai Yoga instructor will apply the harmonious vibration of “metta” bringing about a most tranquil and blissful feeling through the mind/body. When we are receiving Thai Yoga Massage, we feel fully supported, nurtured and encouraged to be ourself. This supreme state of relaxation results in feelings of safety, trust and revitalization at the deepest level.

Using our primary muscles of breathing, we inhale, expanding the abdomen, allowing the diaphragm to release, the lung tissue to expand and the deep, rich oxygenated breaths to flow. We may let life unfold without attaching to results. It is there that we are able to circulate the body with life force energy and wire our brain to stay calm, confident and centered right in the center of change.

Thai yoga massage has been offered at Clayton Yoga since 2006 and since that time, Michelle Maue has offered over 150 Thai Yoga Massages. Thai Yoga Massage provides us with greater intuition, strengthens the heart chakra, and helps us make better lifestyle choices. For frazzled souls, seeking quick solutions, Thai Yoga Massage helps to balance us from the inside out.

To feel amazing from the inside out, why not contact Michelle Maue at 314-630-1677, and book your first Thai Yoga Massage session with us today! relaxation, Clayton Yoga

Learning To Relax To Prevent Burnout

chrysanthemum-659111_640Learning to relax is one skill that will support you in all situations in life. If you looking to decrease the chance of getting burned out you definitely want to practice relaxation at will.

Why is relaxation so important? You might create free time by traveling or taking a few hours off your usual schedule and visit a spa. You might physically stop working and give yourself the time to relax – sounds great, right? But you don’t give yourself a mental break!

If you’re relaxing on the couch but you’re ruminating and stressing about your page long to-do list, then you are not getting the recharging break that you need! The time you think is all about relaxation became just another type of stress.

In order to properly recharge and to avoid adrenal fatigue you need to switch your mind off as well and you need to avoid additional sources of stressors.

Do you think that crashing in front of the TV on the couch will get your batteries recharged? Not at all. Here is what’s happening: your cortisol levels will increase due to the unnatural light from the TV, your joints might ache as a result of bad posture and of course you might eat a few extra calories that you don’t need. To make it all worse: you’re probably going to still be panicking and stressing about all the work that needs to get done while you stare at the screen.

The best thing you can do to recharge your batteries? Exercise! Do you feel that hitting the gym is just putting more stress on you? There are so many other ways you can get your mental break while exercising! How about taking a funky dance class? Or taking a ballet class? Maybe Tai Chi is more your thing. The important thing is to find an exercise that you love and value. If it feels like a punishment… keep exploring.

Why don’t you enjoy the great outdoors? Look for gentle exercise like a brisk walk in a nearby park. The natural setting will help you to relax while the light exercise will trigger the release of serotonin – a natural antidepressant and a perfect tonic for our stress hormones.

Practicing yoga is an awesome solution for relaxation. Vinyasa flow is perfect for helping you get into a flow like state where stress seem to melt away. St. Louis Corporate Yoga offers Vinyasa classes perfectly adjusted to the stressful setting of corporate life. When your company is willing to invest in on site classes, you don’t even have to travel to the yoga studio… as the yoga instructor comes to you before or during work hours.

In order to properly relax, you need to distract your brain, you need to stimulate the production of serotonin and you need to avoid screens. Better yet, try to choose something that you genuinely enjoy and that you can look forward to. This is about the most important thing because when you do something you love doing, it will produce all the right neurochemicals.

Interested in setting up customized corporate yoga classes at your workplace? We would love to help! Call Michelle at 314-630-1677  to take the first step.



How to Recover From Burnout

daisies-342616_1280In our last blogposts we discussed the signs that you might be suffering from burnout. What to do when you realize that burnout is part of your life? First of all, in order to prevent further damage to your health, please consult your GP or a specialist. Getting all the health support you can get is very important in this situation.

