Workplace stress is one of the most common complaints among office workers today. As many of us are (effectively) working longer hours and taking fewer breaks away from our desks, its effects are becoming more and more harmful.
Here, we present 5 easy techniques you can use to relieve or minimize the effects of stress right from your desk. Most of them won’t even earn you a second glance.
This isn’t just a mood-lightener. Like most of these techniques that follow, a good laugh or even a little titter now and then improves your blood circulation and relieves a lot of overall muscle tension.
Ironically, feeling stressed is itself stressful, so anything that eases those symptoms can make you feel less stressed. That, in itself, is worth a chuckle.
Breathing is usually automatic, especially when we have 1000 other things on out mind – but this is exactly the kind of thing we’re trying to avoid! Take a minute to focus on just your breath, moving slowly in and out, and connecting your body to the entire world around it.
Simply taking 30 seconds to NOT keep all those thoughts whirling around inside your head can be extremely revitalizing.
Of course, this won’t be possible in every office environment. Still, a quiet desk radio in a one-person office or a playlist piped through your Bluetooth earbud shouldn’t draw too much attention, and can really help you focus on your core tasks without chasing irrelevancies in circles in your head.
The music doesn’t even have to be specifically ‘relaxing’ music – it is more important that it is very familiar music that doesn’t require close attention to enjoy.
Stress often manifests as muscle tension, in various parts of the body. This can lead to complaints like a sore back, a stiff neck, and other symptoms commonly associated with stress.
‘Progressive Muscle Relaxation’ is a good way to combat these symptoms directly. You simply choose one muscle group or area of the body at a time, and focus on relaxing those muscles completely. Then you move on to the next group. Many people start with their toes and work their way up the body in stages.
With a bit of practice, you can do this without even (visually) pausing your work.
This is basically imagining yourself in your ‘happy place’ as they say on TV. This could be anywhere, but make sure it is actually somewhere calming, not just your ‘favorite place’. The 50-yard line at the Super Bowl, for example, just won’t do the trick.
Close your eyes and spend a few solid minutes putting yourself where you need to be. Imagine the sounds, the textures, and especially the smells. Just don’t actually fall asleep at your desk when the boss might see you.