Catch a Break


Stop and take a time out, guys. Here are six ways to reap the mental benefits of the average 10-minute cigarette break – without blackening your lungs.


Mini break 1 -Take a bite of Zen

Replace calming but damaging nicotine breaks with this Zen-inducing snack, devised by nutritional therapist Miguel Toribio-Mateas. Prep and enjoy in less than 10min.

  • High tryptophan levels in eggs boost relaxing brain chemicals. To cook at work: place in a full kettle; boil; stand for 2min; boil again.
  • Let the egg cool. Slice up six shiitake mushrooms, which contain beta-glucan, a complex sugar that protects you against stress.
  • Load your plate with watercress. It’s packed with the enzymes which process stress hormones, helping you feel calm.
  • Chop the egg, mix the ingredients and season. Then eat between tasks in the office when you need a 10min screen break.


Mini break 2 – Use light therapy

Finnish studies found that a fast way to relax is to beam light into your brain via headphones. No, really. Valkee, right, is an iPod-like device that shines rays into your head via your ears to lift your mood. If anyone asks, you’re listening to Nirvana, not striving for it.


Mini break 3 – Upgrade your cuppa

“Lime flower tea has an antispasmodic effect, which is great for stomachs knotted with stress,” says Toribio- Mateas. Wait for 6min before drinking: the tea will cool to an optimum 60°C (the most satisfying temperature to drink tea).


Mini break 4 – Release pressure

Wring out stress with this 10min pressure-points massage from acupuncture specialist Mami Tsang. Work in a circular motion for 15sec, stopping for 5sec between each step.

  • Massage the point midway between your eyes with a fingertip. Then move to your temples, using the tips of your fingers.
  • Use your finger tips to work on your trapezius muscle, then massage the base of your neck with your thumbs.
  • Work your ‘Pericardium 6’ point. It’s on your inner wrist, three fingers’ width down from the crease. Repeat on your other arm.
  • Massage the webbed area between your thumb and index fi nger. Repeat A-D twice, then return to that report refreshed.


Mini break 5 – Write now

“Take 10min to type a list of work frustrations,” says business coach Anne Corstorphine. “You’ll instantly feel calmer.” Paste this into an email, but instead of sending it to your boss, fire it to . In place of a notice, you’ll receive bespoke stress-crushing tips from The Stress Management Society.


Mini break 6 – Drink blood

Put the squeeze on stress with two juiced blood oranges. “Their aroma induces the production of alpha brain waves, making you feel calmer,” says Toribio-Mateas. Before drinking, add a few drops of Max B. “This B Vitamin complex relieves anxiety, while giving you an energy boost,” he says.



Words by Jessica Powell. Photography by Dan Matthews


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