Of course, there are steps that you can take on your own to support your recovery. Here are our suggestions:

Distance yourself

The most obvious way to help yourself recover from burnout is to schedule some time off from your work or whatever else it is that is causing you stress. Please bear in mind that going on holiday can be stressful on its own. If getting away to a sunnier place is not on the cards right now, you can still distance yourself from the source of stress by taking a local holiday. Book yourself a long weekend and stay in a spa where you can get various treatments and completely relax your mind. And if yoga is on offer, don’t forget to take a class or two.

Taking a yoga retreat might be just what the doctor ordered. You have virtually unlimited choices with so many different retreats offered nowadays. Just search on Google or go to this comprehensive website to find a retreat you love.

Hit “reset”

What if you have no chance to travel? As an alternative, you might decide to dedicate a whole day simply to having a ‘refresh’. This means taking some time out to address smaller stressors and to make life easier for yourself where possible.

You might tidy your apartment, declutter and throw out things you don’t need. Maybe you’ll get a new laptop, maybe you’ll stock up on healthy food or maybe you’ll take time out of your normal schedule in order to catch up on all those emails in your overflowing inbox. While these might seem like small, simple things; they will combine to give you the feeling of being ‘on top’ of everything! This means a little less to take up your mental energy going forward. As a result you’ll be more resilient to stress and much less likely to suffer from burnout again.

Sometimes you just have to hit the ‘reset button’ and while you’re at it you might want to get a new haircut or outfit as a visual reminder of your new lease on life and new attitude. Yes!

Remove the primary stressors

Whatever issue have led you to burn out, you need to work on remedy that situation. The best way to tackle stress and thus to give yourself more mental energy, is to identify an ongoing stressor and then eliminate it.

Taking time off will allow your body to recover and you can use burnout prevention techniques to ensure that the problem doesn’t come back. But if the issue is something more pressing like a troubled relationship, like a bad job or like an illness, then you should also focus on trying to solve that issue. Sometimes this won’t be possible… still just paying conscious attention and coming up with options will make you feel more in control of your life.

In case of severe and ongoing workplace stress for instance you need to look for solutions at your company. Talk to your HR department and manager – be proactive and bring your suggestions on how to improve your situation. And if there is no other option, you might consider looking into finding a new job.

Remember: distance yourself, hit reset and eliminate stressors in order to recover from burnout! Take time to take care of yourself! You can do this!


You – Burning Out?

burnout-90345_1280Spotting burnout early can be a real challenge. You might be so stressed that “spending time” on noticing the early symptoms is not possible. And even if you notice that something is gravely wrong in your life, denial might be the first answer. “It will get better… It is not so bad…It is just this week” – we can get really creative coming up with good reasons not to worry just yet.

Learning to spot burnout is the first crucial step in getting a handle on it. You can’t fight what you can’t see – learn to identify the warning signs when they first emerge.

Signs you might be suffering from burnout

Here are a few early signs that you might be experiencing psychological and physical burnout:

  • Difficulty to wake up in the morning or get to sleep in the evening – any issues you experience around sleep you must take seriously. Sleep deprivation causes serious health issues and influences all parts of the body. Also falling asleep at unsuitable times/in unsuitable places is a symptom you cannot ignore.
  • You find it hard to concentrate at work or at home. Do you try to focus on a priority just to experience your thoughts wandering and getting nothing done? You get started but stop doing your project and look for a distraction? Do you find yourself engaging in activities for a short time (maybe only minutes) then starting another thing and then another …. and not finishing any of them? We all have this distracted pattern from time to time but if you begin experience this every day, you need to pay attention!
  • No motivation to get out of bed in the morning and losing your enthusiasm for things that would normally excite you. You forget how to believe in yourself. You lose hope. You experience dark depressive thoughts. All signs that you need to take some time to consider if you are just having a bad day or getting burned out.
  • When you work out, you might notice symptoms of overtraining such as lethargy and achy joints that make it hard to train. Those small “aches and pains” become more prominent and hard to ignore. You might even decide to reduce your fitness activities as a result.
  • Irritability with yourself and others. Do you find it increasingly difficult to deal with family, friends, and coworkers? Feel like screaming at your kids all the time? No tolerance with yourself when you make a mistake? Your closest family members complaining about how difficult it is to live with you? All warning signs of burning out.
  • You procrastinate even more than normal – and spend precious time on mindless activities. Playing games on Facebook or surfing online is all fine unless those become the major activities you practice in your off time.
  • Changes in your weight and appetite. A sudden loss of appetite and losing weight is a warning sign especially if before you had difficulty managing your weight. On the other hand you might turn to high calorie “distractions” and with the loss of interest in fitness as discussed above – you might well put on weight.
  • You become ill all the time, you easily catch all colds and flus going around. And then it takes longer than normal to get back to your healthy self again. Skin problems can be the first signs of burning out! Also getting headaches, indigestion, IBS or Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) can be signs of burnout. Please take some time and talk to your GP about these health issues. The sooner you seek help, the quicker is your recovery.

