Hi, Belleruth.

I have written to you several times throughout the years and have found your advice extremely helpful.

I am a licensed counselor… who has been asked to assist in improving stress management for 80 employees at a local company here in Saudi Arabia, who work on 8 hour shift monitoring oil drilling operations.

They have sporadic 5-15 minute breaks, depending on the operation, and have to be able to hear alarms in case of emergency. Their work place is a high security area and does not have windows, which makes them feel very isolated.

I have already identified some environmental changes that need to be implemented, but I am wondering what you would suggest for stress management specifically?

I truly appreciate your input in this.

Yara Z.

Dear Yara,

If these employees are sitting behind a computer screen most of the time, scanning for high-stakes trouble (kind of like air traffic controllers), and confined to a relatively small, window-less space with limited physical movement, then I would recommend accessing something like DesktopSpa.com, right there at the screen, where they can get 5-10 minute segments of guided yoga, breathwork, stretching, meditation and imagery to loosen up their posture, work out some kinks and take a true de-stressing break - mind, body and spirit - in the limited time allowed.


So for instance, you could cobble together a pretty terrific smorgasbord of “mini-treatments” for stress that take very little time, perhaps mixing and matching the following segments for day-to-day variety:  yoga expert Cyndi Lee’s 3 minute yoga for tense shoulders; exercise mavin Suzy Prudden’s 2-minute shoulder rotations; Master teacher Ken Cohen’s 6 minutes of Qigong for stress relief;  Meir Schneider’s quick but potent exercises for eye strain and facial massage; my guided imagery for staying calm under pressure; body worker & healer Suzanne Scurlock’s “Breathe and Relax” (5 minutes); Andy Weil’s 7-minute basic meditation exercise;  acupressure teacher Michael Reed Gach’s 3 minute stress relief tools; or 7 minutes of superb instruction in mindfulness meditation from Jon Kabat-Zinn.

You get the picture.  Just by clicking on the health issue of “anxiety or stress” or “Neck, Shoulders & Back”, you would find a whole array of helpful segments. In addition, if people find they respond really well to, say, yoga, they could click on ‘yoga’ in the dropdown window for “therapies” and find many more yoga segments and teachers to try; same with a favored practitioner. If they really liked Andy Weil, they could click on him and find more of his work to guide them.  All together there are over 100 mini-treatments from over 22 practitioners in that system.  If you’re interested, you can email the office to see about getting a corporate code for the company.

If security firewalls make this impossible, or if the staff wants to get away from the screen and walk around, staff could listen to downloads of guided imagery or meditation on their own MP3 players; or they might learn a quick segment of qigong to practice.  I love the work of Tiffany Chen and Ken Cohen for this last option.  

I hope this helps.

All best,