Life is stressful. No matter how carefully we plan our days or how carefree we try to be, the pressures that come with maintaining a well-balanced life will knock us off course from time to time. When these times come, getting back on track can seem daunting, but there are simple techniques for weathering a stress storm that can be employed in the privacy of your office or in the middle of a meeting. Why is this important? Not only do we feel better when we’re in control of our work lives, but there is actually research linking cardiovascular problems to stress.
So, as we head back to the office and make plans for a smooth return, think about how you might handle the next stressful work situation, and instead of letting anxiety pile up on your desk, try these daily de-stressors for a happier, healthier relationship with work.
It sounds simple, but breathwork’s many health benefits are deceptively complex. Try it now. Breathe in through the nose, hold for a few seconds, and breathe out through the mouth. Did you feel your shoulders drop and your body relax? It’s imperceptible to most other people in the office, but it’s a powerful tool that you can tap into anywhere at any time for a quick cooldown.
Taking a walk
We all know about the negative effects of spending a full workday hunched over a laptop. That’s why health-conscious office furniture like standing desks, yoga ball chairs, and even treadmill desks have proliferated in recent years. Instead of investing in all that gear, though, a good old-fashioned walk is just as effective. Better yet, it actually takes you out of the environment causing stress so you can fully reset, release some endorphins, and return to work more focused and in control.
If you can’t get outside for a walk, the next best thing is moving at your desk. We’ve previously shared ten stretches you can do at your desk to help de-stress. There are stretches for your neck, chest, back, and legs that are all possible from a seated position. Loosening up and getting in tune with your body is a good way to take a break, zero in on what’s stressing you out, and make a plan to conquer it.
Talking it out
Stress, like many other things, is better managed when it’s let out than when it’s kept in. Rather than blowing up at an inopportune time or to an inappropriate listener, proactively make time to share what’s on your mind with a sympathetic party. This could be making time with a manager to share tactical setbacks that are making your job more difficult or just having lunch with a coworker to vent about trivial frustrations. Either way, it always feels good to talk it out.
Studies have shown that social media can exacerbate negative feelings like stress. Try logging off when you’re tempted to “relax” for a few minutes by scrolling your feeds. With your phone away, other options for a rejuvenating activity include reading a book or trying your hand at a word game.
A Harvard Medical School study found that “meditation can change the…brain regions linked with memory, the sense of self, and regulation of emotions.” Taking a few intentional moments for yourself each day can help you prioritize your tasks and feel more focused and energized. This can be accomplished in as little as 5 minutes a day.
We can’t always get away in the moment (physically, that is). There are deadlines and responsibilities that we can’t just walk away from. That doesn’t mean that we can’t plan some future vacation or self-care to look forward to. Book a massage, spa day, or vacation, and block some time to focus on yourself and forget about everything else.
There are myriad health benefits to staying hydrated. It combats fatigue, increases energy, and as a result, helps productivity. It’s also a great reason to get up, stretch your legs, take a deep breath, and combine a few other de-stressing techniques on your way to the water cooler. With zero calories and tons of flavor possibilities, de-stressing can be delicious.
Stress happens, but now you’re ready for it
Everyone has a tough day at work now and then. What really matters is how we respond to these stressors to get back on track. Simple things like focusing on breathing, staying hydrated, and getting outside for a walk can really go a long way toward reducing and managing daily stress.