Not everybody experiences all the same symptoms, of course. You won’t necessarily find that all of the above apply in your particular case. Nevertheless, these are some of the biggest signs of burnout and some of the things you are most likely to notice if you are experiencing it.


Start Meditating Today

woman-481769_1280Did you notice that chronic and severe stress levels are becoming the norm for society? Many of us are so used to their stress that we do not notice it until it begins to significantly affect our health.

Meditation is an essential practice that will help you to recognize when you’re feeling stressed as well as give you the tools you need to overcome and remove these feelings.

How Meditation Works

Meditation teaches you to practice focused attention and concentration in order to bring about peace and tranquility. It is a mindfulness exercise that requires you to learn how to identify thoughts and feelings on a deeper level. This helps you to become in tune with your body so that you can recognize what you’re feeling while you’re feeling it and understand what it means.

Meditation is best done in a quiet place where there are little to no distractions. To get started, find a place where you feel at ease like your bedroom, living room, the library, the park, or the beach. The key is to choose a location that is soothing to you.

Usually during meditation practitioners focus on a prayer or mantra that helps them to welcome calm energy. Adding deep yoga breathing and tranquil thoughts while sitting in an upright posture that encourages clear thinking and easy breathing helps tremendously.

If you are focusing on stressful thoughts and memories, you will notice that your body is tensed. Your shoulders may be up to your neck, your back tight, your fists clenched, and your toes curled. Let these thoughts go and notice your body begin to relax. Through meditation, you will be able to become more in tune with yourself.

Why start meditating?


Mindful meditation will help you in many different ways:

  • boost your energy levels all day every day
  • help you find inner peace
  • reduce stress to manageable levels in your work and private life
  • increase your mind and body awareness
  • boost your ability to focus and concentrate in your job
  • improve your sleep quality and being able to fall asleep faster
  • improve your quality of life and well being
  • strengthen your immunity so you get ill less and less
  • reduce chronic pain
  • lower blood pressure
  • will help your heart to stay healthy
  • support you on your weight management journey
  • improve your cognitive flexibility and help you become more creative
  • boost your memory
  • reduce depression and help you get a more positive outlook on life
  • can also support you dealing with anxiety
  • all in all it will help you greatly to enjoy your life at a deeper level!

With so many wonderful gifts meditation can give you, there is no reason to wait another day before starting your practice.

Do you need help getting started with meditation? Ask your corporate yoga instructor to create a joyful meditation for your next corporate yoga class!

Let us help you set up an awesome company yoga program for your organization. Feel free to give us a call at 314-630-1677 and we will be happy to assist you to find the very best wellness program for your special company and employee needs!





Laugh Stress Away

cute-18716_640Is it really possible to laugh stress away? Yes! Laughing is the best medicine!

A good laugh will increase your oxygen intake, stimulate your organs and relax your stress response. Who can think negative thoughts when laughing? No. You will feel happy and that state can even strengthen your immune system. All great benefits to have every day of your life. That is why it is so important to make sure to get your daily dose of smiles and laughs!

If you are having an especially stressful day, use our tips to feel lighter. (Depending on your work situation, you might not want to engage with these tips when you are at your office. What about right before and after your workday?)

