dear stress_fIN2

Author: Terri Wells, Studio Designer

We all feel stress at work from time to time. With that in mind, there are some simple techniques to undo its effects. The following tips will help you feel calm in no time at all.

Take a Tea Break

Try some chamomile tea, known for its calming properties. Or sip an aromatic cup of antioxidant-filled green tea – it’s a wonderful way to take a few minutes for yourself, unwind and realize you’re being kind to your body.

tea

Make Exercise a Priority

Whether it’s a quick jog, stretching or a full-blown gym session during your lunch hour, moving your body is crucial for your sanity.

spinsean

Breathe

Regularly practicing deep breathing exercises can calm you and also slow the aging process. Sit up straight. Inhale through your nose while slowly counting to six. Exhale through your mouth, counting to eight. Repeat several times. Instead of raising your shoulders while inhaling, let your abdomen expand with air.

breathe

Eat a Healthy Snack

Eating small, healthy snacks throughout the day will keep you energized and maintain your blood sugar level, which is key to avoiding irritability and anxiety.

Orange

You’ll be enjoying the benefits of the stress-relieving powers of citrus. A 2002 study found that a dose of vitamin C helped people bounce back more easily from a stressful situation.

Banana

Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure, which rises during times of stress. Some people find that eating a banana when they’re feeling stressed can help improve energy and recovery. And research shows that it can protect your body from the negative effects of stress, like increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

Avocado

It is rich in stress-relieving B vitamins. Bonus: It’s also high in monounsaturated fat and potassium, which help lower blood pressure.

fruit

Nap on the Job

According to NASA, a 26-minute nap can boost workplace performance by 34%. Daytime sleeping improves mood, creativity and focus, all of which may make us better employees.

nap room

Walk It Off

While just about any walk will help to clear your head and boost endorphins (which, in turn, reduces stress hormones), consider walking in a park or other green space, which can actually put your body into a state of meditation, thanks to a phenomenon known as “involuntary attention” during which something holds our attention but simultaneously allows for reflection.

Peaceful day on the Katy Trail

Read a Book

Studies show that reading for just six minutes a day can help calm your mind and reduce your levels of stress. Though you most likely won’t be able to read an entire novel during a day at work, taking breaks to read just 10 or so pages a day can help calm your mind and make you feel more ready to approach your daily tasks. You can even start a book club with your coworkers to make work more enjoyable and to motivate yourself to read more.

books

Turn on the Tunes

According to a 2013 study, listening to music can actively help to keep your stress in check. The (not-so-hard-to-fulfill) catch: You have to listen to music that you actually like. Create your own mood-boosting playlist that makes you feel happy and at peace.

chillmix

Take a Screen Break

You’ll have to get up for this one, but it will be worth your while: Just a five-minute break from your desk will have you returning refocused and a little less anxious. Try to look far away for a few minutes; your eyes will appreciate the rest.

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Watch a Viral Video

Laughing is a great relaxation tool. “Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain,” explains the Mayo Clinic. Laughter first activates your stress response and then deactivates it, creating a kind of “roller coaster” that leads to a feeling of relaxation.

Yoga Your Way to Inner Peace

Whether you practice poses during lunch or before or after work, the wonderful calming effects of yoga linger to carry you peacefully through a potentially stressful day. If you don’t have time for a class, you can use the yoga room for a quick session of stretching.

yoga

Pet a Pooch

Preliminary results from a study show that a few minutes of stroking a dog prompt a release of a number of “feel-good” hormones in humans, including serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin.

mydog

Chat It Up With Coworkers

It’s important to engage with your coworkers on a day-to-day basis. Not only will kitchen small talk free up your mind for a few minutes, but it will also help you build positive relationships around the office. Try to avoid any work-related venting and stick to fun, tension-free topics instead.

groupchat

References

  1. Health Benefits of Tea… Could Something So Delicious Really Be Good for Us, Too?” The Tea Talk.
  2. Mayers, Laura Marie. “13 Tips to Combat Work Stress.” LearnVest, March 26, 2013.
  3. De-stressing Techniques and Exercises.” Enjoy Life More.
  4. Healthy Diet and Nutrition Tips for Women.” HelpGuide.org.
  5. Zuckerbrot, Tanya. “Eat to Beat Stress: 10 Foods That Reduce Anxiety.” Men’s Fitness.
  6. Why You Need to Take a Nap at Work.” ABC News, January 29, 2007.
  7. 5 Scientifically-Backed Ways to Reduce Stress Now.” Blackmores, April 12, 2016.
  8. Reading ‘Can Help Reduce Stress’.” The Telegraph, March 30, 2009.
  9. Collingwood, Jane. “The Power of Music to Reduce Stress.” PsychCentral.
  10. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Stress Relief From Laughter? It’s No Joke.” Mayo Clinic.
  11. Frangillo, Laura Laemmle. “Stressed at Work? Try These A-Z Tips to De-stress and Get More Done.” Salary.com.
  12. The Human-Animal Connection; It Does a Body (and Brain) Good!!” PsychCare Psychological Services, LLC, August 3, 2015.
  13. Haddaway, Amanda. “How to Build Positive Workplace Relationships.” Careerealism, February 3, 2015.
  14. Kittens Inspired by Kittens.” YouTube, September 1, 2008.
  15. Charlie Bit My Finger – Again!” YouTube, May 22, 2007.
  16. Yosemitebear Mountain Double Rainbow 1-8-10.” YouTube, January 8, 2010.