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Five ways to de-stress… at the office

Just because you’re at work doesn’t mean you can’t unwind and relax. Charis Le Riche shows us how.

Studies by the international research company Bloomberg found that South Africa has the second highest levels of stress in the world. Stress can lead to depression, anxiety, sleep problems and irritability – and although it’s a killer for anyone, it has a major effect on your blood sugar levels. That means it’s even more important for diabetics to keep their stress levels in check.

Luckily, you don’t have to quit your job and go on a meditation retreat to do so! There are a number of ways to unwind during your lunch break. Here are five of our favourites.


We all know that yoga is a great way to relax your mind and body, but you don’t have to bring your yoga mat and leotard to work – there are short mini-meditations that you can do while sitting at your desk. Simply stop what you’re doing and close your eyes. Breathe deeply and focus on your breathing: count three full inhales and exhales, and then slowly open your eyes again. You can do this exercise throughout the day and it will only take a minute of your time.


I don’t mean skipping rope (unless you want to!) but getting away from your desk is one of the best things you can do to combat stress. So put down your pen and step away from the computer. Head outside and take a walk or find a spot to sit while you sketch or write. Do whatever you enjoy best – as long as it means you get away from the office for a bit. You’ll be amazed how problems seem more manageable when you have a moment to clear your mind.


It may seem like a cliché, but laughter often is the best medicine, especially in the work place. Sometimes you just need some comic relief in a high tension moment to relieve everyone’s anxiety. So share some funny stories with colleagues or watch a silly video. Anything that lightens the mood is a good thing!

Hit the gym

Another sure way to beat stress is to work it out through exercise. Any kind of exercise will help relieve stress, so you can pick something you know you will enjoy and are comfortable with, whether it’s yoga, pilates, spinning, swimming or running on the treadmill. As long as you’re working up a sweat, you’re doing your body (and mind) some good.

Enjoy some “me” time

If you can’t get away from the office, try to enjoy a little “me” time while at your desk – even if it is only for 20 minutes. Put on your ear phones and listen to your favourite music (music is a great anti-stress tool) and take some time out to doodle or browse Pinterest or Instagram. This can help improve your attitude about the work at hand and put things in perspective. Never a bad thing!

Fancy a cup of tea?

In many situations – at home or in the office – a cup of tea is just the thing you need to calm you down. Many cultures have been using tea for medicinal purposes for centuries. Here are a few teas that can help you combat stress:

  • Chamomile: A firm favourite among people who need to relax.
  • Green: Not only high in antioxidants but also contains theanine which is known to help with stress (it does contain caffeine though, so look out for the decaffeinated kind).
  • St John’s Wort: Known for its ability to treat depression, this tea also helps with anxiety.
  • Lemon Balm: Great for helping you sleep, Lemon Balm tea helps overcome depression, anxiety and nervousness.
  • Lavender: Another tea that helps with sleeplessness, lavender is known for its soothing qualities.
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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.