Create a humor journal. Gather the funniest jokes and comments which make you laugh out load. When you feel less than energized, just read this journal for a few hearty laughs!

Learn to tell a joke. You might need to practice this skill if you are not a stand-up comedy talent. But once you master this skills, you will be able to entertain your co-workers and lighten up stressful situations at the office.

Can you laugh at yourself? Everybody fails and makes mistakes – don’t take yourself too seriously. People who can actually laugh at themselves have a higher self-esteem compared to those who cannot.

Just smile. Even if you don’t feel laughing out loud, you can still create a big smile on your face. You will feel happier instantly!

Make humor part of your days. Look out for funny films and good jokes. You will be able to find a lot of funny entertainment online, just search Google or YouTube. Set up your own fun channel on YouTube to have your favorites in one place.

Here are 4 videos randomly from our own selection:

No Soup For You! This is a classic that still makes people laugh – from Seinfeld

The weird things couples fight about – so hilarious! Next time you feel stressed with your partner, just watch this together.

Everything is amazing and nobody is happy – in the mood for some comedy?

What is your favorite joke or funny video? Feel free to share it below in the comments section so we can have a good laugh with you!


Make Vacation Time Real Relaxation Time

beach-84533_640You have been waiting long for your vacation. Why do the first days always feel just like any other day of the year? Packing and traveling to your destination can be stressful.

Have you ever felt you only truly enjoy your vacation in the last few days? Feeling you lost so much time getting used to being on vacation that you missed out on all the fun and joy?

How to make every minute of your vacation count this year:

  1. Begin your vacation before you travel. Prepare mentally for your time away. Check out your destination on Google Maps. Read reports about your destination from fellow travelers on TripAdvisor.
  2. Get a realistic picture of your destination. Even the occasional negative review will help you a lot. At least you know what to prepare for. If you find a common theme in those evaluation of, say, medical and health supply items being overpriced or simply not available, you can bring your own.  Less frustration – more joy!
  3. Don’t overplan. What good does it do to be on vacation when all your days are planned minute by minute exactly like at home? Give yourself total free time. Free from “musts” and “shoulds”. Check out all available entertaining options if you want but restrain yourself from filling your every minute with sight-seeing trips, museum visits and other things travelers supposed to do at the travel location.
  4. If you have the chance, plan on having a day between work and vacation so you can pack without stress and take care of small chores before you hit the road.
  5. Give yourself 3 days to get used to your vacation location.  The different climate, food or customs will take some time to get used to. It is unrealistic to expect that you will feel totally at home the minute you arrive!
  6. Decrease your expectations. Most of the times we look at the vacation time to solve all our relationship issues. In fact, statistics say that families argue more than usual when away. Why? All the routine programming that makes life easier at home is gone. Plus they spend more time together in one day than in a week back home. So automatically there is a bigger chance of conflict.
  7. Gift yourself with time alone. Of course it is wonderful to spend so much time with your friends or family. Don’t forget about your own needs, though. Enjoy time alone at the beach, get up earlier for a morning run or book a massage session for yourself.
  8. Do nothing, just be. Give yourself the gift of a “Do nothing” day. Sleep as much you feel like, eat when you feel like, read a book in a day, jump into the pool, daydream…. Without checking the time once. Be in a flow of life, just be!
  9. Do some yoga if you feel like it. As inspiration, below is a yoga video Michelle made at her last Grenada yoga teacher training.

Wishing you the vacation of a lifetime!




Unexpected Cause of Work Place Stress?

secretary-338561_640Work stress – what do you think about when you hear this term? Most probably you mention ever increasing workloads, difficult co-workers, challenging bosses and managers. Oh, and how can we forget about the everyday commute back and forth? Decreasing demand for the company’s products and services, mergers and acquisitions add to the list. No wonder that work stress is mentioned most frequently among stress factors in life.

There is one unexpected stress factor you may not have considered yet. It isn’t the people or your salary – according to one study – but where you sit that results in whether or not you feel stressed out at work. Interesting!

