Helicopter bosses, annoying co-workers, piles of paperwork, and looming deadlines: for some of us, being stressed is our natural state, the feeling of tension ever-present in our mind and body. However, there will come a time that the stress becomes too much, and we will end up paying for it with our mental and physical health.
Don’t wait for that to happen. If you want to better deal with stress at work, here are some stress relief activities that you can do right in the workplace:
Many addiction treatment clinics and stress management counselors recommend meditation during times of agitation or stress. During the hustle and bustle of the workday, sometimes, all you need is a few minutes of silence to realign your thoughts and release the accumulated tension from your body. Take a break from your work and close your eyes for a few minutes. If the surroundings are too noisy for you to think clearly, go somewhere you can spend a few minutes in silence.
2. Muscle relaxation
You’re crunching the numbers on a project that you should’ve finished half an hour ago. And the next thing you know, your body is aching with tightness due to the stress. To relieve the tension without leaving your desk, relax your muscles one area at a time, starting from your toes up to your neck. This is called progressive muscle relaxation, which helps relieve tension in your body and ease the pain away after your muscles have tightened up.
Whether it’s a walk around the floor or around the office block, stretching your legs and being away from your desk for a few minutes can help relieve at least some of the stress you’re feeling. If you can go for a walk outside, take the opportunity to breathe in some fresh air, too.
4. Deep breathing
Deep breathing is one of the most effective stress relief techniques of all. When you start to feel a little overwhelmed at work, close your eyes, and breathe slowly and deeply. Doing this increases the amount of oxygen that goes up to your brain, which helps you feel calmer and more focused.
Laughing reduces your stress hormone levels and triggers the release of endorphins, which promotes a feeling of well-being and relaxation. So if you need a little stress relief at work, look at some memes, read a funny comic, or ask your humorous co-worker for a joke. Who knows? Maybe your co-workers need a little mid-day pick-me-up, too.
6. Relaxing music
Listening to soothing music can significantly reduce your stress levels, especially if music is a primary source of happiness for you. Always keep a playlist of relaxing music or even white noise on your smartphone so that you can listen to it whenever you feel stressed. Apart from being a source of stress relief, listening to relaxing music can also help you focus on your work, as well as improve your memory.
The next time you feel overwhelmed at work, try this technique: Close your eyes and picture that you are in a place that calms you. It can be anything: the beach, your bedroom, on top of a mountain, wherever, as long as it brings you peace and happiness. In this way, you can feel the positive feelings associated with that place, which can help reduce your stress levels.
8. Stress ball
Squeezing a stress ball can help reduce tension, which can curb your stress levels at the moment. Although it’s not a long-term solution for stress management, it’s a good technique to use when you need stress relief at your desk ASAP.
Go out with a trusted co-worker and talk over lunch or coffee. If there’s anyone who can understand what you’re going through, it’s the person you work closely with, who is probably under the same pressure as you are. Simply talking about the things that are stressing you out can help reduce the tension from your mind and body, even if the causes of your stress don’t disappear. And most importantly, you know you are venting to a person that understands and can offer help when you need it.
You don’t need to bottle your stress up until you get home. While you’re at work, learn how to manage stress through these simple techniques that you can do in the workplace itself.
Do you have more stress relief techniques to share? Leave them in the comments below for us to read!