When you are stressed at work, it’s easy to mentally check out and start daydreaming about a tropical island far, far away. As fun as these fantasies can be, as soon as you snap out of it, you’ll be back in reality just as stressed as before. Lucky for you, there are ways to relieve stress without packing your bags and catching the first flight out of town. We know a few sneaky stress busters you can do at your desk! Try these and you will be stress-free in no time.
Take a Deep Breath
While you are in work mode, it’s easy to forget that simply taking a moment to take a deep breath can do a world of wonder. Try a technique known as “equal breathing” where you inhale for a count of four then exhale for a count of four, all through your nose. For you ambitious breathers, try six to eight counts per breath. The goal of this exercise is to calm your nervous system, increase focus, and reduce stress. This is an easy and quiet exercise that your coworkers won’t even notice. The effect will be similar to counting sheep and will help take your mind off racing thoughts.
Take your breathing up a level by adding some aromatherapy. Stash a few bottles of essential oils in your desk and smell them while doing your breathing exercises. Reaching for lavender is a no-brainer or you can try soothing chamomile during high-stress moments. To perk up a little when tired or feeling blue, try a citrus oil like orange, grapefruit, lemon or bergamot. You can also apply a little to your skin by putting a few drops in your palms, rubbing your hands together and gently applying to your temples, neck, upper back and behind the ears.
Squeeze It Out
It may seem old school, but stress balls have been around for a long time for a good reason. When you start to feel stressed, grab a stress ball and get squeezing. Doing this will activate the muscles in your hand and wrist and when you release the grip, it allows the muscles to relax. By repeating this pattern, it helps alleviate tension and stress. This activity is great because you can discretely do it under your desk!
Any tea lover can attest to the fact that a steaming hot cup of tea can solve a lot of problems–or at the very least, make you feel better. In times of stress, try and stay away from your favorite caffeinated blend and pour a cup of chamomile tea. Chamomile, in forms of aromatherapy and beverages, is very soothing. As an added bonus, it’s caffeine-free!
Caffeine can add unneeded stress to your body, so avoid it when you're tense or anxious.
This may come as no surprise, but music is scientifically proven to make you happy. Slip on your headphones to block everyone out and listen to songs that make you smile. You can also listen to a funny podcast or one that focuses on one of your interests. Laughing is a known stress reliever and thinking about something you are passionate about is bound to put you in a better mood.
Your desk may seem like an unlikely place to get your downward dog on, but there are a few stretches you can do at your desk to help relieve stress. We found three you can get away with!
High Altar Pose: Inhale and lift your arms; clasp your hands and invert your palms. Lean to your left. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths, then switch sides.
Twist: Turn to your left. Use your left hand on the back of the chair to deepen the twist. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths, then twist to the other side.
Cow Face Arms: Bring your left arm behind your back and right arm behind your head. Clasp fingers if you can. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths then switch sides.
When you are on a deadline, your entire focus is on finishing your work. But sometimes stopping your work to get organized will help you focus, get your work on track and make you feel more in control. Whatever it is that works for you, make time to do it. Clean out your inbox, declutter your desk, transcribe your meeting notes or make to-do lists. Taking a few minutes to get organized will make you feel so much better.
Leave Your Desk
If none of these tips do the trick, ditch your desk and go on a quick walk, take a lunch break away from the office or go chat with a coworker. A quick break can energize you, relax you and increase your productivity which will save you time in the long run!