Studies have shown the correlation between workspace and stress levels. One study proved that private offices resulted in less stress than open space offices where workers have cubicles they call their own.

In an open space it is easy to get stressed because you might feel being watched the whole day and you never have a moment of down time. Increased noise can cause stress because all the distraction it brings. Many people feel stressed when they’re trying to work and are exposed to chatter in the background.

Sitting in an office where you’re exposed to a hot window or the blast of a too-cold air conditioner pointed at you? None of these situation will help you have a balanced, stress-free day!

Now take a minute and look around your work space. Where do you sit? What about your surroundings? How is the temperature? The noise level? How does this place make you feel? What would you think when you visited your own office space? What would you think about the person who works there? Do you like your desk, your cubicle or office?

Do you feel less than happy with your work space? Here are a few tips to make your office space less daunting!

First, consider how you can fix things yourself. How about adding a little personalization? Add family photos, a green plant or flowers, and some knick knacks that make you feel like the space is less sterile.

Now if your work area actually killing your productivity, you might need to discuss this with the management. Too much noise, inadequate air flow, less than appropriate lightning will make you less effective in your job! Talk to your boss about the loss of productivity you suffer and he/she might be able to find a better space for you – sometimes you just need to ask!

If the area where you work is dimly lit, you can bring your own lighting or ask for a place by the windows. Consider adding some of your favorite colors to the work area.

If you’re in a position where you’re overwhelmed with aromas like popcorn cooking in the break room or a co-worker’s strong perfume, then bring a diffuser of your favorite essential oils to work to give you some much needed stress relief via aromatherapy.

Take proactive action to create a better work environment for yourself!



Is Stress as Contagious as a Yawn?

baby-19295_640Have you ever seen someone yawn in front of you and instantly felt the need to yawn as well? Have you ever seen a yawn go viral during a boring meeting?

According to new research stress can be as contagious as a yawn. Stress is something we can’t see or hear (like we can a yawn), but it’s something that’s every bit as contagious. Who would have thought that?

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the Technische Universitat Dresden discovered that not only can someone else’s stress seep into your world if you’re in close contact with them, but even watching stress unfold on TV can wreak havoc in your world.

It’s called empathetic stress, and even though you might not know or care about the people on TV, your mind is capable of empathizing with the characters. It is truly amazing how we can get involved with those stories we watch on TV!

Scientists were able to measure the stress hormone cortisol that freely flooded the bodies of those who were around someone else’s stress – even though they, themselves weren’t put into a stressful situation.

During the study, 95% of those confronted with stress experienced higher cortisol levels. But almost 30% of bystanders who were strangers did, too! The number jumps when the stress involves someone you love. If someone close to you is under stress, then you’re 40% more likely to stress out yourself.

How many times do we get involved in stressful situations at work? During demanding meetings, managing an important team project or working through mergers – we are experiencing stressful situations unfold every day.

Even if you are not part of the stressful situation, experiencing the stress your co-workers and managers go through seems to be enough to stress you out!

Affected by contagious stress? Here is what to do:

Give up on the idea that you can “fix” stressful situations your co-workers are experiencing. When requested, it’s okay to offer advice or your help. It is best to learn how to create an invisible barrier around yourself so that you are buffered from other peoples’ stress.

Does this mean that you are a mean person? Just because you refuse being influenced by contagious stress doesn’t mean you don’t have empathy!  Don’t let yourself get mired in trying to make it all better for your colleagues. If you want to, let your co-workers know that you’re there to lend an ear or a shoulder if needed.

If you’re noticing that your stress levels are too high, it’s time to decrease your exposure to outside influences. Stop watching TV all the time, refuse to listen to negative programs on any media and consciously limit your exposure to negative people in real life and on social media.

The calm and relaxed atmosphere we create during a corporate yoga class can be positively contagious, too. Why not give yoga a try at your organization? Call us at 314-630-1677  so we can bring our contagious “stress-less” practices to your company soon!