14 deskside remedies for freak-outs at work
Don't worry, they're super discreet and won’t give you away as a burgeoning stress case. You simply sip them with water, drop them under your tongue, or roll them onto your temples or pulse points for a bit of deskside relief.
You’ll marvel at the quick course of treatment—and your improved outlook. —Melisse Gelula and Molly Gallagher
(This piece was updated on February 17, 2015, and was originally published on November 12, 2012.)
Alexis Smart makes flower remedies to help you cope with every imaginable challenging emotion you'll encounter in your workday. This one’s goal? To help you stay calm and crack down when your inbox reaches crisis levels. “Personal Assistant removes that daunting, overwhelmed feeling that makes you want to give up,” says Smart. The infusion of clematis helps you feel alert and mentally focused, hornbeam is energizing and motivating, and impatiens calms irritability and brings patience, she says. By placing four drops under your tongue every four hours (have some Altoids on hand; the base is brandy), you’ll stand a fighting chance in the face of all those flagged emails.
(Photo: Alexis Smart)
This little rollerball is so inconspicuous (and luxurious) that no one will know you’re mid-freakout. It’s filled with organic floral essences and essential oils, like linden blossom, rose otto, neroli, and frankincense, which Harper says help reduce anxiety. It’s most effective when you spread some on your palms, rub them together, and cup your hands in front of your nose and mouth while breathing in deeply five times. And it sure beats breathing into a brown paper bag.
If you already retreat to your office kitchen for a cup of tea when you’re feeling stressed, this blend will up the ante on your calm-seeking ritual. The black tea is mixed with happiness-boosting herb holy basil and licorice root, for a combo that can help keep you focused and calm your nerves.
You know the old fantasy of sprinkling fairy dust or waving a magic wand to make your problems go away? Moon Juice’s Brain Dust is the adult-version of that. Just add a teaspoon of the powder to water or nut milk, and voila! You have a cup of stress-fighting—and focus inducing—goodness. The magic is in the mix: “It’s packed with potent herbs that deliver abundant energy, mental stamina, and an elevated mood,” says Moon Juice founder Amanda Chantal Bacon.
(Photo: Moon Juice)
Super-gifted aromatherapist Hope Gillerman makes mind-blowing blends—like this Jaw Clenching Remedy—that help treat all manner of ailments. This one uses high-quality smoky Roman chamomile and palmarosa to calm your working-late grimace and curb any ensuing headache and teeth-grinding.
Designer Agnes Baddoo’s Everyw'air sprays are a blend of therapeutic essential oils, purified water, and colloidal silver that you can mist on your face or around your desk. This mix has notes of geranium and rosewood meant to jumpstart you when you’re hitting a productivity plateau. “It’s an emotional palate cleanser, and a great way to press the ‘reset’ button on your psyche, refocus your intentions, and invigorate the lull of the day,” says Baddoo.
(Photo: Agnes Baddoo)
“Normally people drink coffee at the office, but that stimulates one’s stress levels and definitely don't help to balance at all,” says Tero Isokauppila, the founder of Four Sigma Foods. His superfood-packed mushroom teas, on the other hand, are an antidote to caffeine dependency and possible tweakiness. The shrooms are adaptogenics, making them way different than the ones you usually put in your salad. “They assist the body naturally to adapt to stressful situations,” Isokauppila says. “Reishi calms an over-stressed body and cordyceps mushrooms give energy without caffeine or sugar.” Yes, they also tastes like mushrooms, but if you’re up for it, no one in the office will know your afternoon cup is way more useful than their Starbucks.
This secret weapon to instant-calm can be stashed in a desk drawer, and all you have to do is open the tin and breathe in the calming eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, and hyssop to feel their aromatherapeutic effects wash over you. But if you have a few minutes to spare, spread some of the nourishing balm on your hands, and take a few deep breaths, then kick back and let your sanity restore itself. As an added bonus, it can help clear your sinuses, too.
For a day so jam-packed even Siri sounds doubtful when she reads your calendar, give yourself a fighting chance by starting it with this mist. It’s like an Evian spray with extra oomph, filled with aloe leaf juice, argan nut oil, avocado oil, edelweiss flower, lilac flower, and lavender. It’ll get you started off with the energy and attitude you need for "I totally got this" mode, instead of retreating under your desk in a panic attack.
Feeling super stuck and frustrated? From Katie Hess, one of the coolest makers of exotic flower-remedies, comes this motivating elixir that you drop under your tongue. Citrus Fire Star Orchid and Red Bird of Paradise work with the body’s meridian system to help promote “fearless creativity, innovation, and thinking outside the box.” Your office mates might want a drop of that, too.
The sister company to Lotus Wei infuses Katie Hess's energetic flower remedies into high-quality chocolate made by Lisa Reinhardt. Pretend the (super delish) chocolate works like a chill pill against your short temper and bad mood. Until when it actually does.
Cary Caster makes a pharmacy full of targeted aromatherapy treatments, from De-stress to Digest. This one’s unique aim? To prevent the constant checking of your inbox with peppermint and rosemary, so you can focus on getting your work done, nail your deadline, and stay in the running for that promotion.
Like a Xanax roll-on (without the doctor's pad or the drugs), this mood-calmer and cheer-up blend from green-beauty guru Deborah Burnes contains responsibly sourced motherwort, an anti-anxiety, and other essential oils. Apply the handmade roll-on to your temples and wrists, and wait for the benefits to kick in.
When stress brings on sick days, this trifecta of immune-boosting polygonium (a longevity herb in Chinese Medicine), rhodiola (a stress-reducing antioxidant), and holy basil (a bliss-producer) from Organic Pharmacy can help fortify you. Save those days out of the office for a vacation, and take 10-15 drops twice a day.